Jul 202023

Built Landscape I, 2015, by Paul Davies, was included in Palm Springs Art Museum’s 2018 group exhibition, Eighty @ Eighty.

From the museum’s wall plaque-

Through a rich process of layering, mirroring, and mimicking, Davies explores the fusion of manmade and cultivated natural elements that comprise our environment. Reflecting a contemporary Southern California sensibility, his paintings are at once a dream of an idealized lifestyle made popular by midcentury modern architecture, and a commentary on how such structures interact with and fragment the world around us. This image references the unique periscope-like structure of architect Albert Frey’s first home in Palm Springs.

Davies’ work can currently be seen as part of Stark White gallery’s exhibition Surface Tension in Queenstown, New Zealand, on view until 8/20/23.


Apr 192023

“…from dawn to dusk, (January)”, 2022

“…from dawn to dusk, (May)”, 2022

“…from dawn to dusk, (December)”, 2022

“white blind (bright red) (02.13)”, 2002

“white blind/bright red (02.6)”, 2002

“Untitled (98.5)”, 1998

From “nowhere near” Untitled (NW 18), 1999

“… and to draw a bright white line with light (Untitled 11.10)”, 2011

Uta Barth’s two part exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is a fascinating look at the artist’s work.  It includes the New York debut of her most recent piece, …from dawn to dusk, a nearly 360-degree installation of images commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

From the press release-

Barth’s expansive 2022 series … from dawn to dusk focuses on the intersection of Southern California light with the architecture of the Getty Center. It traces the changing light at one location of the Richard Meier built campus, for the period of one year. The location was photographed every five minutes, from dawn to dusk, on two days each month, for the entirety of the year. Made with a GigaPan, over 64,000 images were captured and a Timelapse video sequence now shows the progression of this movement of light. As the view repeats from panel to panel, there are subtle changes in light as well as more dramatic blurring and color shifts, which invoke inverted optical afterimages and other visual phenomena that occur when staring at a fixed point for a prolonged period of time. Presented as twelve consecutive single views, the video is embedded among the still images of the installation, and it comes as a surprise to discover what one first assumes to be a still photograph to actually be the moving summation of the show.

In the upstairs galleries, Elizabeth Smith’s selection of work reveals the foundations of the artist’s renowned and influential practice, as well as the trajectory that led to the explorations found in …from dawn to dusk. Elizabeth Smith shared her thoughts on Barth’s practice as she approached this exhibition:

It’s been almost thirty years since I worked with Uta Barth to present her first solo museum show at MOCA in 1995. In relation to her newest project, the gallery’s invitation to select some key examples from both her early series and subsequent ones has offered a welcome opportunity to reengage with and consider the full trajectory of her work. From her earliest to her most recent photographs, Barth’s practice has centered on a nuanced investigation of visual experience, free from narrative. Light, color, the passage of time, and the shifting nature of the process of vision through bodily experience are the ongoing subjects of her resonant images, probed in various ways over decades.

Throughout her career, Uta Barth has made visual perception the subject of her work. Regarded for her “empty” images that reference painterly abstraction, the artist carefully renders blurred backgrounds, cropped frames and the natural qualities of light to capture incidental and fleeting moments, those which exist almost exclusively within our periphery. With a deliberate disregard for both the conventional photographic subject and the point-and-shoot role of the camera, Barth’s work delicately deconstructs conventions of visual representation by calling our attention to the limits of the human eye.

As Leah Ollman writes in her recent Los Angeles Times profile of the artist,

From her earliest years as an artist, Barth’s attention has been drawn to the eye’s behavior: what attracts it, what makes it stay, what causes it to double back, what generates after-images and optical fatigue. Learning to photograph was, for her, a way of learning to see.

This exhibition closes 4/22/23.


Mar 232023

Stefan Kürten, “We are all made of stars”, 2013

Stefan Kürten, “Running to Stand Still”, 2014

Stefan Kürten, “Running to Stand Still”, 2014 (detail)

Stefan Kürten, “Fine Wrinkles”, 2000

Rita McBride, “Mae West Mandala (Oaxaca), 2009 and “Color Test (Green Bar)”, 2009

Stefan Kürten’s paintings of houses and Rita McBride’s wall coverings (and other sculptures) work with each other to question the concept of home, as well as the objects you might find within one. The exhibition, titled I Continue To Live In My Glass House, is on view at Alexander and Bonin until 3/25/23.

From the press release-

Stefan Kürten is known for detailed depictions of homes. Although constructed from both found and invented imagery, his homes feel known or experienced. The slippage between archetypes, memories, and dreams are central to his compositions. Set in lush landscapes and mysteriously unpeopled, Kürten’s homes evoke modern art or design museums with iconic sculptures and furniture viewable inside and outside of their transparent walls.

Rita McBride’s work invites us to reconsider structures and design elements such as ductwork, awnings, wall coverings and other utilitarian objects. McBride represents a bentwood chair in Murano glass, fastened together by a material that evokes spun candy or plastic wrap. Chair (1999) comments on the life of a domestic object whose usage necessitates an inventive approach to repair or stabilization.
McBride is also showing Particulates, an art installation that combines lasers with ambient dust and water molecules, will be on view at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles starting 3/27/23.


Dec 172022

“Tower, Houston”, 2020

“Tower, Houston”, 2020 (closer look)

“City Square at 4 am (Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, Large Version)”, 2020

“Midtown, NYC”, 2020

The paintings above are from Daniel Rich’s 2020 exhibition at Miles McEnery Gallery in NYC.

From the gallery’s press release-

Daniel Rich’s reticulated cityscapes and slick façades appear at first glance to be quite literally superficial. Whether it is a geometric exterior pressed close to the picture plane or a cluster of multiple structures glimpsed from a distance, we experience architecture in his painting as a wholly exteriorized phenomenon— looming close up or made smaller through a bird’s-eye view.

His process-oriented paintings offer windows to different parts of the world— some figuratively, others much more literally—and can evoke a distorted experience of temporality for the viewer. Like compositions by Bernd and Hilla Becher or Andreas Gursky, Rich’s artworks offer clinical, complex architectural views onto the world that are filled with subtleties. However, Rich differs from Becher or Gursky in his painstaking, intricate process of translating found images into painting. The works also evoke early 20th century European Modernism, recalling Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical cityscapes and Germany’s Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) artists of the 1920s and 1930s.

Architecture, as it is commonly understood, is designed and implemented to house the human and is itself the manifestation of our constructed realities. When all signs of life are missing from buildings and spaces, as in Rich’s paintings, the result is an unsettling subversion that upends and questions what we have come to expect of both architectural spaces and the organized linearity of time. Rich probes viewers to consider what lies beyond the surface.

Rich also uses his anonymous architectural imagery to talk about history and politics. He speaks of his scenes as “failed utopias” and “changing political power structures.” In their seeming permanence, the fixed and rigid edifices that populate his work speak to a late capitalist urbanism that sees its monuments not as contingent, but as immovable and eternal.

His newest paintings are currently on view at the gallery for his exhibition Flat Earth on view until 1/28/23.

Dec 032022

Study for Milltown Icon, 2003

Dunedin Fine Art Center is currently showing three exhibitions based on the theme of Architecture. The images above are from Rust to Rust: Janos Enyedi and the Architecture of Industry. The work combines painting, photography, and sculpture. Parts of his work appear to be metal but are actually constructed using illustration board. His creations are an impressive exploration of the fading industrial landscape of America’s Rust and Steel Belts.

Janos Enyedi’s discussion of his work in 2009 (from the gallery’s wall information)-

“While I have a special affection for industrial landscapes, it is not industry itself that captures my imagination. What draws my attention is the simplicity and directness of the industrial architecture and the elements that support it.

Nowhere else is the Modernist tenet “form follows function” as explicit. The realm of industry is filled with large iconic shapes- water towers, smokestacks, complex steel structures, monitor roofs, images that we all know.

Most people, if they bother to look at industry at all, see large, dirty hulks. I see other things. There is an old saying, “The Devil is in the details”.

When it comes to industry, I see “Angels” in the details. I see I-beams and angle iron and the shadows they cast on corrugation: torch-cut edges, the staccato of rivets, the patterns of safety plate and rust- always the rich, amazing and beautiful patina of rust.”

The exhibition also includes works that allow you to see a bit of his creative process, including some of his sketches.

Also on view is We Built This City, a multi-media exhibition of work that “investigates the connection between Architecture and Music- conceptually, loosely, physically-poetically”.

Paula Scher– You Me

Vanessa Diaz– Decadent Ledge

The third exhibition Carol Sackman and Blake White: The Mosaic House of Dunedin, includes bright and colorful mosaic work borrowed from their famous home.

All these exhibitions are on view until 12/23/22.