Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Slow Months

As you may or may not know, summer is not a busy time for arts communities in most places. Its as though dealers, collectors and galleries alike came to the agreement that breaks should not just be for students. As an artist, this is a wonderful time for some R&R or solid studio work without interruption. This is also a good time for art appreciators to see what some of our local museums have going on, because they understand that, for others, the summer is a time to go and do and see new things. A few shows I am hoping to visit over my vacation:

The Getty Center

At the Getty Center coming next month:

From Line to Light: Renaissance Drawing in Florence and Venice
July 20–October 10, 2010
During the Italian Renaissance, drawing came of age, transforming from a slavish part of the design process to an esteemed independent activity. According to the artist-biographer Giorgio Vasari, it became "the father of the arts." Strides of various kinds were made in different cities: in Florence and Rome the study of the human figure through life drawing was emphasized, while in Venice the search for tonal and coloristic effects led to the embrace of blue paper and the keen study of light and composition. Some of the Getty Museum's most spectacular drawings—by Fra Bartolommeo, Andrea Mantegna, Jacopo Pontormo, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, and Titian—are on view in this exhibition.
And on view now at the Getty Center, for the love of printmaking

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Open 12-8 M/T/Th, 12-9 Fri, 11-8 Sat and Sundays, Closed Wednesdays
New Work from John Baldasari, in installation right now:
"Pure Beauty"

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More fun public events coming up soon....

I am going to see the best show I can imagine.
Nothing like a little blue sky and mountain air to inspire real artwork. I will be celebrating my birthday my favorite place in the world, Yosemite National Park... becoming a yearly tradition.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Coming Attractions: San Diego

We dont usually venture this far for a show, but for a little ocean air and a good friend, we would drive to the ends of the earth! Or at least the the ends of California.

This Friday and Saturday night on Broadway on San Diego you can find yourself a good party and some great art at Alexander Salazar Fine Art. The works of Justin Bower and Chris Truman were both recently feature in the new MFA issue of New American Paintings.
Their two man show brings together the arresting large faces that Bower is coming to be known for with the striking geometric abstractions of Truman.
Check it out. It will be worth the drive:

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Coming Attractions: Culver City

This coming Saturday, May 22, we are on for another Culver City art walk... Always a pleaser.

Here is was is out that I think is worth going to the openings for:

- After the rough and raw paintings of Iva Gueorguieva
Angles has a photography show up. The eerie works of  Ori Gersht. If they are huge, which I imagine they will be, it should do some interesting things to that space.
- After the crass show of Carroll Dunham paintings at Blum & Poe we are getting a whole different kind of weird out of the works of Tim Hawkinson. His installation work is prolific and always makes one think... Who knows what might be moving in there this time.
- Honor Frasier has drawings from Marl Licari

- Western Project always has something fun and different going down. Arne Svenson's solo show should be pretty interesting. I am looking forward to checking out his paper towel drawings most:

To partake in all of this newly hung art, as well as people watching.. make your way to the 10 frwy, exit La Cienega and find parking anywhere you can in the vacinity of La Cienega and Washington.

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Be sure to visit the best little Mexican place in the area when you are done. El Rio Bravo right around the corner on Washington
mmmm, its so good. I can hardly wait!

catching up

It is shocking that it has taken me this long to get back to reviews. Just so you know, I have been seeing shows and art all through this past two and half months, I just have written about it.
To start, the Dildine/Scianni show on March 2 at CGU was great. Here are some highlights of Joshua Dildine's work:
Aside from being really exciting paintings, the titles have a poetry of their own as well. The artist deals with a communion between our visual intake with advertising and the like and how we process that information. His own process includes destroying the painting (visually) to a point of defeat and bringing it back to a state of resolve. You can really see the struggle and the victory in the deep visual space.
"A New Day"

"Squeeze It's Natural"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dildine / Scianni Shows in Claremont

The Trueman / Rash shows were a huge hit last Tuesday. There was a great turn out, the artist talks were illuminating and the food was good!

I know its on a Tuesday night, but these CGU shows are really worth the drive... For me there isnt much of a drive, so I dont miss them. But they are good. Over the course of this blog I will review shows and give updates on upcoming shows but I will also feature established and emerging artists, local and not, that I think are worth looking at.

I will shamelessly promote this one every time. The works of Joshua Dildine are amazing, direct, complex and compelling. They are exciting to look at, and even more exciting to watch evolve. This is a painter's painter who loves paint, knows how to push it around around and every stoke is confident.
Behind the process of the work is the concept of transformation. The artist begins with a lovely piece of energetic marks in the birth stage, then kills it by overworking it and muddying up the colors. Defeated, he finds a way to bring it back to life, looking fuller, deeper and richer than the initial stage could ever have accomplished. These works accomplish an amazing sense of depth for 2-dimensional non-representational work. Come out and enjoy the show! These large pieces hung and lit are stunning.

Also exhibited are the digitized yet hand painted works of Kevin Scianni. I dont have pictures of that at my fingertips just yet but I will post some later.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Culver City Art walk this Saturday

I cant believe it's been a month since I was in Culver City for openings last... time certainly does fly.

This Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, we will be walking La Cieniga and Washington in style with a the rest of the art walk masses. The art walk here is a great event and great fun to come out for. Shows of note I recommend seeing:

Michael Reafsnyder

Put It There: New Paintings and Ceramics

What is amazing about Michael's paintings is that they are done all in one sitting yet they remain extremely colorful and rich. If you have ever painted before you know that if you work on a piece with that much paint in it for very long, it can get 'muddy' very quickly. Complimentary colors mix together and you are left with an array of brown and greys...which isn't usually a good thing. These paintings are rick and alive and magic!
visit Western Project to check em out... try to find the happy face in each one.

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Mark Grotjahn
Seven Faces

Visit Blum & Poe (across the street from Western Project) to see more...

David Ratcliff
Visit Honor Fraser (down the street toward the freeway) to see more.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Trueman / Rash show in Claremont

In my last post I mentioned an exceptional set of Claremont Graduate University artists.
Two of them have their thesis shows this week! The opening reception is tonight at 6:00pm, and, while a little late notice for you to attend, this is well worth seeing by the end of the week. If you cant, I will have many pictures up later this week.

I have watched the systemic work of Alison Rash grow and evolve in the past couple of years and am so pleased with how she has come into her own with the work in this show. A clean curration of confident colors, white backgrounds and alternating matte and gloss surfaces works in a very acrylic-like way for oil paints. Her repeating diamond, based on an insane personal logic are so fun and no two are the same color!

It is neat to see how this was inspired by a 3-dimensional installation piece she did in the fall. It filled as a curtain of tenuously hung points in this outdoor space. Sometimes we need to see things in a new dimension to understand them in your preferred format... 

This show coincides with the solo show of Chris Trueman. He probably possesses some of the best usage of acrylic paint I have seen. The pieces are digitized and yet organic, designerly yet raw all at the same time. It may just be me, but it's amazing how each painting seems to have a soundtrack of its own. Upon confronting each piece I feel like I want to give expressive sound effects for each one (and I have). Fun, fun work!

This one is my favorite... Just like a great piece of literature, it just gets better and you find more and more in it upon further inspection.

The galleries are open from 10:00 am-5:00 pm until Feb. 26th, 2010.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Culver City Art Walk

Dear readers,
I am so sorry that I have been MIA for the past couple of weeks. After a heavy art month in LA like January, I was left feeling the need for a little bit of a break... Not from art, but from venturing far to see art. Let me catch you up with photos from what I left hanging last month. On January 16, we ventured to Culver City for the first art walk of the New Year. We visited most all of the shows they had open, which is not for the weak footed. Parking is a bear if you don't get there early. The highlights are below.

Western Project had the inaugural show of its new La Cienega  location. Of to a good start in a revived space. The playful works fit beautifully. An old favorite of mine, but a soon to be new favorite of the LA art scene, Justin Bower had a knockout piece that absolutely stole the attention of the entire room. His androgynous youth faces are distorted in a digitized blue of superb painting. This one is on the milder side in comparison to the newest faces. But those eyes still pierce you. It was well received. Bower, and his big faces, where recently signed on at Western Project. We will be seeing more of them in the future. He is concurrently in a show on portraiture up at the Torrance Art Museum.... I need to get over to see that one too.

Also in the show was a perplexing work by Mark Dean Veca. That red is really intense when you stand next to it all night long.


I personally enjoyed the controversially irreverent flag pieces of Liz Young, a) because I love to see some down home sewing in an art gallery, and b) because they are just off enough to spark some serious conversation about patriotism, the flag and craft. Which it did. Do you think she is being offensive by sewing on the American flag?
Finally, the grandiose mural piece of Sush Machida Gaikotsu set the playful tone for the entire show, spanning the length of the log wall. I enjoy the graphic text element he places on the left of each of his pieces as his artist "signature" .

A one time treat that was up in this Culver City art walk was a pop up show but on by a group of graduate students from Claremont Graduate University. The cleverly named exhibition, "Crashing Culver", put out a good showing of strong abstraction and color in this alternative space next door to Roberts & Tilton. I really enjoy looking at work from all of these artists. In the show were works from Cole James, on fabric, and Michael Knight, who is a wiz with Flash acrylic paints.


Curator/artist, Chris Truman (right), along side a devoted fan. 

And the playful feminine works of Alison Rash. What may, on first glace seem decorative, is actually the result of a complex system for organization.

We look forward to their annual Open Studio day at the school on April 25, 2010... More details to follow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mid-Week Shows

For those of us that work full time, the middle of the week is sometimes a hard time to get out for a little show here or there. Openings at college/university galleries often run on Tuesdays or Thursdays and can be well worth attending. Student, and especially graduate student shows might have a few words from the artist offering insight into their developing work. This is a wonderful opportunity to see what is going on in academia and the arts and get sneak peaks of artists that might be the next big art stars of the future. On this blog, I hope to spend some time on new and emerging artists, featuring new work that I find of merit.
This week lead me to a group show at Chaffey College on a cold rainy night... I would not particularly recommend the trek in such weather but this college art department might be worth following.
Tomorrow night, the Pitzer College Art Galleries will host a reception for their current group show "CAPITALISM IN QUESTION (because it is)." with guest juror Daniel Joseph Martinez. Look out for the juicy work of Grant Vetter. Head east, up the 210 or 10, to Claremont for good times and good art.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weekend Events

We went to the LA Art show on Saturday with some friends. It was expansive, as expected. There was really no one gallery that I was totally blown away with, but there where certainly pieces that were worth noting. Unfortunately, when we walked in there was a big sign that said "no photography". Bummer. I made a list of artists I wanted to mention and I will have to go find images of them for you to enjoy.

This coming weekend the Pacific Design Center is hosting Art Los Angeles Contemporary (not to be confused with the previous event). While not quite as large at the LA Art Show, this event will house most of LA's big hitter galleries as well as quite a few from New York and beyond. This will be a good chance to compare the flavor of each of these exceptional galleries side by side. We will be there, you should too!

Art Los Angeles Contemporary:
January 29 - 31
Opening Night Public Reception: Thursday, January 28
Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Go to the LA ART SHOW

Ok. I went to this last year, and regretted my shoe choice, but was blown away by the sheer number of pieces and galleries in one place. Now, this is no art Basel, but if your in the area its worth going to. Some of it was good, lots of it was just ok or not my taste and some of it was terrible. But still, it is a wonderful way to see the trends that are going on out beyond our golden city.

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Its at the LA convention center. If you are going, tomorrow is the last day. Print out a coupon online to save $5.
Maybe I'll see you there!

Behind on ACME

I know I promised a review of ACME's abstraction show with images and all, and I will not disappoint. So much to do! Non Identical Abstraction, featuring Alexis Harding, Robert Linsley, Michael Murphy and Sasha Peirce, is up until Feb. 6, so there is still time. I think that it is one of the better shows they have had in a while.
The objective of looking at abstraction from various angles along side the work of Robert Linsley was well done by Jan Tumlir.
While personally attracted to Linsley's paintings for their map like qualities, they left something to be desired in a minimalist approach to abstract painting. These islands of singular color floating on a pristine background were poetic with zen like elements. I imagine the artist dreaming up each solitary shape, or seeing them (like islands on a map, which I have been recently obsessed with separating) and fixating on their every turn. Hanging the smaller works above was an interesting perspective to their set apart nature.

The paintings of Alexis Harding were undeniably seductive. I dont know if it was the garish use of the pinkest pink or the visceral gravity of paint, which she used to its own devices. One would have to have experimented quick a lot with mediums and drying times to get this look down. It was, illusionistically, like a silk curtain falling down.
Here is a closer look:
Finally, the tapestry like works of Sasha Pierce were insane. Talk about making paint be something that it is not. These works had that "how in the heck did she do that?" and "I think I would go insane doing that" factor, which always makes for interesting conversation. The works didnt seems like much from a far. I wasnt even sure what I was looking at when I checked it out ahead of time on the website. But they are crazy detailed. She must have used a syringe to apply the paint in multicolored strands like the finest silk thread. Does the use of oil paint make these abstraction? Or is it really still just pattern. The textile element could not be denied, and the pattern not variant enough to seem like decidedly composed. Still, I was mesmerized. I stood in front of them for a few minutes debating with a random stranger whether or not it was indeed paint. The smudges and drips of paint off the edge is really the only indicator. I might have smelled and touched them to verify, but that is poor form, unless you are in a studio with permission from the artist. I eventually won the debate with random lady because she left her glasses at home.
The evidence:

Beautiful detail and retro color palette:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Saturday gallery marathon

We made a day out of going into LA on Saturday. Starting with visits to Culver City (including an unsuccessful Nova Color stop - they were closed), afternoon at Bergamot Station, dinner at the grove with old friends and rounded out the evening with our trusty ACME opening crew.
Sorry, I forgot about the whole taking pictures thing in Culver City, but there will be plenty from tomorrow's shows there. I highly recommend the current show at Kinkead Contemporary. They have a great little space and the paintings of Jered Sprecher, though elementary on first glance, have a very powerful visual vocabulary that I really enjoyed.

Onto Santa Monica - The much anticipated Allison Schulnik show, "home for hobo" is now up at Mark Moore Gallery. While Schulnik's extravagant use of meaty paint is intoxicating to the painter in me, the work is on the grunge side. This decided aesthetic seems a little over used to me. Her recent success in the past few years, brought on by her depictions of the clown/hobos have been valuable because of the complex irony of the subject matter, paired with her confident application of much paint. A clown, intended for the purpose of laughter and happiness is a character often riddled by other darker associations in connection to the circus, or the dual life someone like that might lead. The dark depiction of other characters of the night are strangely paired in this show. Dismal pieces were offset by a bright, large-scale landscape on the far wall and a few floral still life peices, in the same meaty/painterly fashion. Im a fan of the raccoons here (to the right)... See the amassed paint from this angle. Where her work really shines is in her novel use of motion stop claymation, like the kind I grew up on but translated to the adult art world. It perfectly marries sculpture, performance art, painting and music in one. If you haven't seen the Grizzly Bear Video, you should check it out. The first time I saw it I couldn't take my eyes off of it.
Also at Bergamot, showing at Rosamund Felsen Gallery , were some collage pieces of C.K. Wilde. For those of you who dont know me, I am a map artist. I love all things map, so I was instantly drawn to these pieces.
The use of various maps to create an iconic landscape was nicely done. I can image all of the culling it took to amass all the maps needed for especially the large pieces. What I am unsure of is the repeated mustang form in each piece. I think the smaller works capture the language and the beauty of the maps more successfully. The coastline of the map (below) offers a more interesting mountain range/horizon line and creates a dialogue relating the sea as the sky.
After seeing all that and more at Bergamot we ventured to Beverly Hills to visit some friends. On the way to dinner, at the Grove, in the middle of the busy city, from the elevated view of a parking garage, I was awarded by the most beautiful sunset. Regard, LA:

More to come about the show at ACME.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 off to a good start

January is going to be a hot month for art in LA. With tons of opens, the Culver City Art Walk and monumental events like Art LA and the LA Art Show, we are going to be busy busy. So here is what I have planned to drive to this month:

Jan 9: ACME Opening

Curated by Jan Tumlir Including: Alexis Harding, Robert Linsley, Michael Murphy, Sasha Pierce
January 9 - February 6, 2010
This looks like it will be an interesting show exploring variant forms of abstraction, which I am always drawn to.
To get to ACME LA follow the map below:

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And if you haven't been to the LACMA recently, it's very close and worth the trip.

I will post more shows as I hear of them. Please, feel free to let me know what you think is worth going to this weekend as well.

Monday, January 4, 2010

a new year, a new era

Welcome to the first post of the Greater LA Art Review. Through these pages I will share upcoming art openings, events and must see shows in the LA area as well as reviews of adventures of the art kind in this fabulous city.
In my own artwork, I am fascinated by maps, transportation and regional flavor. After driving cross country and living in the deep south for a spell, I am back to my roots and the bustling rush of Southern California. With all thats going on here, it's hard not to shout it out.
Each week, along with some help from guest blogger artists, I will share my plans for upcoming events and post reviews of work seen. As I've mentioned, getting to the art can sometimes be quite a feat amongst the disorganized city plan, crazy drivers and the typical traffic. I like to think of the art work as my reward for making it though all of the hubbub.

"I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They're beautiful. Everybody's plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic."
- Andy Warhol