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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks

August and the scene is populated with group shows.  Many galleries are closed; some because they are moving location.  Smartly, some dealers are taking some time to vacation before the “new season” launches the first of September.  This seems more like “art August” to me than any other year in recent memory.  For this “Best Picks” I write mostly about works I liked within group exhibitions since solo exhibitions are not the norm right now.

Brad Eberhard at Tom Solomon (Chinatown through August 21).
I regularly see Brad Eberhard’s paintings when visiting this gallery.  Every viewing demonstrates the artist’s evolution in concept and execution.  In Solomon’s current summer group show, this painting by Eberhard is difficult to forget.  He has sanded the painting’s surface thus removing any sense of the brush’s impasto.  Tight painting - mucho gusto.

Daniel Buren at ACE (mid Wilshire through Sept. 8).
ACE Wilshire is now re-hung.  There is lots to see but little to write about.  Over the years I have enjoyed experiencing Buren’s “stripes and fabric”.  As I recall almost all of these experiences were in France/Paris, the artist’s home turf.  This ACE installation is excellent “Buren”.  Save the airfare to Paris.

Harry Callahan at Marc Selwyn (mid Wilshire through August 18).
These silver gelatin prints of Callahan’s nature abstractions are beautiful.  It is easy to understand the natural source of the image - but it is easier to just let the poetic abstraction of the final picture dominate.  Some of the prints look like etchings.  I found myself thinking of Mark Tobey.  These photos juxtaposed with Tobey paintings would seem to fit.

Ruby Neri at David Kordansky (Culver City through August 18).
Ruby Neri captured my attention seeing her work at the Hammer’s current “Made in LA” show.  While the sculpture playfully reminds me of Picasso and Italo Scanga - it is the inescapable nod to Manuel Neri (her father) that I find most elevating.  Not only is her work singular while still being her father’s child, I think her work helps amplify my interest in that of her father.  This is an accomplished exhibition.

Iva Gueorguieva at Suzanne Vielmetter (Culver City through August 23).
Gueorguieva’s abstractions are layer upon layer of active gestures.  They are complex maps of the artist’s sense for collaged experience.

Tami Demaree at Rosamund Felsen (Bergamot through August 11).
Tami Demaree is the artist in the current 3 artist exhibition with whom I most connect.  She works in sculpture, painting and drawing.  The work is very playful and celebrates the exuberance of creativity applied to materials.  While Gauguin and Picasso are easily referenced in her work, it is her joy of artistic expression which most captures my fascination.

James Fee at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Sept. 1).
James Fee died prematurely at 56 years of age in 2006.  I feel that he is one of America’s great contemporary photographers.  This survey exhibition posts, on flanking wall labels, wonderful historical information and personal reflections shared by the artist’s dealer, Craig Krull.  Fee’s work is part nostalgia, part haute-contemporary, and singularly possesses “soul”.  As a regular and diligent follower of the artist’s work over the last two decades, this exhibition reminded me of the interconnectedness and powerful spirit that distinguishes his whole oeuvre.

Constance Mallinson
"The Nature of Things" at Ruth Bachofner (Bergamot through Sept. 1).
There are nine artists in this exhibition.  My favorites here are Kim Abeles, Brian Forrest, Constance Mallinson and Barrie Mottishaw.  This is an unusual exhibition for Bachofner since the gallery usually concentrates on abstraction.  This show is about nature/culture and the landscape.  I like Barrie Mottishaw’s work a great deal.  She has three paintings in the Bachofner show and the one pictured below is from the current show at Koplin Del Rio.

Barrie Mottishaw

"Sublime" at Koplin Del Rio (Culver City through Sept. 1).
This gallery has been faithfully presenting its vision for 30 years.  This show and the next two will be group shows featuring artists who were and are important to the gallery’s programming.
The Barrie Mottishaw painting above is fascinating for the apparent transparency imbued in oil on linen.  And, to see this monumental James Doolin painting from 1993 is a huge treat.  For figurative and realist work this gallery has been consistently a paragon of quality.

James Doolin

Carlo Marcucci
Carlo Marcucci and Kimberly Merrill at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Sept. 1). 

There is much to like in this summer group exhibition.  Carlo Marcucci’s paintings have reflective surfaces of white and yellow gold leaf that cause the appearance of the work to dramatically change as the angle of view changes.  In Kimberly Merrill’s fine painting the subject is a marionette constructed by Peter Zokosky.  I am ceaselessly amazed by the breadth of Peter’s imagination - in this case amplified by Ms. Merrill sensitive skill.

Kimberly Merrill

David Thompson at Schomberg Gallery (Bergamot closing).
David Thompson has been making serigraphs for 40 years.  Some of the large prints in this exhibition of landscapes took 200 stencils to produce.  The work is strong whether judged by its mechanics or by its pictorial qualities.

Charles Christopher Hill at Leslie Sacks (Bergamot through Sept. 22).
I first saw Hill’s sewn paper collages at Cirrus in 1979.  My memory of that particular style has become more approving (as in the 1978 work pictured above).  This exhibition presents a survey of 40 years of Hill’s work.  Hill is still very active and critically engaged.  He has not stayed within an particular style.  Like a rolling stone, his evolution shows constant reinvention and discovery.

Jennifer Lee at Frank Lloyd (Bergamot through August 11).
Jennifer Lee’s ceramics seem almost weightless - a quality not usually ascribed to stoneware.  These must be arduous vessels to hand build but the results seem casually elegant.  The colors are mixed in the clay so penetrate to all surfaces.  Her early training was at the Edinburgh College of Art.  Having just been to Edinburgh and having surveyed the art scene there, I do recognize that the Scots really distinguish themselves in ceramics.

Dan McCleary
Dan McCleary and Tom Knechtel at Angles (Culver city through Sept. 1). 
This large group exhibition touches my love of portraiture.  The Dan McCleary portrait is of the artist Eowyn Wilcox.  Much of the subject matter is artist viewing artist.  In all cases the work is reflective and offers human insights of humanity.

Tom Knechtel

Get out, look at art, have fun.

Doug Simay
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