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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Lita Albuquerque 1989
West Coast Avant-Garde at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through Sept. 4).
This show is pleasing. There is enough important history in California art-making to make an exhibition such
as this vital.  Twelve artists are represented with works from 1950 to the present.  Bruce Connor (1933-2008)
was a complex, multifaceted artist.  His assemblages from the late 50s would be followed by several other
totally unique series spanning a long and fruitful career.
Bruce Connor 1960
Pablo Rasgado at Steve Turner (Hollywood through August 22).
Rasgado is one of five artists in the gallery’s group show “Extraction”.  Rasgado lives and works in Mexico
City.  His abstract “painting” is composed of fragments of demolished walls - recycled from temporary
museum exhibitions.
Tony Smith 1969
10 Sculptures at Matthew Marks (Hollywood through August 29).
Ten sculptures – ten artists.  This Tony Smith is unique.  It is fabricated from welded bronze that has a
black patina.  The patina must have been recently restored since it is now flawless.  
Gary Hume has fashioned this “snowman” from bronze – giving it a luscious coating of enamel.  It is
humorous to see a snowman in the gallery’s parking lot on a hot SoCal day.
Gary Hume 2015  (enamel on bronze)
Sally Bruno at LAM (Hollywood through August 15).
I don’t think Sally Bruno is a great artist – but she paints like she loves it.  Her works are heavily impastoed
with thick palette knife strokes combining to become forms (realism being distilled from abstract gestures).  
I like the work best when it is most loose and fancifully improbable.
Joe Sola at Tif Sigfrids (Hollywood through August 8).
Using a painted, domesticated miniature horse within the gallery installation places the work somewhere
between William Wegman’s dogs and Rauschenburg’s painted goat.  I include this exhibition if only
because of its audacity.
Richard Ankrom
Richard Ankrom and William Powhida at Charlie James (Chinatown through August 8).
Walking into this exhibition, I cannot help but remember the artist Nancy Grossman.  Richard Ankrom’s
recycled curios with their zippered rubber masks are not so sinister as Grossmans fetishes.
Work on paper by William Powhida is in the basement gallery.  Powhida is really smart.  He understands
and makes intelligent comments about the art scene.  I get hung up on work that seems better presented
as literature than visual art.
William Powhida
Les Biller at Rosamund Felsen (Downtown Southwest through August 8).
The gallery press release aptly introduces Biller’s work, “Verbose in vigor and voluptuous in verve…”  I
see them springing from the same lineage as Hockney, Garabedian, and Matisse.  An accomplished
abstract painter, Biller melds the real and imagined into a joyous playground of color.
Joshua Dildine at Mark Moore (Culver City closing).
It is interesting to consider the effects of education when comparing Dildine (MFA 2010 from Claremont) with
Phillip Griswold (see below).  Dildine starts with a photograph and then emotionally responds to it in his
over-painting.  Griswold formally abstracts a scene.  Dildine abstracts a photograph with wild gestural
brushwork.
Einar & James de la Torre at Koplin del Rio (Culver City through August 29).
The de la Torre brothers continue to advance their craft.  The newest body of work combines lenticular
photo-collage with blown glass presented on a LED light box.  One does not need to understand the
implied narratives to experience joy with the complex way the tale is presented.
Kenneth Noland at Honor Fraser (Culver City through August 27).
Collaborating with New York’s Castelli Gallery, Honor Fraser brings a fine selection of Noland’s shaped,
colored canvasses.  These paintings (the one pictured was painted in 1977) look as fresh and clean as
the day they were created.
Pontus Willfors at Edward Cella (Culver City closing).
Depending on the viewer’s conceptual polarity, Willfors’ sculptures are either domestic furniture that is
reverting back to a state of nature – or nature organizing itself as domestic tools.
Josh Reames at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through August 8).
One of ten artists in Luis de Jesus’ summer exhibition, Josh Reames stands out because of his quirky,
seemingly collaged imagery that is at the same time a screenshot and a painting.
Emmanuel Galvez at Craig Krull (Bergamot through August 29).
I remember when Mr.Galvez was a student of Dan McCleary at HOLA.  His paintings are fresh and
luscious. There is physical dimension to paint application on the edges of his confections and sprinkled
along the base of the images.  These paintings might well record what Phillip Guston would have eaten for
breakfast.
Joe Fay at Craig Krull (Bergamot through August 29).
I bought my first Joe Fay artwork in the very early 80s.  His career was on a nice upward trajectory when
he seemed to disappear.  Now 20 years later he returns to the Southland continuing his technique of
drawn and feathered, thick acrylic painting.
Lawrence Gipe at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through August 29).
I doubt I have ever missed a Gipe exhibition.  This is his finest ever.  Where the preceding work seems
romantically nostalgic, this current series returns with a poignancy of the “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.  His
magnus opus (presented in this show as 10% of a planned drawing that will span 500 feet in length)
continues to re-introduce “modern technology, propaganda, and epic industrial landscapes” that display
“symbolism and tragic power.”  And while Gipe seems best known as a painter – his drawing demonstrates
true artistic gifts.
John Divola at Gallery Luisotti (Bergamot through August 8).
Summer is typically the time for group exhibitions as one can surmise from this selection of shows.  Group
shows are enjoyable when they reflect the interests and expertise of the gallerist.  Theresa Luisotti titles
her summer exhibition “When we were young.”  The set of works by John Divola were executed in 1970-71
as part of his application to UCLA’s MFA program.
Don Worth
Don Worth and Jerry Uelsmann at Peter Fetterman (Bergamot through October 17).
The gallery exhibits eight world class photographers in an exhibit called “American Masters: The Silver
Print”.  Every image in this show is masterful.  Don Worth (1924-2009) had a magnificent garden which he
studied with his camera.  In the dark room, Jerry Uelsmann (born 1934) has been creating collaged images
since the start of his career.  He does not use a computer.  Every image is generated uniquely – and he is
still at it.  I have been fascinated and have paid attention to Uelsmann since I first started looking at art
photography in the late 70s.  
Jerry Uelsmann
Ed Moses at William Turner (Bergamot through August 15).
Ed Moses is now 89 years old.  I met him at the gallery and gushed over this latest body of work.  It is
remarkable to observe his unreserved creativity. Late in life, it would seem that his synthetic mind has
never been more fertile.
Phillip Griswold at Ruth Bachofner (Bergamot through Sept. 5).
Griswold got his MFA (2010) at Claremont.  One can always recognize an artist who trained at an
institution that teaches classic techniques.  His paintings which flip between abstraction and realism remind
me of Dimitri Kosyrev.
Joan Brown at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (lower La Brea through August 29).
The gallery exhibits a group show.  It is Joan Brown’s five paintings that are the reason to attend this
exhibition.  Her painting style is unmistakable – portraying herself through the nature of time and
spirituality.
Masakatsu Sashie at MK Gallery (La Brea closing).
Sashi’s images of technologic orbs remind me of scenes from “Blade Runner”. The views created by this
Kanazawa, Japan artist are luminous, eerie, and not-of-this world.
Ruth Weisberg at Jack Rutberg (La Brea through August).
Ruth Weisberg has been an honored and recognized artist in the LA Basin for at least as long as I have
been paying attention (her first solo show was at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in 1969).  Cutting
against the norm, her work is figurative and tells stories of life, life’s evolutions, and the “politics of
person”.  She was a long time professor and dean at the USC Roski School of Art.  This is a major
retrospective of her work done in the usual educational style by Jack Rutberg.
Margaret Nielsen at Temporary Space LA (mid Wilshire through August 28).
This is a heroic installation executed by Peter Frank and the artist.  For those of us who like Margaret
Nielsen (and those who want to get up to speed on her oeuvre) this is the be-all exhibition (displaying work
spanning 1970 to 2015).  Nielsen’s work is about the real world and an inner psychic one.  Her paintings
are jewel-like with a Surrealistic angle.
Alfredo Ramos Martinez at Louis Stern (West Hollywood closing).
Martinez (1872-1946) trained in Paris – returning to Mexico City where he was an illustrious art educator
(Siqueiros and Tamayo were students).  Martinez is considered by many to be the father of modern
Mexican art.  That he has been lost to that historical conversation needs exhibitions such as this to
correct.  This piece is a fresco executed in 1937.
Larry Rivers at 101/Exhibit (West Hollywood through August 1).
Larry Rivers (1923-2002) was a “grandfather” of Pop Art. He significantly influenced Andy Warhol,
Rauschenburg, and Jasper Johns.  Despite his importance, he is little seen (particularly on this coast).  
101/Exhibit plans to change that perception.
Ben Jones at ACE Beverly Hills (Beverly Hills through September).
The color and intensity of this installation lead me to wonder “why”. Is this installation a collection of
components?  Would the work “live” without the fullness this venue offers?  Does melding video projection
with painting make a broader experience?  Such is the question – “Art or gimmick?”
Thomas Demand 1994
Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition and Mark Bradford at Hammer Museum
(Westwood through late September).
The Hammer has another knock-out couple shows.  The photography exhibition features 24 artists whose
work resolves contemporary views on composition.
Mark Bradford (based in LA) presents recent work that maps the “psychogeography” of the city.  These
are rich; tended to paintings.  In experiencing the work, it does not matter why they were created or the
forces that influenced the artist.  The work has power equal to the situations to which the artist derived his
response.
Mark Bradford
David Hockney at LA Louver (Venice through Sept. 19).
Showing most recent works, Hockney (age 77) is another artist for whom advancing time brings more
aesthetic vigor, unbridled curiosity, and fearless creativity.  His painted portraits have never seemed
more naïve.  It is a naiveté that portrays the essence of his subject while allowing the viewer to
experience the spiritual strength from wielding paint and brush.
In the last two years, Hockney has melded painting and digital photography to create new interior, studio
vistas that seamlessly present a view with multiple vanishing points.  “Each photography has a vanishing
point.”  Digitally combining them creates multiple vanishing points that allow for a “3-D effect without the
glasses”.  This meta-reality reminds me of Manny Farber’s paintings.
Dusk to Dusk at Otis Ben Maltz (Westside closing).
Thirty two artworks by twenty-eight artists are drawn from a single European collection.  Regardless of
the premise for the exhibition – this was a terrific show.  I will drive a lot of miles to see work by Rudd von
Empel (as above).


Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay July 2015

If you want to respond to this article please e-mail me directly at doug@simayspace.com.
Art for Sale from the Doug Simay Collection

Robert Bechtle is one of the titans of Photorealism.
This drawing is of his (then) wife Nancy sitting at a motel table in Santa Barbara.
Robert Bechtle
“Santa Barbara Motel”
1977
Charcoal on paper
image 13 x 16 inches
paper 19 x 24 ½ inches
framed

Price: $25,000

Exhibited:
Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego  1977
San Diego Museum of Art  1983
John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
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