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Current Los Angeles Contemporary
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Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Karen Cope at Torrance Art Museum (Torrance through March 9).
Karen Cope captures the breadth of human appearance in her sculptural heads made of
clay.  Her technique is impressionistic which she makes looks effortless.  She is the Ray
Turner of the sculpture set.
HK Zamani
Paradox Maintenance Technicians at Torrance Art Museum (Torrance through March
9).
There are 26 artists in this group painting exhibition that positions itself as a
“comprehensive manual to contemporary painting”.  I enjoyed the show.  It is exhilarating
to see the breadth of “new” painting in LA.  In particular, HK Zamani continues to engage
abstract/figuration, now at larger size.  I love the intimations of Cy Twombley.  Helen
Garber’s work is heavily built up paint and is incised, almost sculpturally.  Takes me back
to work by Alfred Jensen.

Helen Garber
Grant Stevens at LA Louver (Venice through Feb. 23).
The videos by this Australian artist are what most impressed me in this multi-media
exhibition.  Word-sets churn as distant amorphous clouds that then progressively
swirl into increasingly readable text.  The whole experience in a darkened room is to
be visually washed over by catalogs of the “information age” - cyberspace
schematized.
Frederick Hammersley at LA Louver (Venice through Feb. 23).
Hammersley made computer drawings in 1969 using an IBM mainframe that received its input
from punch cards.  The resultant geometric, dot matrix printouts are the subject of this
exhibition.  These experiments presage his contribution as an important Southern California
Modernist painter of the ilk of Lorser Feitelson, Karl Benjamin, and Helen Lundeberg.
Jonathan Wateridge at L&M (Venice through March 2).
Wateridge is London-based and he trained at the Glasgow School of Art.  His technical
virtuosity is amply displayed in these large figurative paintings.  His imagery is gauzy
and cloaked in enigma.  The viewer’s perspective is voyeuristic.
Astrid Preston
Astrid Preston at Craig Krull (Bergamot through March 9).
This exhibition is titled “New Territory”.  That is a true statement.  Having been a huge fan of
Astrid’s work for nearly 40 years and having watched her constantly re-invent and re-energize
her non-stop creative output - this show demonstrates a huge shift.  These new paintings are
highly influenced by a Japanese sensibility.  More than that, her painting technique with loaded
brush leaves impasto traces.  Refined technique now evinces the overt emotion evident in the
frozen gesture of her brush strokes.  The new work demonstrates the artist’s new balance of
realism and abstraction, Occidental and Oriental.  

Astrid Preston
Lavi Daniel at Rosamund Felsen (Bergamot through March 9).
Daniel’s recent works are exuberant abstractions.  They recall the Synchromists (Stanton
MacDonald-Wright and Morgan Russell).  His atmospherics seem to carry emotional
relevance - “meaning“?  They are enveloping by virtue of their size.
Richard Shaw at Frank Lloyd (Bergamot through March 16).
One could define trompe l’oeil ceramic sculpture by referring to Richard Shaw.  Since the 60’s
he has fashioned sculptures entirely made of clay using novel techniques that he largely
elaborated.  
Lawrence Gipe
Lawrence Gipe at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Feb. 23).
Gipe plumbs archival images that have been used for propaganda.  The nostalgia portrayed in
his wistful romantic paintings accurately tugs at our hope for harmony and good fortune.  
While I have seen years of Gipe’s paintings, this is the first time that I have seen his drawings.
The two drawings seen here are even more ambivalent in their emotional tenor than the
paintings.  They are riveting.

Lawrence Gipe
Miriam Wosk at Santa Monica Museum of Art (Bergamot through April 20).
Miriam Wosk (1947-2010) began her art career as a commercial artist working for magazines
in New York (she designed the first cover of Ms. Magazine).  Later she became a fine artist.  
This exhibition honors her great creativity.  Her late collaged wall hangings are wonders to
experience.
Joyce Kozloff at CB1 (Downtown closing).
Kozloff’s art works are colorful and aesthetically alluring.  Her art-making seduces the viewer
to read the broad depth of socio-cultural-political narrative that her art contains.  The depth
of understanding for the lands she portrays is astounding.  History has never been more
visually palatable.
Jack Pierson at Regen Projects (Hollywood closing).
I have not been a Jack Pierson fan.  The press release for this show of his work was written by
him and is hilarious:
http://www.regenprojects.com/exhibitions/2013_1_jack-pierson/pressrelease/
It was reading his press release that caused me to leave the gallery feeling positive for the
experience.
Robert Gober at Matthew Marks (Hollywood through April 6).
The three new sculptures seen here seem too heavyhanded. I think Gober has out-
maneuvered himself.  The backsplash of his wall sink now grows up like tree limbs to embrace
wax “limbs” which are embedded with human hair.  The ceramic sculptures of Jeff Irwin are far
more poetic and surreal in using clay to fashion trees that embrace animal qualities.
Bill Viola at Michael Kohn (West Hollywood through Feb. 22).
The gallery exhibition is a group show called “Into the Mystic”.  It is a pleasure to see good
work by Bruce Connor and Vija Celmins.  What steals the show is a 12 minute video by Bill
Viola in which two women approach from behind an invisible screen of flowing water, penetrate
through it, react to their new position and then return back through the screen of water.  
There is a lot to read into this video parable.
Phillip Estlund at ACME (West Hollywood through March 16).
Estlund fashions crazy architecture that is losing its integrity.  His work is a cross between
Oldenburg and Gordon Matta-Clark while displaying a fascination with re-creation as in Michael
McMillen.
Blue McRight at Samuel Freeman (Culver City through Feb. 23).
Hands-down this is the best sculpture show currently in LA.  Using hoses,
sprinklers, water nozzles, string and other hardware, McRight fashions alternative
objects which take on new meaning, if not frankly seeming like new life forms.  
What A
llison Saar is to metaphysical reality, McRight is to metaphorical creation.
Davide Balula at Francois Ghebaly (Culver City through March 2).
Balula’s installation is three white panels suspended in front of the robin’s egg blue walls of
the gallery well.  They represent the artist’s “study” of the form and function of portions of
the wall at NYC’s Guggenheim Museum.  So much mumbo-jumbo.  But on a warm sunny
winter afternoon in Culver City - it was a refreshing walk-in experience.

Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay  2/20/2013
doug@simayspace.com