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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Woods Davy at Craig Krull (Bergamot through May 17).
I have watched Woods Davy’s career for decades.  His style is unmistakable.  Seen in this exhibition, his
most recent sculptures nicely meld geologic stones with the “stone” created by corals.  I find this mix offers a
more intimate visual invitation.  These works show more animation and offer more inducement to think of
biomorphs.
Pierre Picot at Craig Krull (Bergamot through May 17).
I remember Pierre Picot from the early 80s when Dennis Komac was his champion.  Even though he has
been seen in LA exhibitions over the last decade - I haven’t seen his work.  What I have always liked about
Picot’s work is its self-assurity.  He practices the importance of “mark making” and the legitimacy of painting
as endeavor.
Tim Ebner at Rosamund Felsen (Bergamot through May 24).
Walking into Tim Ebner’s show after having just explored the apocalyptically focused show at the Torrance
Museum, was life and creativity affirming.  Ebner has carefully selected beautifully patterned fabrics that he
then sews into fish.  His sewing skills are formidable.  What I like is his unabashed joy with visual idiom.  I like
art that is happily beautiful and humanly engaging.
Joe Blaustein at FIG (Bergamot through May 17).
Joe Blaustein is 90 years old (MFA UCLA 1957).  His artist’s statement for this show is curmudgeonly.  What
is interesting to contemplate in this exhibition of head-shot/portraits (and what the artist is contemplating
according to his written statement) are the qualities by which an artwork is judged “finished”.  Blaustein
demonstrates that sometimes it doesn’t take much to think a painting finished.  Then there are those times
when it takes a lot of overworking to return a painting back to where it is finally finished.
Craig Kauffman at Frank Lloyd (Bergamot through May 17).
‘Tis another bang-up show of Los Angeles excellence.  The Kauffman (1932-2010) works in this exhibition
were produced between 2001 and 2009 - thus late work.  Wow.  He had his technique down.
Roberto Gil de Montes at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through May 10).
It has been quite a while since any of us in SoCal have seen Gil de Montes work (his last solo show was with
Jan Baum in 2000).  In this body of work the artist uses a bright palette, joyous characters, and Mexican
mythologies.  This is opposite the dark, brooding tenor of his work from a couple decades ago.  Having just
returned from Mexico City and Bajio, I can testify that the title of this show, Hecho in Mexico, is entirely
appropriate for this Latino painter.  The catalog for this exhibition is online at:
http://
issuu.com/loraschlesingergallery/docs/roberto_gildemontes_hechoenmexico
Ursula Schultz-Dornburg at Gallery Luisotti (Bergamot through ay 17).
The series of photographs in this show document Soviet-era Socialist architecture - bus stops in Armenia.
The images are dead-pan straight as in work by Bernd & Hilla Becher.
I paused to reflect on the current work of the architect Jurgen Mayer-Hermann in Georgia (former USSR):
http://www.theverge.com/design/2013/12/16/5215350/georgian-public-spending-on-infrastructure-makes-beautiful-buildings
Phillip Griswold at Ruth Bachofner (Bergamot through June 7).
Griswold starts with a scene (think architecture and people).  He then “vaporizes” parts of the scene into
swirls of color abstraction.  His is a more organic deconstruction as compared with the geometric
deconstruction seen in work by Dimitri Kosyrev.
Srijon Chowdhury at Klowden Mann (Culver City through June 7).
The large, color-field abstractions take their biomorphism from suggested fields of flowers. Chowdhury was
born in Bangkok, received his MFA from Otis in 2013 and is a Los Angeles-based painter.
Chris Engman at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through May10).
Well done trompe l’oeil never gets old.  Not only is the eye tricked by Engman’s constructs, but the entire
concept of reality gets shaken when the “truthiness” (Stephen Colbert 2005) of the photographic image is
false.
Liz Brizzi at thinkspace (Culver City through May 17).
Thinkspace characteristically shows neo-surrealism (Big Eyed Girl/vampirella) style work.  So I am going to
assume Liz Brizzi fits in with that crowd.  But her paintings are refreshing and unusually different from the
“crowd“.  Her atmospheric, urban landscapes are more new-impressionism.
Mai Xian Qui at Otis (LAX through July 27).
Otis has launched another large group show that offers a view of what is going on artistically in the region
bounded by the interstate highways 405/10/110/105 (a show called “Inside the Quad”).  I liked the first
iteration of this exhibition theme seen one year ago.  Of the 31 artists in this survey, only Mai Xian Qui
caused me to pause.
Alex Katz at 356 S. Mission (Downtown through July 7).
356 S. Mission is the studio space/project space for the painter Laura Owens.  Laura Owens is friends with
Alex Katz.  They must be very simpatico friends.  Katz sent out 9 of his recent, mammoth, floral paintings for
this exquisite exhibition.  Mounted side-by-side across facing warehouse walls with full wall windows that
bracket the ends of the huge room with a flood of warm natural light - this is landscape exhibition writ “BIG”.  
This is The show to see in LA right now.  Despite the fame and international importance of Alex Katz, he has
not been seen in LA since a 1990 exhibition with Michael Kohn (who just this weekend opens his new
gallery on N. Highland).
E’wao Kagoshima at The Box (Downtown through May 24).
Kagoshima is the only artist worth commenting about in the group show called “Painters of Modern Life”.  He
was born in 1945 in Japan.  His work looks back at, as well as from within, perceptions of Japan.  He reminds
me of the bicultural insight and intellect of Keikichi Honna.  This image is for you Keikichi.
Zachary Leener at Tif Sigfrids (Hollywood through May 24).
Leener’s ceramic sculptures are ridiculous and absurd.  I like ceramic sculpture that holds no allegiance to
the teapot.
Terry Winters at Matthew Marks (Hollywood through June 21).
Winters continues his organic abstraction.  These paintings are more exuberant and densely colorful than
my recollection of his work.  It is nice to “catch-up” via this solo show as it has been twenty years since
Winters has been substantively seen in SoCal.
John Tweddle at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (La Brea closing).
Tweddle is an iconoclast.  Practicing free association: thinking about Tweddle invokes Carlos Almaraz,
Alfred Jensen, Red Grooms, Hunter S. Thompson, Folk Art.  I enjoyed this show of paintings from the 1960s
& 70s given the artist’s unbridled exuberance and wild story-telling.  
Ken Price at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (La Brea closing).
Ken Price (1935-2012) is now a mythic god.  One can install a vitrine containing 6 of his vases in the
middle of a huge gallery room and it really is almost a religious experience.  I wonder if he had any
inclination for how uniquely important he is.
Thomas Ruff at Gagosian (Beverly Hills through May 31).
Ruff is an investment grade artist.  He can afford the development costs of his new “digitized” photograms.  
I share this image so we can all keep up to date with the creative efforts of one of the “stars“.
Maura Bendett at Edward Cella (mid Wilshire through July 5).
Whether I approach Maura Bendett’s work as painted sculpture or as sculptured paintings - does not
distract me from becoming fully engaged.  Her work is animated and luminous.  As the press release states,
her forms are “natural yet alien shapes”.
Camilo Restrepo at Steve Turner (mid Wilshire through May 31).
Camilo Restrepo lives and works in Medellin and his work reflects the gangster-land atmosphere of
drug-ravaged Colombia.  The paintings in this exhibition are cartoon-like.  He has taken individual sheets
from his notebooks and collaged them into larger amalgams that, while playful on the surface, relate to the
sinister and violent nature of narco-traficantes.  His work recalls Goya.
Roger Herman 1992
Roger Herman at ACME (mid Wilshire through May 31).
My preference is for Roger’s loaded-brush, gestural, figurative work.  But regardless of the medium
(painting, print-making, ceramics) his purpose always appears to be the action of applying color.  This
exhibition juxtaposes 3 large paintings from the early 1990s with contemporary smaller abstractions.  The
work clearly speaks for itself and demonstrates the artist’s consistency.
Roger Herman 2013
Paul Winstanley at 1301PE (mid Wilshire through June 28).
London-based Winstanley paints unoccupied semi-public spaces.  The viewer is left to conjecture on why.  
It is this dangling purpose that most elevates the abstract qualities of his work.  That 1301PE represents
both Winstanley and Uta Barth is consistent.
Richard Gleaves at This Is Not an Exit Gallery (Bread and Salt, Barrio Logan, San Diego through May
9).
It is not customary for me to write of San Diego exhibitions - unless they are really special.  Richard
Gleaves’ “Wind Tunnel” is really special.  This installation is classic Gleaves.  It is a grid, it is a composed
multiple, it is aesthetically engaging, it is scientifically informed, and it is uniquely Gleaves.
Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay  May 2014
doug@simayspace.com