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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Robert Therrien at Gagosian (Beverly Hills through Feb. 20).
Therrien is described as operating within Pop and Conceptualism.  His two sculptures presented in this
Gagosian show are certainly accomplished.  The folding table and chairs are immediately engaging - but the
experience fades rapidly.  As is true for so much Conceptual work, the thrill of the “one liner” is fully delivered
in the time it takes to “read” the one line.  The gigantic sculpture by Ron Mueck is no more nor less precisely
real than Therrien.  But Ron Mueck’s figurative work offers the viewer so much more room for discovery.
Pedro Barbeito at 101/Exhibit (West Hollywood through Feb. 8).
Barbeito’s exhibition is called “The God Particle”.  Works in this show present a visual explanation of the
Higgs boson and the CERN project.  My good friend, the photographer Satoru Yoshika, has photographed
the CERN Large Hadron Collider near Geneva.  So I am primed to view this alternative view of high energy
physics with the pre-sensitization of Satoru’s images.  I get it.  Who is to say Barbeito’s visual presentation of
the boson isn’t as “correct” as what comes from atom smashing in Switzerland.  Barbeito is Spanish.
Anne Lapin at Honor Fraser (Culver City through Feb.22).
On the day I viewed this exhibition, my art rounds were delivering little in the way of interest or excitement.  
It was one of those days when gallery after gallery offered little remarkable.  I was hungry to see something
interesting and an easy mark?
Lapin’s paintings are about landscape.  Hers are layered realities that seem the painterly equivalent of
Mimmo Rotella.  
Kelly Berg
Kelly Berg
& Pepa Prieto at Walter Maciel (Culver City through Feb. 15).
Walter Maciel presents a group show with the theme of landscape.  Called “Illusions of a Perfect Utopia” this
refreshing exhibtion presented in art-world prime-time (normally group shows are presented in the late
summer), delivers potent experience.  New artists to me and favorites in this show are Pepa Prieto and Kelly
Berg.  Berg’s paintings are heavily figured in acrylic.  The painting pictured takes as its subject a recent LA
County fire.
  Pepa Prieto
Elias Hansen at Anat Ebgi (Culver City through Feb. 22).
Taken individually, Elias Hansen’s sculptural tableaux are quite engaging.  In the large gallery room the
attempt to create a “Hansen” environment by filling the exhibtion area with juxtaposed individual works -
doesn’t work.  His individual sculptures are very Morandi-like.  They present his hand-blown glass vessels
with reverence.  
Matthew Penkala at Western Project (Culver City through Feb. 8).
Penkala’s paintings are flawlessly and deftly done.  He presents pictures within pictures to offer the viewer a
very full visual experience.  My digital image doesn’t come close to demonstrating the depth in these
(primarily) air-brush paintings.  Penkala (Cranbrook 2002) evokes Ed Paschke and Jack Goldstein.
Patrick Wilson at Suzanne Vielmetter (Culver City through Feb. 22).
The camera fails to capture the precise nuance of Patrick Wilson’s juxtaposed lines and layered planes.  
The presentation of visual space using very high craft is frankly, exciting.  This current Vielmetter show
(Wilson and Reafsnyder) is one of her best ever.
Michael Reafsnyder at Suzanne Vielmetter (Culver City through Feb. 22).
I like Reafsnyder’s big mess-o-painting.  As one who loves color - slather it on.  This body of work is well
paired with that of Patrick Wilson.  Against Wilson’s geometry, Reafsnyder’s expressionism is yin to yang.
F. Scott Hess at Koplin Del Rio (Culver City through Feb. 25).
No doubt, Hess is one of the master painters in LA County.  He is prolific and his paintings tell stories and
offer morality plays.  This exhibition, as in all others, demonstrates his genius.  There will be three venues in
2014 to see Hess exhibitions (Cal State Fullerton and Barnsdall are presenting a retrospective opening in
February, and the Long Beach Museum has a unique show opening in July).
Thomas Woodruff at Mark Moore (Culver City through Feb.15).
New York painter, Thomas Woodruff paints scenes of imaginary mysticism.  The gallery press release
speaks of the artist’s “mythical composition … characterized by equal parts scientific precision and playful
storytelling.”  Yup, that is exactly what this work is about.
Andrew Moore at Couturier (La Brea through Feb. 15).
This series of Cuban images was produced at the turn into the 21st century.  Andrew Moore has a great
eye, a masterful skill in making images, and a warm regard for his subject.  Artful images of Cuba are so
alluring that they are frequently seen.  That Moore can elevate “the artful image” to fresh heights is a tribute
to his artistry.
Hassan Hajjaj at Gusford (Hollywood through Feb. 22).
It was Gusford’s color ad in Art Forum that introduced me to the gallery (doing business for the last year just
east of La Brea on Melrose).  Hassan Hajjaj (Moroccan) fabricates clothing from recycled materials.  He then
gets his friends to dress up in these costumes to act out rock star fantasies which he photographs, prints,
and then presents in frames trimmed out in food packages.  Fun, fun, fun.  The work follows the same
conceptual path as Kehinde Wiley.
Guy Yanai at Aran Cravey (Hollywood through Feb. 15).
Just a block further east from Gusford on Melrose is Aran Cravey Gallery. The new gallery premiers with this
exhibition of Tel Aviv painter, Guy Yanai’s work.  Straddling realism and abstraction, these paintings are a
refreshing view and a chance to wonder about the state of contemporary art in Israel.
John Humble at Craig Krull (Bergamot thorugh Feb.22).
John Humble’s photography is “color” defined.  I love the saturation of his images.  His images seem more
real than reality.  Seems that should be simple enough to do in photography.  It just ain’t so.  Not simple at
all.  That Craig Krull represents both Humble and Jeff Brouws is remarkable.
D.J. Hall at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Feb.22).
Having been a fan of D.J. Hall for some decades, this exhibition offers an intimate understanding of what
Hall responds to in the landscape.  There are three triptych paintings in this exhibition - but the bulk of the
show is small, notebook style drawings/paintings on which the artist writes of her impressions and what she
responds to.  Hall frequently spends time in Palm Desert.  The places she writes about I know very well as I
grew up in these neighborhoods.  This exhibition is an experience of my visual roots.
Jean Lowe at Rosamund Felsen (Bergamot through Feb. 8).
This a break-out show for Jean.  In this exhibition she presents her work using contemporary digital
technology (a set of new technologies learned).  The subject of her exhibition is a review and
recontextualization of her own work.  If her last show with Rosamund was her most painterly to date, this
exhibition is her most conceptual.
The constant is Jean’s sardonic wit and snappy intelligence.
Paco Pomet at Richard Heller (Bergamot through Feb. 15).
Pomet lives and works in Granada, Spain.  His are well-wrought paintings that deliver their surrealism in a
manner echoing Mark Tansey (who I have never to this point seen stylistically referenced).
Kota Ezawa at Christopher Grimes (Santa Monica through March 8).
Ezawa is San Francisco based.  He pares down his subject matter so that it can be presented on the most
flat visual plane you can imagine.  This reductive schema creates a strong symbolic statement.
Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia at CB1 (Downtown through Jan. 26).
Mr. Segovia has woven another fine exhibition - literally.  His painted, cut, and woven “tapestries” of paper
are as beautiful as ever.  They curl and hang in space like vital flesh, alive.  I particularly like this sculpture -
a fetish of preserved tree, paint, and woven fabric.
Ramiro Gomez at Charlie James (Chinatown through March 8).
Using appropriated imagery from David Hockney, Ramiro Gomez comments on the interface of class and
privilege with the domestic help that keeps “paradise” clean and tended to.  With any luck this painting will
find its way into a San Diego public collection.
    LACMA
   Things to see at LACMA:    
During the short time she lived in Los Angeles (1967-69 & 1980-81), Agnes Varda made films and
photographs that captured the unique nature of the time.  Reviewing her work is a way to revisit those
“revolutionary” times.
Robert Irwin’s Palm Garden lining the expanse between BCAM and the Resnick Pavilion.
Kandinsky in the Lazarof Collection
The
Janice & Henri Lazarof Collection in the Ahmanson Building - WOW, WOW-WOW.  In  2007, 130
Modern works from the Lazarof’s phenomenal collection were given to LACMA.  This is an over-the-top
superb addition and helps cement the encyclopedic excellence of the museum.
David Hockney’s “Seven Yorkshire Landscape Videos” in the Resnick Pavilion.  This exhibition just
closed.  Hockney mounted 18 video cameras to the sides of his car and then drove slowly down Yorkshire
roads to offer a multiperspective view of the landscape.  The 18 videos were played on a grid of 18 flat
monitors.  This is the video equivalent of his Polaroid collages.  A wonderful experience is offered as the
viewer is able to focus where they will in an ever-changing environment.

Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay    J
anuary 2014
doug@simayspace.com