November 8, 2013 |
I dropped in at Regen Projects in Hollywood to see my friend Lari Pittman's new show, just installed and opening to the public on Saturday. The exhibition is very large - a whopping 92 paintings on canvas, panel and mostly paper - but the three mammoth works that anchor the main room dwarf everything. Titled as various “Flying Carpets,” each one is a boggling 10 feet high and 30 feet wide. No doubt there are many reasons for the daunting scale, which fits the work's overall theme of epic trauma - and equally epic possibility -- during what the artist has dubbed today's “Late Western Impaerium.” The spelling alone, with its Old World allusion to ancient Rome, reeks of life lived under crushing conditions of supreme power.
September 26, 2013 |
Cecily Brown seems as though she's belting it out in her large, athletically brushed paintings now at Gagosian. But instead of powerful and passionate, her voice comes across as detached. The volume is turned up, but the verve is on low. London-born and living in New York, Brown bases several of her recent paintings on a photograph of a large group of nude women that appeared on the British release of a 1968 Jimi Hendrix album. PHOTOS: Arts and culture in pictures by The Times Brown preserves the odd theatricality of the image, with all members of the ensemble facing us, seated or in semi-seductive forward leans.
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.
November 21, 2013 |
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful, Mae West famously quipped. She might have been standing in front of a Lari Pittman painting. The three epically-scaled works anchoring Pittman's show at Regen Projects forsake " or" to exuberantly embrace " and . " They -- and to only a slightly lesser extent the show's other paintings on canvas and paper -- are high-energy operatic productions. Even the titles tend to be prolonged and dramatic. The three 9-by-30-foot extravaganzas are named: "Flying Carpet With a Waning Moon Over a Violent Nation;" "Flying Carpet With Petri Dishes for a Disturbed Nation;" and "Flying Carpet With Magic Mirrors for a Distorted Nation.
March 20, 2014 |
Both the title and the contents of Keltie Ferris' show, "Doomsday Boogie," bring to mind Piet Mondrian, especially his acclaimed painting, "Broadway Boogie Woogie" (1942-3). The Brooklyn-based Ferris, too, trades in planar, geometric -- or at least loosely so -- shapes, arranged with a nod to the rhythms of urban life. Her paintings, made with sprayed oil pigments, feel like unkempt street versions of several more elegant precedents, not just the work of Mondrian but also Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko.
December 5, 2013 |
Five large paintings by Matt Lifson all show virtually the same enigmatic subject -- what appears to be a makeshift tent in the woods at night. But slight differences in tonality, lighting and paint-handling among the five generate unexpected responses. Serial imagery, given its origins in Claude Monet's repeated studies of grain stacks and an imposing cathedral facade under different conditions of light and weather, tends to have a rather sunnier disposition than what turns up in Lifson's solo debut at Angles Gallery.
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.
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.
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.