A day in L.A.


You don’t expect much, if anything. So it comes as a pleasant surprise to see artists working in a city that’s largely abandoned to its own devices, such as they are.


Connie Zehr has “a little heap” of colored sand photographed, digitally printed, and mounted on aluminum plate. The granular deconstruction of the digital read-out coincides with the grains, and it adds up to a picture. (Newspace)


Toby Huss paints monochrome caricatures with offensive names like Schmuckface, as a means of ordering his color studies. They’re really funny, and well-painted. He also does color photography, latterly in a manner which rather brings to mind the landscapes of Gerhard Richter. (National Mule)

Connie Zehr
As Is, Green Spill
digital print on aluminum
24 x 30"

Metal Maddness is Mike Peery’s studio and shop. He sells Funzos and bric-à-brac out front, but in the back you will find some academic constructions (a St. Francis, a Buddha), and some tall armatures representing abstract figures that are very good, anthropomorphic stylizations.


Fake Gallery is a humorous place, where you will find a monochrome painting with What Are You Looking At? inscribed on it (or, Don’t Even Think About It). The cream is a collection of canvases in a range of colors, each with its own name: Penis Envy (green), Blight (pale blue), Self Espresso (brown), etc. All the works are pseudonymous, and some are quite good.

The prize adventure is a group installation at London Street Projects called Being Ernest Shackleton. It takes a minute or two to see, and much longer to describe. The gallery is dark, and has a mock-up of a submarine’s periscope projecting a circular video image of the gallery’s roof onto a screen, rather like a camera obscura. You rotate the periscope and see, in the midst of Los Angeles, an icescape of Styrofoam floes and forms, and as you look a personage is up there manipulating pieces of Styrofoam packing material before the lens, to create the fantastically humorous impression of a gag from Endgame, or a line of Char. Outside, masts and sprits can be seen jutting past the roof’s confines, and the manipulator under a white umbrella, wearing a strange mask and a white suit of feathers or some material, barely distinguishable, like the vision at the end of Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. At night, the Styrofoam is crumbled before the lens to give an effect of snow falling, quite realistic, and the amusing thing is to see a hand doing this.


Double Vision on Wilshire has Gary Szymanski’s grid paintings, severely rectangular intersections of two or three colors, absolutely uninflected, that produce flickering dimensions of form as you look at them.


POST has a pile of stuff in two small rooms: Liam Jones’ Constructions, Roland Reiss’s Newtopia paintings, and some few other things.

Gary Szymanski
acrylic on canvas
30 x 30"




Another day in L.A.


André Kertesz
Chez Mondrian

The joyous moment of André Kertesz will justify any photographic theory. It rises to the occasion instantaneously, quick as lightning or mother wit. Capable of studied effects (Mondrian’s Pipe and Glasses), too. (Peter Fetterman)


Habib Kheradyar has a thing with mobile art, mobile-stabile art. It shouldn’t go anywhere but does as you walk by. Grand moirés and little variations modulate simple colors. Signs of life. (Miller Durazo)


Donald Judd has two suites of woodblock prints on Japanese paper, and three wood carvings. The prints (in black or red) are precisely measured relationships in the manner of Brancusi, say. Positive-negative, binary, ternary, interstitial, it couldn’t be more elemental. The carvings are squares of wood (plain, blue, or red) with regular horizontal indentations. On close inspection, the simplicity is lost to the eyes in a kind of dazzle. (Margo Leavin)


Agnes Martin in 1973 etches horizontal lines so precisely and regularly that when printed they have a monumental, towering effect (the print is 6 x 6 inches). Thirty years later, she loosely draws across a painted white canvas some graphite lines and blue strips at regular intervals. A clear sky. The sky blue. (Hunsaker/Schlesinger)




Day after day after day in L.A.


Sergiu Onaga’s immediate cultural force is the calm intellectualism that produced his series of sculptures based on the schematic design of automotive gaskets, to all appearances, two to six feet high and done in chrome. There’s also a color pinstripe optical painting (insufficiently lit at Kontainer Gallery), pink latex “tongue” sculptures, and a charmingly limned idea for something called Deep Blue Wife, a beautiful Japanese girl kept in the icebox for some reason.


Harry Callahan’s stubborn pursuit of form as something to be invented is in his black-and-white photographs at Peter Fetterman. Define the terms, project the images. Blurry color backgrounds from the Forties suggest an approach, and by the Fifties he had grasped it, long before the late color masterpieces.


Andy Moses has moved beyond astral naturalism (Dill the other way) to planetary surfaces or atmospheres in long horizontal washes of interference acrylic, painted with an eerie smoothness. A combination of effects (is that a gaseous band or a comber?) suggest an awareness of Thiebaud. (Patricia Faure)