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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
John Bock at Regen Projects (Hollywood through Dec. 23).
Bock’s exhibition is a three-ring circus of delights.  The above image is the stage set he built and used in
the production of his “Three Sisters” film (done in an idiosyncratic German Expressionist-style).  In
addition, he has other props and drawings that offer an opportunity to observe the process of this artist-
film-maker.  
Simons & Burke at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through Dec. 19).
These large digital photographic collages are curious amalgamations of thousands of images sampled
from the collections of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  The work cannot be read for its appropriated
sources – they are lost in the phenomenal noise of the final constructed image.  It is apparent that real
content, documenting valuable objects has been obscured by the artificiality of process.
Alex Hubbard at Maccarone (LA River through Jan. 30, 2016).
Alex Hubbard’s work is constructed by casting and pouring urethane, resin, and fiberglass with industrial
colorants.  The resulting “windows” transmit and project light differently depending on the position of the
viewer.  
But what is really fascinating is Maccarone’s (a New York dealer) development of this 50,000 square foot
gallery near the LA River.  The next big art scene in LA will play out down near the River.  
James Hyde at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through Dec. 19).
Hyde’s paintings are acrylic dispersion on inkjet prints.  The acrylic is applied by brush without masking.  
James Hyde is a highly practiced and long functioning artist.  The maturity of his practice is evident in this
work.  To quote from the gallery’s quote of Hyde:
"These works undermine an unquestioned authority of photography as a prosthesis for seeing…"  “This
analogy that the camera is our eye, I want to put pressure on that, because it is not true. Our eyes are
emotional muscles.”
Martin Mull at Samuel Freeman (Culver City through Dec. 19).
Martin Mull deserves hugely more recognition as a painter than I perceive he gets.  Perhaps the audience
thinks a screen actor can’t be a serious painter.  Au contraire, Mull is a consummate artist.  Like the
painter Mark Tansey, Mull juxtaposes a mixed bag of images that synergistically imply a narrative.  He
does so with great artistic skills.  In this exhibition Mull presents drawings for the first time.  Oo-la-la.  I think
acting may be his second forte.
Devin Troy Strother at Richard Heller (Bergamot through Dec. 19).
Strother aims to construct totally immersive environments.  In this exhibition he has manufactured the wall
paper, the woven carpet, the black steel sculptures, and the neon.  There is meaning to this madness –
but for me the experience is one of pure joy and wonderment.
Kathy Butterly at Shoshana Wayne (Bergamot through Dec. 24).
Butterly is a hugely talented ceramist.  These works are exquisite.  Her mastery of colored glazes and their
precise application is as good as it gets.  Every unique piece brings the experience of worlds within
worlds.  I was informed that many of the works take up to forty unique firings.
Ron Rizk at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Dec. 5).
With a long painting career and many exhibitions, Ron Rizk’s work has been exemplary of trompe l’oeil
painting.  In this exhibition, the strongest works are quietly surreal.  Demonstrating all his talents with
representation, Rizk confidently presents a scene with its manifold different interpretations.  There are no
visual tricks in these newest works.  The conundrums exist in the viewer’s interpretation.
From Earth to Moon at Duncan Miller (Bergamot through Dec. 5).
I enjoyed this exhibition for the history it presents.  The exhibition reprises images of Apollo 11 from launch
to Aldrin’s and Armstrong’s moon walk in 1969.  I am reminded of staying awake almost all night to watch,
along with 600 million other earthlings, Neil Armstrong take his “one small step for man, one giant leap for
mankind”.
Dennis Doheny at William Karges (Bergamot through Dec. 19).
Without a doubt Dennis Doheny is one of Southern California’s leading plein-air Impressionists.  The
gallery is just “celebrating” their “Grand Opening” at Bergamot.  I became disoriented when gallery staff
said they were just now opening the gallery here (since I reviewed this gallery in this space last May)?!?.  It
is refreshing to view painting of this caliber in this context.
Carolle Benitah at Rose (Bergamot through Nov. 28).
Ms. Benitah is one of seven artists in this group show.  The exhibition’s theme is photographic collages.
Carolle Benitah cuts up vintage family portraits and then re-conects them with sewn red thread.  She
presents a visual representation of family ties.
Tomory Dodge at ACME (mid Wilshire closing).
Dodge is one of LA’s best painters.  Each successive exhibition demonstrates my claim.  These new works
are totally abstract.  The artist has always been an abstract painter – though the first works seemed to be
abstraction of landscape.  His confidence and obviously enjoyed “play” with paint and gesture are
infectious.  I like that his brushstrokes and palette knife blading leave a record of his responses to the task
at hand.
Dan Douke at Peter Mendenhall (mid Wilshire closing).
Dan Douke continues to exhibit his mastery of trompe l’oeil.  His works are fashioned from canvas
stretched over wooden stretchers that are then fastidiously painted to appear realistically other than they
are.
Laddie John Dill at ACE Wilshire (mid-Wilshire through Dec. 5).
Since as early as 1969 Laddie John Dill has constructed “Light Sentences”.  These are sequences of
colored glass tubes with various glow-discharge gases.  Dill belongs with his Light and Space compatriots
(Turrell, Pashgian, Dewain Valentine, Irwin).  These works need specific, appropriate placement – then
they amplify environmental experience.
Aaron Curry at David Kordansky (lower La Brea through Jan. 16).
Curry presents two major bodies of work in this exhibition – paintings and sculptures.  The paintings are
sculptural in form and explode with color.  I find them to have immediate impact but rapidly become solely
glitz.  
His black painted sculptures have far more lasting effect.  Painted matte black the forms echo Serra, Miro,
and Calder.  These works have strong personality and stimulate my brain to engage them.
James Turrell at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (lower La Brea through Jan. 16).
Turrell has the production of his “Elliptical Glass” works down.  With subtle and constant evolution of hue
and value, these wall works offer the patient observer a chance to metaphysically escape the gravitational
world.  Peering into an undefinable void, the viewer experiences Color-Field Abstraction at a primary level.
Lawren Harris at Hammer Museum (Westwood through Jan. 24).
This exhibition is not to be missed.  Lawren Harris (1885-1970) was a founding member of the Group of
Seven – Canadian artists who in the mid-twentieth century defined Canadian art and described in their
works the wonders of Canada’s natural geography.  Their vision of painting looked to universals and the
spiritually that Canada’s particular landscape offered.  They were the first major Canadian art movement.  
Lawren Harris was a titan of the group.  I had a comprehensive education about the Group of Seven at the
Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto (Toronto-born Frank Gehry’s first Canadian project and an extraordinary
museum).
Ralph Bacerra at Otis (Westside through Dec. 6).
Ralph Bacerra (1938-2008) was one of SoCal’s innovative ceramists – following the lead of Arneson,
Voulkos, Frey, Mason and Price.  He was a highly regarded and influential teacher first at Chouinard and
then Otis.  His post-baroque design ethos is mirrored by this, his statement: “I am committed more to the
idea of pure beauty.  When it is finished, the piece should be like an ornament, exquisitely beautiful.”
Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay 11/18/2015

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