March 14, 2013 |
At a time when all sorts of artists are abandoning painting to make works that spill onto the floor and fill the room with all manner of stuff, it's exciting to see Laura Owens pack everything she's got onto a flat canvas. She's got a lot. At 356 S. Mission Road, “12 Paintings by Laura Owens” is exactly that: 12 gigantic canvases lined up on two long walls in a massive industrial space whose raw beauty has not been obliterated by overeager renovation. The first hometown solo show of paintings since Owens' survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 2003, her straightforward setup plays with space so effectively that every cubic foot of the gargantuan gallery matters.
October 23, 2012 |
Breathtaking beauty and stomach-turning ugliness get our attention in ways that ordinary stuff doesn't. At Western Project, Cole Case steers clear of extremes to make paintings both pedestrian and unforgettable, in style and subject. The combination amazes, moving viewers without hand-flapping theatrics or tempest-in-a-teacup selfishness. Case's subjects are simple: the concrete spillways that crisscross Los Angeles, a roadside field under a cloudy sky and loose bunches of flowers, arranged in glass vases or stuck in a gallon milk jug. Casual, unspectacular and matter of fact, Case's landscapes match similar scenes glimpsed by drivers on streets all over the city.
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.
February 27, 2014 |
Anticipation is an undercurrent running through recent work by New York-based artist Rory Devine -- anticipation and imminent loss, if not exactly dread. Two-dozen paintings on canvas and paper, plus one video showing only a fellow absent-mindedly riffing chords on an electric guitar, employ motifs both figurative and abstract, recognizable and allusive. Devine's art is determined to focus on present experience instead of promises of future reward, a point well-taken. Dour but not bleak, the work could still benefit from even greater immediacy of engagement.
May 24, 2013 |
NEW YORK - As 1938 came to a close, painter Edward Hopper was a man on a mission. Again and again, he would pick up his sketchbook and head for a cluster of New York City movie theaters. Sometimes it was the Republic or the Palace, other times the Strand or the Globe, places where he could study the lobby, the auditorium, the curtained area off to the side. Back at home, he'd pose his wife, Josephine, as an usherette and draw her portrait. By the time he completed his monumental painting "New York Movie" several weeks later, Hopper had drawn 54 studies for it. Those 54 studies are among the highlights of "Hopper Drawing," which opened last week at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The first major museum exhibition focusing on Hopper's drawings and creative process, the show features many of the famed artist's paintings adjacent to the rarely seen drawings that preceded them.
February 27, 2014 |
The annex at Michael Benevento Gallery holds three large paintings of three-masted sailing ships at sea, the kind that proliferated during the colonizing age of exploration that began half a millennium ago. Shown in various states of full and partial sail, and largely drawn in black acrylic on white painted canvas, these are the vessels whose sailors scanned the globe during their unprecedented journeys. In the main gallery a few doors away, painter Mark Roeder continues a similar scan in what could be called full sail.
December 7, 2012 |
Viewed from a distance, Richard Bruland's paintings at Lora Schlesinger Gallery appear to be simple gradations of muted color, reminiscent of sky tones at dawn and dusk. At close range, however, they are anything but simple. Take a step or two in and their seemingly coherent hues dissolve into a chaotic mélange of multi-colored dots. Take another step and these dots reveal themselves to be three-dimensional: not points at all but layers that have been unevenly applied, then painstakingly sanded down to reveal dipping and shifting strata of color.
July 13, 2013 |
Words such as “like,” “post” and “share” have taken on new meanings worldwide because of Facebook and its 1.1 billion users. But Venice artist Matthew LaPenta wants to remind people of the old meaning of those words, and he's turned to the easily recognizable blues and white of Facebook to send his message. LaPenta exhibited a series of paintings at FactoryLA during Thursday's downtown Los Angeles Art Walk. (View photos of them in the gallery above. Click "show captions" to see LaPenta's explanation of each piece.)
December 24, 2013 |
The further you delve into the Lora Schlesinger Gallery, the better Mark Stock's show gets. What greets you up front might discourage deeper exploration. The centerpieces of "Hollywood: Uncovered" are bland encaustic paintings of individual letters of the famous hillside sign with photographs of vintage celebrities and news items embedded in the waxy mix. The landscape backgrounds are mostly generic afterthoughts and the works feel just a notch above kitschy souvenirs. Further back in the gallery are a few large, competently painted narrative tableaux.