May 202017

                                                                         My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage…, 2004

Jason Rhoades Installations, 1994-2006 at Hauser & Wirth is a lot of show. It’s a big exhibition with several rooms packed with things. Many, many things. In one room numerous neon expressions for female genitalia hang over a mosque-like environment (above), and in another over countless tourist novelties, bare mattresses, and truck nuts (pictured below).

The earlier work, like My Brother/Brancusi, which was created for the 1995 Whitney Biennial, feels a bit stronger, or at least less controversial.  Photos of Brancusi’s studio and Rhoades’ brother’s room are on the walls, while his version of his brother’s room complete with a tower of donuts (somehow still intact) that alludes to Brancusi’s Endless Column, and mechanical objects, fill the center of the installation.

This description is from the press release of The Creation Myth, 1998, another of the better pieces in the show, and gives an insight into Rhoades thought process behind the work-

The artist sought to understand why, how, and what humans create by exploring Creationist and Evolutionist theories in tandem. The irreverent representation of the human body and brain is structured into levels to suggest our categories of perception: the archetypal, the real, the unconscious and the rebellious. Each of the six nouns in the work’s subtitle (‘The Mind, the Body and the Spirit, the Shit, Prick and the Rebellious Part’) is metaphorically portrayed, while the function of the brain itself unfolds through a calculated combination of readymades and images. A series of stacked tables constitutes the ‘brain,’ in which a ‘train of thought’ – a toy train mounted by a snake’s head and tail – circles. Digestible ‘information’ enters the ‘brain’ in the form of pornography-wrapped logs of wood, representing the physicality of creation. Cut and disseminated, ‘information’ is incessantly processed and reproduced by cameras, mirrors, and computers. Smoke rings erupt from ‘the Asshole,’ a fleeting byproduct of the frenzied machine, a personification of the Spirit, alluding to the pursuit of the ephemeral moment.

If you love his work, the chaotic installations and selfie opportunities will delight you. If not, there is still plenty to think about after seeing the work.

                                                                                             Tijuanatanjierchandelier, 2006

This is a good interview discussing the exhibition with the curator (and former partner in the gallery) Paul Schimmel.

This exhibition closes 5/21/17.

Mar 042017

                                                                         (above work by Sandra Low, Steve Seleska, and Amy Kaps)

Currently at Walter Maciel Gallery is With Liberty and Justice for Some, for which the gallery invited artists from across the country to do 8×8 inch portraits of individuals who came to the United States as immigrants- including historic subjects, personal friends, relatives, strangers, and sometimes self portraits. The gallery is also donating a portion of each sale to various non-profit groups including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the LA and SF LGBT Centers. Also showing at the gallery is I.D. Please!, with works by artists Hung Liu, John Bankston, Lezley Saar, John Jurayi, Maria E. Piñeres, Nike Schröder, Dana Weiser and Monica Lundy, who have all developed studio practices based around notions of identity.

This exhibition closes 3/4/17.

Also closing this weekend in Culver City-

Egan Frantz’s The Oat Paintings at Roberts & Tilton

(image via Roberts & Tilton)

And at Kopeikin Gallery are Ardeshir Tabrizi’s Observations in Linear Time (palm tree), and Jason Engelund’s Meta-Landscapes and Visual Ambient Drones (blue).

(images via Kopeikin)

Feb 112017


                                                                            Rodeo 10, 2016 (Photo credit Jeff McLane)

                                                                       Hillary Clinton, 2016 (Photo credit Robert Wedemeyer)

Karl Haendel’s solo exhibition BY AND BY at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, is a collection of  highly detailed drawings mixed with earlier work made in 2000, and a new video piece. Included in the earlier work is State Motto Map, a colorful map of the United States, with each state’s motto labeled on it. Washington State’s motto is Alki, or Al-ki, a Native American word meaning bye and bye, and is where the title of this exhibition is drawn from.

From the press release

In this exhibition, Haendel uses the idea of the portrait to explore contemporary definitions of masculinity, power, and public identity. He undertakes the challenging task of drawing a portrait of what it is to be a man, or perhaps what is expected of men, in images that span a broad range of representations from the heroic to the abject, from the depiction of male achievement in the highest ranks of power to a raw and unsympathetic examination of a middle-aged convicted sex offender. An inquiry into what represents masculinity also requires a look at the conventions of gender representation, as masculinity and femininity have so long been defined, particularly in images, as a codependent set of complimentary traits. In “By and By” Haendel both reasserts and undermines these conventions in heroic portraits of teenage girls riding rodeo, reproductions of murals depicting black civil rights leaders, and a monumental portrait of Hillary Clinton. His drawings and his video work against a tradition of portraiture that collapses individuals into ciphers and symbols that read as shorthand for historical legacies and narrative tropes.

This show closes 2/11/17.


(images via Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects)

Apr 162016

Mara De Luca, INDIO, 2015 (image courtesy Edward Cella Art & Architecture)


Mara De Luca, INDUSTRY, 2014 (image courtesy Edward Cella Art & Architecture)

Today (4/16/16) is the last day to see Mara De Luca’s solo exhibition Driving Sunset at Edward Cella Art & Architecture.

From the press release

An MFA graduate of CalArts, De Luca explores the conceptual and expressive potential of process-driven abstract painting. Her works are informed by her study and re-appropriation of art historical conventions, her visual interpretation of literary sources, and the recurring visual tropes of contemporary high-end fashion advertising. Inspired by Los Angeles’ stark contrasts, a place where beautiful natural landscapes coexist alongside endless freeways and countless billboards, De Luca reveals a depth in the superficiality of surface, and an emotive complexity in formal concision.

The show’s title is a reference to Joan Didion’s novel Play It as It Lays, in which the main character drives around Los Angeles aimlessly while trying to clear her mind. There’s a sense of that sought after calm in these paintings whose colors and dark cloud-like shapes bring to mind the skies and sunsets of California.

Apr 162016

© Eleanor Macnair (image courtesy Kopeikin Gallery)


Untitled, 1975 © William Eggleston


© Eleanor Macnair (image courtesy Kopeikin Gallery)

Nan one month after being battered 1984 Nan Goldin born 1953 Purchased 1997

Nan one month after being battered, 1984 © Nan Goldin (image courtesy

Currently at Kopeikin Gallery are Eleanor Macnair’s delightful Play-Doh recreations of famous photographs (I’ve included the original photos for comparison, they are not in the show).  In the second part of the gallery is Michael Lange’s serene series Wald/Fluss (Forest/River).

WALD | Landscapes of Memory forest in Germany (image courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery)

This exhibition closes 4/16/16.

Mar 252016

“4995” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)


“4600” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)


“0521” (image courtesy of Regen Projects)

For his current solo exhibition Choreograph at Regen Projects, James Welling combines his images of architecture and landscape (common in his previous work), with photographs of dancers to create beautiful dreamlike worlds. Welling once studied dance at the University of Pittsburgh before stopping after a year to go to CalArts, and his continued love of dance is evident in the work.

The process for the creation of these layered images is explained in the press release

To create these works Welling photographed over a dozen dance companies in New York, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Los Angeles. The dance photographs were then merged with photographs of architecture (buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, and Paul Rudolph) and landscape imagery (western Connecticut, southern Florida, and Switzerland) in Photoshop’s fundamental red, green, and blue color channels, which are basic to all color photographs. The resulting electronic files were altered by the artist using Photoshop’s Hue and Saturation layers to create complicated, multi-hued photographs, which were then printed on rag paper using a 10 color Epson Stylus Pro 9900 inkjet printer.

For more information on how he achieved the look of the photos in Photoshop, there is a booklet at the front desk that contains a breakdown of the color channels and a list of each color adjustment layer.

This show closes 3/26/16.


Mar 182016

Doppelgangers (in foreground)


Detail of Doppelgangers


Home is Where You Are Happy, No.1


At Amy Yao’s solo exhibition at Various Small Fires, Bay of Smokes, fear of a polluted and harmfully modified environment play a central role. An industrial manufactured scent fills the gallery, lead blankets are on towel racks and a mountain of rice reveals on closer inspection that it has bits of plastic and pearls (real and fake) mixed in. In this time of GMO’s, toxic water in Flint, and the gas leak at Porter Ranch, it’s hard not to be paranoid about what is really happening to our natural surroundings and how poisonous our daily lives really are, especially in ways we cannot discern. Yao’s exhibition is a creative and at times playful examination of these issues, but the darkness of the theme, like the scent remains a constant presence.

This exhibition closes 3/18/16.



Mar 122016

Mom Knows


Black Flag


Detail from Black Flag

The mixed media assemblage paintings in Aaron Fowler’s current solo exhibition, Blessings on Blessings, at Diane Rosenstein gallery, are large, highly detailed, and dense with imagery.

From the press release-

Aaron Fowler, who was born in St. Louis and currently lives and works in Harlem, creates mixed-media assemblage-paintings that depict his experiences and the lives of his family and friends in both a personal narrative and an epic journey through contemporary America. The title of this exhibition, which includes twelve portraits, tableaux, and medallions created in the past year, refers to lyrics from “Blessings”, a 2015 song by American rapper Big Sean.

In these sculptural tableaux, Fowler depicts himself as a “mirror character” called The Pilgrim. He employs oils, acrylics and collage – often pixilated ‘photo print-outs’ based on 18th C. American historical painting – alongside objects like Adidas sneakers, CDs, T-shirts, and plastic bags.  The dynamic, large-scale compositions are enacted on discarded domestic materials including shutters, mirrored doors, windows, and card tables.

This show closes 3/12/16.


Mar 052016




There is an incredible quiet beauty to Chris Ballantyne’s exhibition Transcendental Divide/Transitory Space at Zevitas Marcus in Culver City.  The paintings, all on wood panels, contrast the tininess of the man made structures with the vastness of the natural landscapes.

From the press release-

Transcendental Divide/Transitory Space continues Chris Ballantyne’s exploration of the tensions that exist between nature and man’s ever-expanding imprint on the planet. Employing a dry sense of humor and architecturally precise draftsmanship, Ballantyne delicately renders familiar images of everyday life – a neglected swimming pool, an empty parking lot, a vacant home – and juxtaposes them with often vast expanses of nature. The overall effect is such that signs of civilization start to seem both absurd and obsolete. In this exhibition, a highway interchange becomes an infinity loop; a suburban ranch house is inexplicably perched on the edge of a massive canyon; and a ship, dwarfed in scale to the canvas on which it is rendered, floats into a serene white void.

Ballantyne says of his work, “I want to suggest that empty space or nothingness has real meaning, as do the everyday and overlooked.”

This show closes 3/5/16.

(images courtesy of Zevitas Marcus)

Mar 052016




Currently at Gavlak Gallery are Bovey Lee’s amazingly detailed rice paper works for her solo exhibition Divertical.

From the press release-

Taking inspiration from the overwhelming nature of a cross-country move, the works are predominated by a motif of rollercoasters winding their way throughout the pieces and often forming the perimeter of the cuttings. The title of the exhibition itself takes its name from an actual rollercoaster, the world’s tallest water roller coaster located in Italy. Embedded within each work – contrasting with the chaos of the rollercoaster and the natural and urban elements that fill the work – is evidence of a small balancing act, depicted in the form of a tightrope walker, an acrobat, or a surfer carefully balanced on his board. Speaking to the motivation for her move, the works also feature imagery associated with romantic relationships – wedding bouquets, engagement rings, cakes, and eternity symbols populate the pieces.

In the front of the gallery is Amy Bessone’s In The Century of Women, a combination of sculptures and prints concerned with the female image. The large bronze and ceramic sculptures contrast the female torsos on pedestals with the large pipes on the floor that perhaps suggest the male onlooker. The prints on the wall are “based on discarded images of divorcées from newspaper archives, dating from the 1930’s-1970’s.” They invite viewers to imagine narratives for these women who in certain instances stare out at you from their moment in time.


Both of these exhibitions close 3/5/16.

(images courtesy of Gavlak Gallery)