November 1, 2013 |
Raw talent, restless energy and the sense that something has gone very wrong run every which way in Natalie Frank's new paintings, which turn themselves inside out with such wicked swiftness that it's hard to know up from down, good from bad, us from them. The New York painter is no purist. Titled “The Scene of a Disappearance,” her first solo show in Los Angeles, at Acme, is a big messy mix of people and beasts, their limbs, organs and torsos rearranged in ways that rival Picasso's wildest paintings while capturing the grisliness of crime-scene TV. Frank slices and dices like a food processor, chopping Francis Bacon's ghoulish humans and Lucian Freud's meaty people into bite-size chunks she then cooks into dishes that look delicious from a distance but monstrous up close.
August 15, 2013 |
History, it's often said, is written by the winners. If that task fell to the nut jobs, the world might be more interesting. High school textbooks would certainly be more entertaining. At Monte Vista, Ben White's new paintings treat history as a swirling stew of possibility, a kind of primordial ooze filled with more twists and turns than a pretzel and more wacky coincidences than a conspiracy-theorist could make sense of. Ten midsize panels line the gallery's walls. Each depicts a historical figure or two, at a time and in a place they may never have visited.
May 17, 2013 |
No Entropic school of art has announced itself as such, but the concept seems to animate a good deal of drawn and painted work of the past decade or more -- images of intense and unpredictable energy, change and disorder. Julie Mehretu might be considered a chief practitioner. The speed and unwieldiness of the information age is one clear source for the vocabulary of charged, global fluidity; a post-9/11 tenor of physical and political uncertainty is likely another. The increasingly volatile collision of nature and culture, in the form of large-scale natural disasters, is yet another catalyst for this type of work.
March 13, 2013 |
When Laura Owens was looking for a studio that could double as an exhibition space for her first show in L.A. since 2003, she considered a variety of buildings. There was an out-of-business Glidden paint shop on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood and a small defunct church on Melrose nearby. But those spaces seemed too specific or loaded architecturally. So it was something of a revelation when she first visited 356 South Mission Road, a 12,000-square-foot stand-alone industrial building in Boyle Heights that had originally housed a lithography studio in the '40s and later served as storage space for pianos - including Liberace's.
November 23, 2012 |
Billy Collins, among the most accessible of contemporary poets and an eloquent advocate of poetry's place in public life, spoke recently about why people tend to resist the genre. Too much emphasis, he feels, is put on interpretation, to the detriment of poetry's "less teachable, more bodily pleasures. " Collins' words came to mind when hearing Enrique Martínez Celaya talk about his new paintings and sculpture at L.A. Louver and how efforts to decipher the meaning of a work of art too often hijacks the experience of it. In the case of visual art, and especially art like his that makes use of familiar, recognizable imagery, "we're so attached to what's given," he said, "rather than what's underneath what's given.
August 16, 2012 |
The first piece I saw by Charles Christopher Hill was a tiny, thickly painted striped canvas that, despite being less than 6 inches square, had an inexplicable presence. I assumed it dated from the reign of Minimalism in the 1970s, but it was actually created in 2009. Hill's latest exhibition at Leslie Sacks Contemporary provides a spare but intriguing back story for this apparent anachronism. The earliest works in the show, from the late 1970s, are among the best: large, torn paper collages, shot through with stitching.