CONTINUING AND RECOMMENDED, APRIL, 2012

 

 

Alina Szapocznikow, "Petit Dessert 1 (Small Dessert 1)," 1970-71, color polyester resin and glass, 3 3/16 x 4 5/16 x 5 1/8".

 

Having witnessed first hand the trauma of undeserved death and disintegration of bodies from barbarous inhumanity, the Polish born sculptor and Holocaust survivor Alina Szapocznikow’s defiant celebration of sensuous beauty is unanticipated. The ratio between permanence and temporality in her work reaches a balance with “Self Portrait I” (1966). This peculiarly intriguing bust melds a solid opaque marble foundation of curvaceous suggestion of shoulders and breasts topped by a deliciously ephemeral, flattened, translucent polyester resin head, highlighted with prominent rouged lips. Szapocznikow’s early sculptural works tend towards the realistic, solid and vertical, but accompanying drawings venture toward early explorations that will be incorporated into three dimensional work later on as she experiments with materials that more naturally respond to the touch of her hand. Her use of intimate objects such as nylon tights compliments the carnal memory of the body referenced in handmade items, including lamps shaped like lips or painted polyethylene cushions cast in the form of a woman’s belly. The artist’s combination of photographic imagery with intimate and pliable materials becomes increasingly effective over time, peaking in a series of photo sculptures that capture agonized, distended shapes formed out of chewed gum. By the time Szapocznikow slides into her own personal mid-life struggle with bone cancer, the progressive dissolution of form in works such as “Invasion of Tumors” (1970) has disintegrated into clumps of entombed memories (The Hammer Museum, West Los Angeles).

Diane Calder

 

 

 

 

Robin Rhode, "Imaginary Exhibition" installation view at L & M Art, 2012.

 

Robin Rhode's ambitious L.A. debut, "Imaginary Exhibition," includes photographs of homes from New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward on crumpled aluminum, an oversized inking pad and stamp with its resulting painted/stamped image, of the moon, on the wall, and his signature work — photos of Rhode enacting graffiti-esque or sculptural performances. Of a sort. There is tremendous play with trompe-l'oeil and improvisation, in which apparently graffitied images recur in different formations, provoking questions of 'what's real?' while maintaining a sense that there's no digital manipulation involved. An animated, stop-motion video in the back room depicts large clomps of snow splatting across what looks to be a Richard Serra steel piece, accompanied by the sound of tennis balls being clocked.  It's a rhythm that eventually post-mediates one's experience of the show as a whole: Did those series of street-based improvisations exist only in still photos? In the mind's eye they are recalled as being animated. You can almost hear the ice cubes clinking as he scatters them over the course of a photo series to create a larger-than-human-scale figure eight. Rhode's vision is complex and comprised of an intriguing set of paradoxes, such as still in movement (the stop-motion) and in-motion through stills (L & M Arts, Venice).

Michael Shaw

 

 

 

Jerry McMillan, "Judy Chicago," 1970, gelatin silver print, 14 x 11".

 

Images of artists and the art world, especially those that depict earlier generations, often bring a smile as well as a sense of awe and wonder. Jerry McMillan documented much of the L.A. scene during the 1960s, and the black and white portraits here include recognized artists such as Judy Chicago, Ed Ruscha, and Ed Kienholz. Many of McMillan's images were used in ads and posters for gallery exhibitions, which are in many cases presented alongside the original image, as are contact sheets of the shoot. It's all good fun. Also on view are a suite of black and white photographs by Dennis Hopper from the 1960s that were part of the "Fort Worth 400" - vintage 6 x 9 inch photographs that were included in an exhibition in Fort Worth in 1970 but not exhibited since. The two bodies of work present many of the same figures and, mainly from a documentary standpoint, are vital additions to Pacific Standard Time (Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica).

Jody Zellen

 

 

 

DeLoss McGraw, "Music Tour of Young Mozart," 2011, gouache on paper, 12 x 8".

 

Those fond of DeLoss McGraw’s colorful narratives will not be disappointed with his current exhibition, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." McGraw’s power stems not only from the wow factor of his vibrant colors, but also from his unique ability to convey child-like visions from an adult perspective. In this series of paintings and books, he weaves together themes drawn from the literature, music and poetry of Eastern European folklore. Star shaped paintings, for instance, conjuer the spirit of childhood with allusions to fairy tales and nursery rhymes. The predominant theme of the show references the life of Mozart, starting with a large triptych that heralds his birth. By portraying him delivered by a stork, McGraw sets the fairy tale tone. Smaller illustrations depict scenes from Mozart’s operas, as well as fanciful environments, the existence of which is owed mainly to projections of McGraw’s imagination. He draws, also, from a variety of painting traditions, influenced by diverse artists ranging from Giotto and Paul Klee. But floating instruments, flying figures and visions of a dying Ophelia are reminiscent of the Symbolist’s penchant for the allegorical. The poetry of W.D. Snodgrass, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Dylan Thomas, among others, are incorporated into many of the Mozart stories. They serve as a means to drive the narratives, as do a host of literary references to childhood fables such as Gunter Grass’s, “The Tin Drum” and Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.“ Richly lathered surfaces and the liberal use of deep midnight blues and vibrant reds add auras of drama. But it is his distinctive melding of the visual with language that takes us beyond the anecdotal and into the realm of imagination (Couturier Gallery, Miracle Mile).

EW

 

 


Delia Brown, "While Walking Her Dog, C is Taken with a Fanciful Vision of a Young Woman Painting in the Park," 2011, oil on board, 16 x 10".

 

Delia Brown's "Felicity & Caprice" turns painting into a serial narrative through more than 30 petite oil on board paintings that seduce viewers into a soap opera-like scenario of pulpy flirtation, titillation, and intrigue. The narrative, which is based on Claude Chabrol's 1968 film "Les Biches," begins with a painting titled, "While Walking Her Dog, C is taken with a Fanciful Vision of a Young Woman Painting in the Park." And indeed, each title helps fill us in on the sequence of events that lead to – spoiler alert – the young Felicity's usurping the role of the elder Caprice, a character modeled on the artist herself, while Felicity is 'played by' the actress Hollis Witherspoon. Brown's neo-Sargent style of painting (though on a smaller scale, with each ranging from 8 x 12 inches to no more than 16 x 22) conveys great lyricism when viewed as an installation. However, it verges too closely towards the academic were it not for the satisfyingly hardboiled narrative, which is surprisingly charged despite only implying sexuality. What is potentially stodgy feels timelessly fresh. A group of larger, more recent paintings (3 x 4 feet) in the smaller gallery are competently executed but lack the charm of the smaller works, and ultimately feel like an afterthought. But "Felicity & Caprice," which plays on themes of wealth and the mystique of art world insiders, remains a thrillingly satisfying romp (Angles Gallery, Culver City).

MS

 

 

 

Kelli Connell, "This Morning," 2008, lambda print, 30 x 40".

 

Entitled "Double Life," the color photographs in Kelli Connell's series seamlessly meld together multiple images of the artist in exterior as well as domestic settings. They explore relationships between two women - who happened to be the same person - that explore identity, gender roles and sexuality. The images portray intimate moments with sensitivity and grace. Perhaps because Connell uses herself as a model she has ultimate control of the situation. Images like this require forethought as to how multiple images can be blended together without a trace. This is a challenging task, but Connell has the skill to make the compositing disappear. The images appear 'real' and natural. The works explore the dual natures of self, alter egos, similarities and differences in the everyday life of a same sex couple (Kopeikin Gallery, Culver City).

JZ

 

 

 

Nobuo Sekine, "Phaw-Mother Earth," 1968/2012, earth, cement, molds, cylinder: 86 5/8 x 106 1/2" diameter; hole: 86 5/8 x 106 1/4" diameter.

 

"The Art of Mono-ha" has most of the hallmarks of a Pacific Standard Time exhibition: a group show of ambitious work, made in the late '60s/early '70s (as well as several that were recreated for this show), and artists working within the Pacific Rim. The fact that the artists are Japanese, not Southern Californian, however, sets it apart. Mono-ha, or "school of things," may be perceived as coalescing gestures in minimalism, process art and earth art. While some works in the show may feel dated, a response that could just be our Westerner's bias, many other works remain ambitious achievements some 40 years after their initial creation. Of the 10 artists involved, Nobuo Sekine makes a particularly memorable impression, most notably through his outdoor sculptures. "Phase of Nothingness" is a nearly 15 feet high, mirrored stainless steel monolith topped by an oval, granite boulder, and "Phase-Mother Earth" is an earth and cement cylinder which is mirrored in absence by a same-sized hole in the ground. Inside the galleries, his "Phase of Nothingness-Water" features a pair - one circular, the other rectangular - of steel and lacquer vessels filled to the rim with water, the water becoming extensions of the dark surface itself and acting as a smooth-surfaced finish as viewed from certain angles. It's a concept that predates Charles Ray's ink-filled box by about two decades. Another standout is Kishio Suga, whose works include "Parallel Strata," a semi-minimalist wax sculpture originally made in 1969 and re-made this year, and "Infinite Situation II (steps)," in which sand is packed completely into all the steps in one of the back stairwells, turning it into a completely smooth decline that is both finite and, indeed, infinite, in its openness (Blum & Poe, Culver City).

MS

 

 

 

Futon Cover, fragment, Kyushu, Japan, Taisho period (1912-1926), cotton, double ikat.

 

The indigo of blue jeans may be as American as an apple pie, but a small gallery shows that indigo blue is also as Japanese as a kimono or futon. “Japanese Pictorial Ikats from the Krauss Collection” focuses on a selection of Japanese e-gasuri, cloth made through the art of ikatIkat is the reverse of tie-dye and resist-dying, and is used to put patterns on the yarn which then create astonishingly well-planned images on a cloth as it is woven. The fabric was generally woven into lengths of 12 meters (the length required to make a kimono). As the cloth was intended for daily practical use, the works here are mainly only remnants of used kimonos and futon covers from the late 18th century. After examining the meticulous labor required for the delightful images, which range from simple hatchwork to koi languidly swimming across the weave, there is a fresh appreciation for the precious few intact kimonos and futon covers in the room (Fowler Museum at UCLA, West Los Angeles).

Jeannie R. Lee

 

 

 

Mirror with Quatrefoil, Grass Motifs, Stars and Linked Arc, Wester Han dynasty, 206 B.C.E.-8 C.E.

 

Chinese bronze mirrors have had a 3,000-year history, and one of the best collections anywhere has been that of American businessman Lloyd Cotsen, who ran Neutrogena for many years. He bought his first antique mirrors when in the Navy during the early 1950s - he became fascinated by them in a Hong Kong antique shop. Over several decades he assembled 95 of them, which range in stylistic and historical periods. You can begin to understand why he was hooked when you see this show. "Ancient Chinese Bronze Mirrors from the Lloyd Cotsen Collection" is comprised of relatively small objects meant to be handheld, such as a terracotta figurine of a woman grooming herself. But the decorations on the back sometimes suggested a cosmos. The earlier ones often reflected cosmological beliefs. One shows the zodiac, the 12 animals of the Chinese calendar, and one of my favorites is a square mirror (most are round) which depicts the five world mountains in high relief, four on the diagonals and the central mountain as the knob. The latter and several other gorgeous examples are from the Tang period (618 - 907 ), a high point in Chinese culture which saw cultural exchange with Central Asia. Other mirrors depict legendary figures, such as the Goddess of the West, or tell popular stories. These mirrors are marvels of workmanship and the human imagination (The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, Pasadena).

Scarlet Cheng

 

 

 

Ken Price, "L Red," 1963, stoneware with lacquer and acrylic, 13 1/2 x 12 x 10".

 

Walking into this small but elegant gallery is to walk into the early history of post-war sculpture of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Massive structures by Peter Voulkos and John Mason loom above the biomorphic forms by Ken Price. This trio of artists defied fine art tradition by using a culturally devalued material long associated solely with craft: clay. Ceramic art connoted decorative and barely functional objects that were beautifully made for the aesthetic gaze. It was Voulkos who first grasped the modernist concept of “truth to materials” and understood how abstraction could be applied to ceramics. These twin insights, that clay did not have to make a functional object and that this malleable material had inherent properties that could be explored and displayed, led to "Clay's Tectonic Shift."

 

Using only slip, not glaze, Voulkos began to handle clay in an aggressive manner.  Huge structures, such as "Snake River" and the ironically named "Vase," are dark and violently amassed upward through bending, slashing and mashing. The writhing of such works is counterbalanced by the art of his associate, John Mason. Some of Mason’s most famous structures, such as the magnificent "Red X" are traditionally glazed and clean lined, clearly responding to the linear rather than painterly tradition. Even his flat clay walls, made of rough-hewn clay slabs, resembling expressively hacked pieces of wood or stone, are contained in a rectilinear structure. If Mason can be placed somewhere between Ab Ex and Minimalism, then Ken Price, who died in January, is the Pop artist of the trio. Price gravitated away from the rather overbearing Voulkos, his teacher at Otis, and rejected the concept of mass and violent use of materials. But the young artist was also heretic in the eyes of the clay community. His clay works are small, exquisitely made, and as such represent a definitive return to craft. These are hybrid objects that are painted with acrylics in strong vibrant colors painstakingly applied in many layers. Price made egg-like shapes, for example "L. Red" and "S. L. Red," out of which worm-like protrusions of a complementary color tentatively emerge. A cross between Pop Art and Surrealism, eggs, such as "Specimen" and "White and Gray," become precious when placed reverently in beautifully made Cornell boxes (Scripps College, Ruth Candler Williamson Gallery, Claremont, California).

Jeanne Willette

 

 

 

Arup SoundLab® Installation depicting fully immersive 3D sound environment.

 

"Static Noise: The Photographs of Rhona Bitner" traces rock music’s history from coast to coast. But here the story is told in the clubs, recording studios and performance areas that musicians and fans inhabited. These 28 glossy images, more than three feet square with a few wall size, are of now historical spaces devoid of people, some still in existence and several closed. They tell the viewer about a world where superstars jammed, created and recorded, and where fans could unveil their most primal emotions. Included is a shot of the brightly lit stage at CBGB, the legendary New York rock music club that closed in 2006. This club’s impending closure was Bitner’s catalyst to capture on film what she calls, “the aftermath of ravaged rock ’n’ roll stages.” She went on to shoot New York’s Electric Lady Studios, where Patti Smith recorded, L.A.’s Whisky a Go-Go, a well-appointed room at Graceland, the Austin City Limits TV show set, and Detroit’s now decrepit Grande Ballroom, closed in 1972, but still standing with daylight pouring in through the cracked ceiling. The most poignant image is of “Max Yasgur’s Farm,” Bethel, NY, now bucolic, yet reminding viewers of the Woodstock Festival there over 40 years ago.

 

Accompanying "Static Noise" is the ear splitting "Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe" by classic rocker Lou Reed. This world premiere audio installation is a complement to Bitner’s exhibition. Described as an ambisonic 3-D re-creation of Reed’s 1975 album "Metal Machine Music," it re-creates this artist’s 2009 New York’s Blender Theatre performance of the piece. Nearly three years in the making, sound “acousticians” first used special microphones to record that concert and then to reconstruct it. Early this year, they placed 14 loudspeakers in a spherical arrangement in the museum’s project room to recreate the exact same sound that Reed and three other musicians made in 2009. Once in that very dark museum project room, the heavy metal music sounds to the listener like a live performance (CSULB University Art Museum, Long Beach).

Liz Goldner

 

 

 

Sharon Lockhart, panel from "Gary Gilpatrick, Insulator," 2008, three chromogenic prints, 24 3/4 x 30 3/4".

 

Written tributes to Mike Kelley and memorial exhibitions of the contrarian’s installation and performance work began popping up almost immediately after Kelley’s untimely death. Most institutions have reached into their own holdings, exhibiting poignant works by the artist as a tribute to Kelley’s powerful impact on L. A. and art production in general. This exhibition honors Kelley’s legacy as a teacher by exhibiting works by a dozen of his students in “Candor: In Honor of Mike Kelley.” The eclectic show includes wildly diverse work. And that’s a good thing – confirming Kelley’s ability to embolden a new generation with his “never be ashamed of what you like” credo. Nora Jean Petersen’s four stilted clusters of communities are fabricated out of minute, vividly colored plastic trivia. Sharon Lockhart’s “Three Chromogenic Prints” expose the contents of a workman’s lunch box. Lisa Ann Auerbach’s “Sweater for Mike” and Andy Anderson’s banner, “Without love our work is meaningless” attest to the high regard these artists had for their mentor. Lockart sums it up in an L. A. Times article by Margaret Wapper published in remembrance of Kelley: “He took teaching and art-making incredibly seriously. He wasn’t doing it as a job but as a way of approaching life in a creative way” (Long Beach City College Art Gallery, Long Beach).

DC

 

 

 

"Full Deck: A Short History of Skate Art" is a timely and relevant display, featuring original boards from the 1960s to the present, along with photography, prints, and a bit of sculpture. Despite the initial impression, it’s not a historical show, but is organized into sections based upon the lender. The first room features a selection of wall mounted vintage boards from the collection of Sam Cunningham. Deeper into the show another section features boards from the collection of Mark Whiteley. Not necessarily the most efficient method (as opposed to an organization based upon year or artist) to view an exhibit, the curatorial effort does jolt the viewer to focus on the plethora of styles mixed alongside one another. A particularly impressive wall displays 21 decks that feature boards from famed skateboard companies Powell Peralta, Santa Monica Airlines, along with Christian Hosoi’s famed Hammerhead design. This arrangement is sheer fun for any knowledgeable skateboard fan. Curved wooden walls lined with plywood mimic skateboard ramps, thus the feel is authentic and not too far from the ethos of the sport. Skateboard design is often an introduction to an art form that is affordable and attainable conceptually and pragmatically. However, the most surprising aspect of this exhibition is the amount of original artwork and one-of-a-kind boards that were carved or painted with traditional media, a surprise that makes for a unique and informative experience (CSU San Bernardino, Inland Empire).

G. James Daichendt

 

 

 

Victor Hugo Zayas, Gun sculpture, 2011, guns

 

Victor Hugo Zayas’ 20-year body of work reveals his constantly evolving artistic topics and subject matter. In the artist’s first solo U.S. museum exhibition, 21 large and dramatic oils are of urban landscapes, ocean scenes, still lifes, abstract themes and one sensual nude. Ten metal sculptures are crafted from gun remnants. About these diverse works, he explains, “To continue to produce [similar] works just because they are a commercial success is to have those works become dead.” Zayas’ paintings also demonstrate his knowledge of art history from a century ago, particularly in his mastery of expressive techniques and use of thickly applied paint. Here the 9-foot wide "East L.A." is an urban landscape depicting over-building, decimation and dominance by radio towers, lit by a night-time sky of purples, browns, deep blues and greens. "L.A. Scape" is an urban jungle of low and hi-rises, alternately burnished and faded by the bright desert sun. By contrast, "Costa Azul" and "Sal Si Puedes" are turbulent ocean scenes; in each painting, sea, rocks and sky become an almost violent brew, demanding that we succumb to and not try to change nature’s furious demands. Even Zayas’ still lifes, traditional in theme and composition, adhere to his expressive nature, at times calling up Van Gogh’s spirit. Not surprisingly, the artist recently partnered with the LAPD’s gun buyback program, obtaining tons of confiscated guns. He shredded, then welded and transformed the gun barrels and handles into objects of beauty that some viewers say look like faces (Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach).

LG

 

 

 

Pontus Willfors, "Organic Form," 2009, wood and metal ,20 x 20 x 14'.

 

Curator Carl Berg sought artists who create from a traditional root, but who can take the subject of "Architecture & Landscape" to new heights. The selected work is edgy and passionate, with a quality of expression and craftsmanship of execution. The group as a whole achieves a profound sense of freedom and assurance, and forms are rendered in a dazzling manner. Throughout the show the art seems spontaneous as if created freely and quickly, but every piece is deeply perceived and developed. Rife with fresh insights, the art encourages viewers’ imaginations to take flight within an ageless context.

 

Nathan Redwood works on a huge scale, using enormous brushes that he choreographs to form magical scenes. One painting engulfs us with its mesmerizing effects of curvilinear meander tubes that seem to depict the creation of the world, or just as easily, its destruction. Roger Herman paints with an economy of means. Getting closer, one may be convinced of the works' abstract nature, but further away, each deliciously applied line comes together as a realistic architectural wonder. Alexandra Wiesenfeld’s six separately executed horizontal paintings, stacked and spaced one above another, offer a slice of the L.A. landscape – a large sign with letters falling off, a desert area, or a seaport. Ukrainian-born Tanya Brodsky renders beautiful landscapes in a Social Realist style, in which people gather to engage in what seem like futile activities that contrast America with her own past living under Communist rule. Sculpture by Pontus Willfors regards trees as architecture. His sweeping, undulating handmade tree is fashioned from much smaller tree anatomy. Its leafless construction is an engineering juggling act of graceful wooden parts that redefines the nature of nature (Irvine Fine Arts Center, Orange County).

Roberta Carasso

 

 

 

Cathy Breslaw, "Time Travel," 42 x 45", plastic mesh.

 

Cathy Breslaw's "Transitions" appears at first as a show of seventeen brightly colored and shaped abstract paintings with one suspended sculpture. On closer inspection, these works are mixed media, crafted from industrial mesh typically used in grocery stores, construction and decorations, that is quickly discarded. Artist Breslaw was attracted to this “plastic” while visiting China because it looks similar to tulle fabric. She explains, “Rather than sitting in oceans and waste stockpiles, I have repurposed and transformed these materials into art pieces that will long endure in homes and public places.” She takes the strong, stretchy plastic - that comes in several mesh patterns and colors - layers, cuts, tears, twists, folds, stretches, heats, sews and glues it. She often paints the material and then adds embroidery thread, yarn, painted ropes and other adornments. The 8 foot tondo “Metamorphosis” was inspired by the college campus of which this gallery is a part, and by its ponds and fountains. For this work, she added to the mesh small pieces of Tyvek® material in a variety of colors, heating the pieces, then layering them to suggest, “a beautiful landscape inspired by Monet’s paintings.” Other works include the translucent 9-foot square “Lightness of Being #1,” composed of lightly hued yellows, greens, oranges and magentas with a few red vertical stripes. There is “Blue Breeze,” a light, filmy construction of layered blue materials with a splash of yellow, and “Taking Flight,” a free form work of oranges, yellows and browns that hangs from the ceiling. The lasting impression is the ethereal and luminous effect of throwaway materials that channel the spirit of assemblage art (Soka University, Orange County).

LG

 

 

 

Victoria Vesna, detail from "Morphonano."

 

The five installations by artist Victoria Vesna with nanoscientist James Gimzewski in these darkened galleries walk a fine line between art, science, and entertainment. Happily, despite the instruction notebook masquerading as a list of works, but which is filled with explanations and cryptic koans, the interactive pieces are surprisingly engaging and playful. Oscillating between micro and macro, "Blue Morph" (2007) broadcasts the amplified sounds of a Blue Morpho chrysalis during the time of its metamorphosis into a Blue Morph butterfly. The viewer sits on a small stage engraved with the pattern of a single scale of a butterfly wing wearing the strange crocheted hat that attaches the viewer to the rest of the crocheted spiderweb hanging from the ceiling. If you give it some time and are very still, your image begins to appear on the screen. The experience is more than the sum of its parts, and becomes strangely meditative (Beall Center for Art+Technology, Orange County).

JRL

 

 

 

Mel Bochner, "Kvetch, Kvetch, Kvetch," 2012, monoprint with collage, engraving and embossment on hand-dyed Twinrocker handmade paper, 42 x 62 1/2".

 

“Roget’s Thesaurus,” for some, is just a book of word lists. For others, it is a writer’s tool. For those who, like Mel Bochner, find the structure of language — connections between words, and words in and out of context — intriguing, the Thesaurus provides endless fascination and insight. The appeal of Bochner’s monoprints comprised of word clusters is also multi-level. His unique method engages the process-oriented imagination: using laser-cut Plexiglas and a 14-ton Anderson Vreeland hydraulic press, he applies oil-based paint onto thick, handmade Twin Rocker paper. Then there is the purely visual level: the systematically arranged lines of sans-serif text, the color variations that make some letters or words pop out and allow others to fade into the background, the paper’s rich texture, and the lush paint, applied so thickly, that like frosting on cupcakes, peaks and valleys fill its surface. And, for Thesaurus devotees, there are the words themselves. In the “Head Honcho” series the first text line reads “Head Honcho,” the last, “By the Balls.” In between, one phrase leads to another, visually and conceptually, eliciting questions about the words’ cultural connections and the hidden subtexts of the vocabulary we take for granted as we use it everyday (Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla).

Judith Christensen

 

 

 

Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, "Mirror," 2011, cast aluminum and mirror steel, 15 3/4 x 11 x 11".

 

The two human figures in “Encounter,” although life-size, are set on tall bases and tower above the viewer. A short distance, three or four feet, separates them as they lean toward one another. But they are stiff, arms straight and rigid against their sides, so there is no expectation these figures will physically touch. Their emotional distance is quite evident. Each of the figures in Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir’s exhibit, also titled “Encounter,” has a similar physique. The details and characteristics are simplified, so the faces are expressionless; the eyes appear closed, enclosing the figure within its own space. The bodies are nude, yet have no sexual organs to specify gender. Even though their faces do not express any emotion, the figures’ postures — a turn of the head, a twist in the body, whether the figures are side-by-side, face-to-face, or even standing on top of one another — convey that there is inner feeling (Scott White Contemporary Art, La Jolla).

JC

 

 

 

Carolyn Castaño, "Pasion de Gavilanes (Liliana Andrea)," 2011, acrylic, glitter and rhinestones on canvas, 30 x 30".

 

Viviana Paredes’ “Casa de Nepantla” series of three house-like sculptures capture the essence of the tension and conflicts expressed in the work of the eleven artists included in “Domestic Disobedience: Redefining the Feminine Space.” These translucent structures of two side walls and a roof are stuffed — one with cinnamon, one with copal, and one with rocks and antlers — as if they can barely contain their contents. Rather than provide a safe haven or sense of containment, these houses impart a sense of anxiety, disjuncture and uncertain boundaries. The term “Nepantla” (Nahuatl or Aztec for “in between”) has come to mean a redefined cultural and political space. It is this space that these Latina artists, spanning several generations, are exploring: the struggle between family/domesticity and profession, between traditional femininity and a redefined, modern notion of the female, and between immersion in the mainstream and maintaining a unique cultural identity (San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery, San Diego).

JC