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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Joe Sola at Tif Sigrids (Hollywood through Aug. 20).
It takes 419 chairs to fill Tif Sigrids’ gallery.  Walking into this exhibition through the chair-forest in order to
view three small paintings – it is all a flashback and homage to Kurt Schwitters and the Danish artist Albert
Mertz (1920-1990).  Sola’s intent is lost on me.  But in earthquake prone SoCal, walking into the exhibition
operated like a freeze-frame of potential.
Ori Gersht intact
Ori Gersht at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through Sept. 2).
Gersht is a London-based photographic artist.  Most fascinating here is a three channel video.  Gersht
fashioned (out of silk) the vases of flowers pictured in Jan Brueghel’s paintings from 1606 (now in Vienna’s
Kunsthistorisches Museum (a note to self as I will be there in October)).  He placed these replicas in front
of tempered mirrored glass which was then mechanically exploded.  High speed video captures the
dissolution of image into thousands of reflective shards.  Mesmerizing.  
Ori Gersht exploded
Luciana Lamothe at Steve Turner (Hollywood through Aug. 27).
Lamothe is Buenos Aires-based.  Her sculptures inventively use construction scaffolding materials to
produce tension-filled stabiles.  This exhibition may be her first time seen in the US.  I am sure that will
change as rapidly for her as it has for Abraham Cruzvillegas (Mexico City).
Barbara Kasten at Hanna Hoffman (Hollywood through Sept. 2).
Having been disappointed with the Barbara Kasten exhibition at MOCA Pacific Design (noted in my last
Best Picks), the Kasten works seen in this exhibition reignites my infatuation with her work.  I most like the
“Constructs” (as above) which were last seen at the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach in
1982.  That exhibition was developed by Constance Glenn the first director of the CSLB Art Museum
(which became an accredited museum in 1984).  She, Glenn, was married to the Orange County art dealer
– Jack Glenn. Together, their 1970s gallery offerings initiated a whole new realm of art in the LA Basin.  
Those were the years of my art-scene initiation.
Daniel Richter at Regen Projects (Hollywood through Aug. 20).
Richter is one of the ranking “new Germans”.  In reading the written materials accompanying this exhibition
– nobody writes about the work’s overt sexuality.  That “sex” is male dominated and violent.  Richter sells,
and sex sells. Why does this virtuoso painter demonstrate this facet of his curiosity?  The paintings do not
have the same critical, emotional tenor of Goya’s “Disasters of War”.  Yet they are as violent in spirit as
Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son”.
Jon Swihart at Catholic Cathedral (Downtown closing).
For a long time I have wanted to go to LA’s Catholic Cathedral to see John Nava’s jacquard tapestries.  
The two person, temporary exhibition with Jon Swihart and Marina Moevs (curated by Ruth Weisberg)
finally caused me enter the stark, angular, severity of the cathedral.  All three artists, Nava, Moevs, and
Swihart, are accomplished at melding form and content.  In particular I marvel at Jon Swihart’s portraits.  
Swihart’s statement found in this exhibition says it all:  “…it still puzzles me that, what is essentially colored
earth smeared on wood, can be permanently imbued with the ephemeral quality of someone’s presence.  
A great portrait, even of someone unknown to the viewer, needs no explanation to be understood and
appreciated, because it is a communication that transcends words.”
The 2003 Swihart portrait above is of the artist, John Frame.  It is surrounded by a frame made by John
Frame.
Camille Rose Garcia at Corey Helford (DTLA River through August 19).
Corey Helford started his eponymous gallery (CHG) on Washington Blvd. in Culver City.  He has moved to
a grand, expansive space (entrance around the corner from Anderson) on the Venus side of the LA
River.  Camille Rose Garcia (CRG) has a very strong pedigree and representation history (Michael Kohn
and Merry Karnowsky).  Not being a fan of most low-brow, goth, neo-surreal, creepy art (Helford’s usual
stock in trade), the joining of CRG with CHG reflects further refinement and seriousness for the gallery’s
programming.
Piston Head at Venus (DTLA River through Sept. 10).
If art-gallery-summer means groups shows where the joy of exhibiting art supersedes the exigencies of
selling, this exhibition is evidence.  Twelve artists reinterpret the car as a sculptural form.  I am not enough
of a “piston head” to rave about this exhibition.  But there are those who do…
The truck pictured above is the work of Peter Shire.  
Ain Cocke
Summer Reverie at CB1 (DTLA River through August 28).
Clyde’s summer group show is an example of what I like about summer shows – a chance to see what
tickles the gallerist’s mind and a chance to see even more work by more artists.  Ain Cocke and Phung X
Huynh are almost new to me.  To this point I have seen their work tangentially.  I look forward to seeing
them in focus.
Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia continues to impress with work that reinterprets itself and explores/recombines
technologies.  His aesthetic demonstrates a bold, masculine surety with feminine qualities.
Phung X Huynh
Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia
Timothy Paul Myers at Walter Maciel (Culver City through Aug. 20).
Myers collaborated with his friend, Andrew Barnes, to manufacture this entire room either covered in or
made of felt.  The felt absorbs ambient sound which magnifies the lifelessness of rendering an abandoned
living room/study.  With a tidal wave of flowers bursting through the fireplace this impressive installation
serves like a cross between Magritte and Joseph Beuys.  It has the power of a memorial.
Craig Kaufman at Samuel Freeman (Culver City through Aug. 27).
Kaufman’s 1990 paintings in Freeman’s group show are masterworks.
Raffi Kalenderian at Suzanne Vielmetter (Culver City through Aug. 27).
Actively using his palette knife to add and subtract pigmented layers allows Kalenderian to make his
paintings almost cinematic.  I think the artist’s best work is yet to come.  With the skills evident here, I
shall keep an eye out.
Alexis Smith at Honor Fraser (Culver City through Aug. 27).
The unique piece pictured above does capture the wry sensibility of Alexis Smith.  But it is not part of her
installation in the adjoining gallery called “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.  Having seen a lot of Smith’s work
over the decades, this installation finally turned me into a fan.  The installation’s floating, wavy text has the
same intellectual dynamism as her “Snake Path” at UCSD (The Stuart Collection).
Joseph Stashkevetch at Von Lintel (Culver City through Aug. 31).
The work in this exhibition is mind-blowing.  The artist executes drawings on rag paper.  He then tears and
folds and collages parts and pieces of his drawings to manufacture a whole new pictorial plane – except
they aren’t planar.  The surfaces billow into space causing the drawing surface to become sculptural.  
While every picture tells a story – the picture above does not tell the story.  Some things work best in 3-D.
David Hockney at LA Louver (Venice through Sept. 2).
Irrepressibly creative Hockney uses an iPad to create the prints seen in this exhibition.  He has
obviously mastered this tecnnology – achieving remarkable drawing detail on the small tablet that
is then translated into the exhibition’s large digital prints.  His drawing skills and gestures are all
the more in evidence given the reductive technology of his digital tool.
Heather Gwen Martin at LA Louver (Venice through Sept. 2).
Trained in San Diego, represented in her “youth” by Luis de Jesus, and now in the venerable stable of
Peter Gould’s LA Louver -- Martin’s colorific blend of organic abstraction will go far.
John Newsom at Patrick Painter (Bergamot through August 15).
There are only two of Newsom’s paintings in the gallery’s current two person (the other artist being
Rinus Van de Velde) exhibition.  I would not normally post a “Best Pick” just because of one painting.  
But this Newsome painting is a stunner.
Caroline Larsen
Paint is a Thing at Craig Krull (Bergamot through August 20).
Curated by the gallery’s own Beth Parker, this seven artist exhibition is called “Paint is a Thing”.  Yup, the
title is apt.  The artists in this exhibition all revel in paintings being about paint.  Caroline Larsen’s work is
like a patchwork quilt of woven pigment.  Mark Posey’s work is constructed by pouring materials.  His work
reminds me of Joe Fay - who has come out of the Montana wilderness to again be seen (now represented
by Craig Krull).  I will probably always love heavily impastoed work.  Pigment rules.  The only thing that
would make this exhibition even more enjoyable would be the smell of fresh oil paint.
Mark Posey
Laurel Bustamante at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Sept. 3).
Ms. Bustamante’s paintings are only 10x8 inches; gouache and acrylic on panel.  She renders alien
lifeforms that float in their own cosmos.  The precision of her techniques and concentration of effort
remind me of Indian miniature, Pahari paintings.  These two sentences from the press release are very
apt: “Each painting develops organically without a predetermined plan. The contrast between vaporous
washes and tiny brushwork is extreme and requires a slow, contemplative process.”
Laura Lasworth at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Sept. 3).
Laura Lasworth shows great skill in handling her materials.  It is a joy to immerse oneself, scanning the
surfaces of her oil on wood panel paintings.  I am not drawn to her feminine, ecclesiastical imagery.  It is
her painting’s smooth, seemingly polished, saturated deep pigment that is most appealing.
Hung Viet Nguyen at Launch LA (La Brea through Aug. 27).
These paintings are heavily worked.  Layers of paint are applied and modeled.  Some layers are
removed.  More gets added.  The processes seem to take months until the summation of addition and
subtraction meet the artist’s sense of place.  Born in Vietnam in 1957, the artist has developed successful
bridges between Eastern and Western motifs.  It is that set of understandings that has always impressed
me about contemporary Vietnamese artists.
Julie Blackmon at Fahey/Klein (La Brea through Sept. 3).
When I first saw Julie Blackmon’s photographs at photoeye in Santa Fe in 2008, I was sure she was to be
a star.  Her images of domesticity are as rigorously constructed as the “stories” told in the images of
Gregory Crewdson.  She appears to have been very actively working.  There are times when too many
images seem to blunt visual experience (the forest from the trees analogy).  
Olga Seem at Couturier (La Brea through Aug. 13).
I have liked Seem’s work since first encountering it at Ed Lau’s Space Gallery almost 40 years ago.
Todd Carpenter at KP Projects (La Brea through Aug. 27).
Todd Carpenter’s show has been very well received and well sold.  Grisaille is an ancient technique and
has never looked better.  His scenes of the Los Angeles cityscape, usually considered under its golden
light, is entrancing in black and grey.
Ken Price at Matthew Marks (West Hollywood through Sept. 10).
There is no other artist who paints in the same graphic style as Ken Price (1935-2012).  In a 2005
Chinati lecture in Marfa, Texas Price said, “I can't prove my art's any good or that it means what I say it
means. And nothing I say can improve the way it looks."  These two sentences encapsulate why I love
painting and find most Conceptual Art (which is all about what is being “said”) to be largely vacuous.
Ed Ruscha at Gagosian (Beverly Hills through Sept. 9).
There are many times when I find Ruscha’s art to be vacuous.  This exhibition of 40 years worth of prints
and photographs demonstrates how big an influence Ruscha has had upon the art world.  His laconic
Conceptualism successfully speaks to the interplay between image and language.  Compared with
Lawrence Weiner, Ruscha is an artist.
Kenzi Shiokava
Made in LA at Hammer Museum (Westwood through August 26).
This is the third “Made in LA” in the last four years (biennial).  The first was great – a visual
extravaganza.  The last, second show, was a disaster.  I do not want to re-live why.  
This exhibition seems more scholarly.  The “history” of the artists – their trajectory – is developed and
documented.  The artists presented are worthy of inspection and the exhibition is balanced.  If the
exhibition suffers it would be because the curatorial “enlightenment” seems to lead and direct the
viewing experience.  I much prefer the curatorial approach taken by Robert Gober when he curated the
Charles Burchfield exhibition at the Hammer in late 2009.  The work is front and center and the
curatorial education is readily at hand – but more passive/serving to the artwork.
Lauren Davis Fisher
Lauren Davis Fisher is evolving her performance-installation in the front, main floor/entrance gallery.  
She has opened the museum’s western wall allowing a view west down Wilshire.  She has moved the
gallery’s doors from their inside position to becoming the doors out to Wilshire.  The performance
evolves as she moves and changes the plinths and what they are used as.  The Hammer has
represented LA well this time around.


Get out, look at art; have fun.
Doug Simay   August 2016
doug@simayspace.com