simayspace
 
Home
Past Exhibitions
Contact
 
"Best
Picks"
Archives
Current Los Angeles Contemporary
Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Kathy Butterly at Shoshana Wayne (Bergamot through Dec. 22).
Artisanal ceramics typically honors either the cup, the bowl, or the teapot - thus the
radicalism of Peter Voulkos. Butterly’s small ceramic sculptures honor the highest skills of
ceramic art (form and glaze) but she evolves the cup into a form of homunculus.  Small
works displayed on three long tables in the middle of an otherwise empty white room it
takes some moments to see the “worlds” implied in work that can be held in one hand.
Woods Davy at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Nov. 24).
I have probably seen most of Woods Davy’s exhibitions since his first with William Sawyer in
San Francisco 30 years ago.  This is by far his most satisfying body of work.  The beach rocks
that compose the sculptures were collected at Cantamar in Mexico.  They are suspended like
lithic ikebana.  Individually each stone intimates its own spirit and history - that is geology.  
Now that Davy has stopped “framing” his sculpture in steel armature - the work becomes
infinitely more poetic.
Ed Moses at Patrick Painter (Bergamot through Dec. 5).
Ed Moses is 86 years old.  He is regularly seen in exhibition. As in this show - the work is all
current.  Moses demonstrates that experience and practice makes the creative process look
easy.  These crackle paintings are enigmatic.  It is nearly impossible to decipher what is
drawing and what is technical shrinking of pigment.
Richard Bruland at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Dec. 29).
The surface of Bruland’s paintings are as featured as the skin of an orange.  This comes from
building up untold numbers of color layers that get sanded and then rebuilt. These paintings
demonstrate that photography cannot accurately record visual experience.  The eye can see a
clear glaze that a photograph merely sees through.  The variegation in these works is
dimensional and colorful.
Carole Bayer Sager at William Turner (Bergamot through Dec. 1).
Bayer Sager is best known to me as the famous lyricist from “my generation”.  For the last
several years she has been concentrating on painting.  Her hyper-sized, extreme close-up
realist paintings dissolve into structural abstraction when viewed up close.  Her painterly
luminosity is as bright as exemplified by her whole career.
Rebecca Ripple at gallery km ( Santa Monica through Dec. 8).
Ripple constructs extroverted - at times audacious - sculptures out of re-purposed,
re-fashioned materials.  She favorably reminds me of Colleen Sterritt.
Martha Alf at Santa Monica College (Santa Monica through Dec. 1).
I know more about Martha Alf than I can possibly write.  This retrospective of her broad range
of works is a very good way to be reminded of her singular successes.  Of note: her abstract
paintings from 1992 look a whole lot like Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Nets” crossed with a Georgia
O’Keefe cloud sky.  And her 1994 paintings refer to the the toilet paper paintings (from the
early 70s) - but in a highly formalized, tonal geometry that might reference John McLaughlin.
Marco Brambilla at Christopher Grimes (Santa Monica through Dec. 22).
This is a not-to-be-missed video.  “Creation” is a 4 minute video projected in wall-sized 3-D
with fine audio.  Brambilla’s psychedelic, worm-hole, fly-through is too fantastical to miss.  I
watched it 3 times, seeing and learning more with each “trip”.
Norman Zammitt at Carter & Citizen (Culver City through Dec. 15).
Norman Zammitt (1931-2007) is capturing more attention now than when he was alive.  His
champion was the dealer Joni Gordon (1936-2012) who just died this September.  This small
exhibition of small paintings from the 1970s looks really great in the low ceiling confines of this
domestic gallery.  I quote from the gallery’s press release: “(Zammitt and Gordon), whose
visions were authentic and original; a way of looking, creating and being that defies the
cynicism and conceptual heavy-handedness often seen in art today.”  Beautiful little show.
Allison Saar at Otis (Westside closing).
Many of the works in this wonderful exhibition include formed glass - a nod to the time the
artist spent in residency at Pilchuk.  Allison has firmly established her unique identity within a
highly accomplished artistic family.  Her themes dealing with racial diaspora and spirituality are
mined by many but rarely as consistently successful as Allison.

Einar & Jamex de la Torre
Peter Zokosky and Einar & Jamex de la Torre at Koplin Del Rio (Culver City through Dec.
15).
This is the last of three group exhibitions that trace the history of the gallery for the last 30
years.  It is another quality exhibition that reflects the quality artists that the gallery has
always represented. The de la Torre brothers are fairly new to the gallery’s stable and their
newest work is quite refined and successful.  I cannot resist reproducing a current Zokosky
self portrait such is the infectious nature of his painting.

Peter Zokosky
Julie Heffernan at Mark Moore (Culver City through Dec. 22).
I have always liked, sorta liked, Heffernan’s paintings.  These allegorical landscapes are at
times very Hieronymus Bosch-like.  The big tale for this show is that the nine paintings sold
for about $70,000 each.  
Jean-Pierre Roy at Mark Moore (Culver City through Dec. 22).
The last time I saw this New York artist’s work was at the Torrance Art Museum in Dec. 2009.  
His hyper-realistic epic landscapes are frequently dystopic.  His skill in presenting his cinematic
imagination is what makes these paintings unforgettable.
Alexander Kroll at CB1 (Downtown through Jan. 6, 2013).
Kroll’s last exhibition at CB1 was a series of small paintings.  In this show the work is large.  
His is not structural abstraction.  He slathers on layers of paint allowing the additive gestures
to editorialize (at times repudiate) the earlier gestures that become obscured below.  These
are action paintings where the action is like a spring being released.  Pent up and considered
reaction to the process of painting is what seems going on here.
Laura Sharp Wilson at Sam Lee (Chinatown through Nov. 21).
Sharp Wilson’s paintings - which look more like fine, finished drawings - are compulsively
casual.  I agree with the press release describing them as being “Rube Goldberg” like.
Abraham Cruzvillegas at Regen Projects (Hollywood through Dec. 22).
Cruzvillegas lives and works in Mexico.  His large sculptures are made of bent, recycled rebar
with chain, meat (that becomes jerky-like) and cloth.  The works are like fantasy sailing
vessels.  It is tremendous to walk through a collection of sculpture that is this fresh and
unreferenced.

Mike Kelley at Perry Rubenstein (Hollywood through Dec. 15).
Walking into this installation called Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites (finally finished in
1999 after an 8 year development by the artist) - is gleeful.   Not being a big Mike Kelley
(1954-2012) fan, I am certainly won over by this aggregate sculpture.  This is a show not to
miss.  With Perry Rubenstein just around the corner from Regen Projects - it is easy to
experience terrific sculpture as a one-two punch.
Mercedes Helnwein at Merry Karnowsky (La Brea through Dec. 29).
The Helnwein family seems very Gothic.  Mercedes’ painting and drawing share many qualities
with her father, Gottfried.  The spiritual and narrative implications of her figurative painting
offers enigma, frequently with a sinister hook.  When she paints very thin works (as shown
here) I find her more engaging than Luc Tuymanns.
Charles Fine at ACE (mid Wilshire through January 2013).
Fine is a sculptor and he explores lots of different territory.  I find most of his work in this 30
year survey very engaging.  Like a naturalist, Fine closely examines the visual world, collecting
and archiving samples of its forms.  He then reacts to the forms he finds by creating new
forms using highly varied materials in characteristically unorthodox ways.  This is another LA
sculpture show not to be missed.
Nancy Grossman at Marc Selwyn (mid Wilshire through Dec. 1).
Having just referred to Nancy Grossman’s work in reviewing Virgil Ortiz seen in Santa Fe in
September, shazamm… a Nancy Grossman show at Selwyn.!  This is no small feat since much
of this show is stuff from “history” (3 of the 4 heads are from 1968).  There are a couple
different viewpoints that reviewers develop about her work.  For me, this exhibition is a cross
between a San Francisco leather bar and Abu Ghraib.  In toto - very unsettling and totally
unforgettable.
Jasper Johns at Matthew Marks (Hollywood through January 5).
The Johns exhibition is elegantly hung (as most anything is going to look great in this elegant
gallery space).  There are no new formulations just variations on execution - like cast bronze
“numbers series”.  Johns is 82 and obviously enjoys his well recognized themes and still finds
ways to explore ways of seeing and making.
Oded Ezer, Israeli 2008
Hammer
The Hammer scores again with two terrific exhibitions: “
Zarina Paper Like Skin” and
Graphic Design - Now in Production”.
India-born, American artist Zarina Hashmi works mainly with paper.  Her sculptures, drawings
and paintings are spiritual and paper is her perfect substrate when it seems most organic.  
Her manner of handling paper honors its cultural and national roots.  This show next goes to
the Guggenheim and closes here on Dec. 30.
I was amazed how engaged I became in the international design exhibition.  The exhibition is
broad and deep showing how raw data gets transformed into content that informs.  

Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay  11/20/2012
doug@simayspace.com