“Living & Dying” at Second City Arts


 Long Beach

Heather Lowe
Live and Let Die (afterimage)
Attack and Decay Series
acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 inches

This is a show curated by MOCA’s Assistant Curator, Michael Darling, the one who recently had it that Liz Larner, a mild art instructor, had “completely revolutionized art in Los Angeles.”

The show opens with some daubs by Jorg S. Dubin: a woman and her sex toy (with commiserative note by the painter), a rotten avocado. There are a lot of charming bits of this and that, such as an “Urn” in the form of a ceramic handbag.

Everyone has seen the comical mock-woodblock prints of Japan invaded by McDonald’s. Moira Hahn, on the other hand, paints some large inquisitive watercolors full of more satirical insight into the Orient than has been seen for quite a while. All the cartoon subtlety of the Japan we know today is there, with a certain authenticity drawn from her devoted study of Oriental art and real skill with a brush.

Rhoda Holabird is a great manipulator of pastels. Two large abstracts here are considerable works in themselves, very swift and sure concretions of color, memorials of events in the artist’s life related to the theme. But being pastels, these “fixed vertigos” are fairly monumental, as vivid as they are.

Two acrylics from Heather Lowe’s Attack and Decay series employ afterimages. Green Egg & Ham is a large fried green egg with a yellow yolk. By staring fixedly at it for thirty seconds, and transferring your gaze to the blank space next to it, you will see “the rest of the picture.” Live and Let Die is an homage to the title sequence of the James Bond film: charmingly painted red poppies which, similarly, show another face, and also evoke a visual phenomenon recorded by Goethe in his Theory of Colors, an effect of afterimage.

He was walking through a garden just at twilight when he saw a tinge of contrasting color next to some flowers in his peripheral vision. It’s one of the many arcane and mysterious things he noted and analyzed, and makes a great picture.