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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Neil Shigley at Bread and Salt (San Diego through Oct. 31).
Neil Shigley’s super-sized, unique prints broadcast their humanity loud and clear.  The unique nature of
his printing technique is given full life by the greater-than-life vitality of Neil’s powerful drawing.  To present
this suite of portraits of San Diego’s homeless at Barrio Logan’s Bread & Salt seems a natural union of
urban renewal given urban realities.  This exhibition presents integrity at every level.
Giorgio Morandi
Giorgio Morandi + Robert Ryman at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through Oct. 31).
This is an ambitious exhibition.  The thesis is that the figurative painter Morandi (1890-1964) shares
similar attitudes for light and shadow with the American artist Robert Ryman (b. 1930).  The exhibition
juxtaposes the two artist’s works with little promulgation of this thesis.  It is a pleasure to see early works by
Ryman which seem fresh and vital.  While we New-Worlders get little chance to see Morandi on this
continent – I have seen oodles of mighty fine Morandis in Bologna, Italy (where the artist lived his whole
productive life).  The paintings in this exhibition possess his signature but not his commanding excellence.
Robert Ryman
Annette Bonnier at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through Oct. 31).
Given one room to display large scale photographs of Indian elephants, Annette Bonnier mounts a
poignant, visual essay that presents elephants in a positive, anthropomorphic manner.
Camilo Restrepo at Steve Turner (Hollywood through Oct. 8).
The painting-with-drawing, collaged paper artworks that Colombian artist Restrepo exhibits are full of
visual and conceptual wonder.  The paper substrate has been so physically “beaten” that, its fibers
broken, it softly takes on a sculptural feel. The interwoven narrative of figurative drawing and painting is so
dense that meaning becomes too difficult to follow.  No problem.  The wonder of it all makes for a unique,
memorable experience.
(Detail shown above)
Jose Alvarez at Gavlak (Hollywood through Oct. 24).
The installation of paintings by Alvarez becomes a psychedelic revel.  Equally fascinating is the tale of his
partnership (now marriage) with the magician, Randi (debunker of the paranormal).  It is the story of this
man’s life that makes fiction stranger than reality.
Vincent Szarek at Gavlak (Hollywood through Oct. 24).
Szarek learned lots of chops from fabricators of car culture.  His work is highly refined and continues the
lineage of McCracken, Kauffman, and the Finish Fetish School.  I compare his work-interest with that of
Eric Johnson.  Both artists are graduates of car culture.  Johnson works in more organic forms than the
highly geometric work of Szarek.
Miriam Wosk at LAM (Hollywood through Oct. 24).
This Wosk exhibition is everything one expects from Wosk.  She luxuriates with materials and manners
associated with feminine beauty (faux pearls, vintage papers, crystals, floral motifs, sewing patterns).  Her
work is substantive – filled with visual wonder – created with great artistic skill.  Wosk claims Antoni Gaudi
and Frida Kahlo as her influences and spiritual guides.  Working for over three decades in Los Angeles,
she is certainly their equal.
Rebecca Morris at 356 S. Mission (Downtown through Nov. 1).
The right paintings in this gallery’s cavernous space create magic.  Such is the nature of this exhibition.  
The geometric abstraction of Ms. Morris seems built on grids, fields, and maps.  This is a most satisfying
show.
In evidence for the significance of the new Los Angeles Arts District, 356 Mission now has 7 near
neighbors on the east side of the LA River.
Lisa Adams at CB1 (Downtown Southwest through Oct. 31).
Quoting from Lisa Adams’ exhibition catalog:  “I like the tropes of loneliness, destruction and decay, and
countering all that with a kind of renewal.” Lisa Adams’ work is always filled with yin-yang;
approach/avoidance.  Her painting has never seemed more confident or better realized.
Lavi Daniel at Rosamund Felsen (Downtown Southwest through Oct. 10).
The last time I recommended Lavi Daniel was July of 2011.  He was showing his abstract work along with
garden photographs by Grant Mudford.  The garden pictured there was Lavi Daniel’s.  In this exhibition,
Daniel’s paintings are abstracted floral images (I presume inspired by his garden).  I like these paintings
because I see the hand of the artist working its magic.  I can see brushstrokes over-lying each other,
controlled but not controlling.  These paintings are about this artist’s abstract experience of the natural.  
Their intuition is based on long and insightful observation.
Andrew Schoultz at Mark Moore (Culver City through Oct. 31).
In this exhibition, Andrew Schoultz displays his forte as a painter. His work has always demonstrated visual
mayhem.  This show demonstrates his competence with a painter’s materials.  While I admire technical
expertise, Schoultz’s work continues to engage me because it is so nuts.
James Hayward at Roberts & Tilton (Culver City through Oct. 31).
From the gallery’s press release – “..bringing together color, gesture and materiality removed from all
representational reference…”.  Hayward is always recognized by this, his iconic, work.  If one needed to
explain the difference between mark-making and a photographic representation of “surface”, Hayward
would be the proof.
Matthew Carter at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through Oct.17).
The strength of Carter’s work comes with his fascination with re-purposed, recycled aesthetic materials.  
Aptly he calls work such as that above “Exquisite Corpses”.  His work strikes me as “play” as opposed to
something more formal.
Ruth Pastine at Edward Cella (Culver City through Oct. 17).
Ruth Pastine has been getting significant exposure. Her working modality has not changed.  Her
compositional structure has.  She now defines color-field within geometric formalism.  I see Josef Albers
over her shoulder.
Dan Levenson at Suzanne Vielmetter (Culver City through Oct. 10).
If Ruth Pastine’s work is about the summation of exacting, fine brush work, informed by color theory, Dan
Levenson’s work is about history, crude processes, memory, Symbolism (much like Joseph Beuys and
Anselm Kiefer).
Urs Fischer at Gagosian (Beverly Hills through Oct.17).
It is impossible not to be “wow” impressed walking into this exhibition.  The huge photographs appear,
even close up, to have dimension.  But these works are constructed as complex prints.  Fischer is adept at
subverting perception; subversive representation.
Karl Benjamin 1953
Richard Wilson and Karl Benjamin at Louis Stern (West Hollywood closing).
Louis Stern closes another class-act show.  I have nothing to say about the two images I share here.  
Looking at fine work is the point.
Iva Gueorguieva
Iva Gueorguieva at ACME (mid Wilshire through Oct. 10).
Gueorgiueva constructs her de-constructed imagery by incessant layering of visual information.  The
resulting abstraction cannot be “read” for the sources sampled.  If there is a narrative going through her
head as she makes these artworks – it will forever be her secret.  Her work appears to develop as
organized progressions – but the result is totally abstract.
I am most drawn to her sculptures.  The epoxy-clay is a magnificent material when draped over the
artwork’s armatures.
Iva Gueorguieva
Ricky Swallow at Kordansky (lower La Brea through Oct. 31).
Using mundane building “blocks” like wooden frames and ropes, Ricky Swallow fashions simple connected
forms that he then casts in bronze and fastidiously patinas with oil paint.  The final forms maintain all the
fragility of the originating constructions but with the gravitational significance of cast bronze.  They are
simultaneously breezy and formal.  I last saw his work in the Hammer’s 2014 Made In LA exhibition.  Then,
as now, he was, is, a shining talent.
James Turrell at Kayne Griffen Corcoran (lower La Brea).
When you visit the gallery, see if you can work your way back to the conference room (at the front of the
building near Melrose).  The room is a Turrell art piece.  Nice.
Mark Whalen at KP Projects (La Brea through Oct. 3).
Considered an Australian, Mark Whalen’s work is slick, literally and figuratively.  He had his start as a large-
scale graffiti artist.  These paintings are small and very intimate.  These are meticulous ink, watercolor,
and acrylic paintings on paper that are then mounted on board and given a glass-like coating of resin.  
The narrative his figures present is frequently macabre.  It is balanced with mathematical, geometric
abstraction.  Adjectives applied to his work include: high tech, mystical science, future primitive.
Ann Page
Ann Page at Santa Monica College (Santa Monica through Oct. 10).
When I first started gallery attendance in LA in the late 70s, I enjoyed Ann Page’s work (then seen at Ed
Lau’s Space Gallery on Santa Monica
Blvd.).  This large exhibition is solely recent work.  Ann Page’s work is always biomorphic – seeming
elements of the natural world.  But she uses many different materials and operates at technologic
forefronts.  The sculpture above is built by 3-D jet-printing. She gave a lecture for this show called
“Blurring Boundaries”. Yup.
Ann Page
Russell Crotty at Shoshana Wayne (Bergamot through Oct. 31).
I have never been a fan of Crotty’s ink-pen surfing drawings.  With this exhibition I have whole new respect
for him.  Starting with crude drawings, he lays plastic packaging forms on top of the canvas and then
covers the whole painting with bio-resin finally sheathing it with billowy fiberglass.  This is otherworldly
stuff.  This is the 1950s meets Blade Runner.
Caroline Larsen at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Oct. 10).
Caroline Larsen applies and layers oil paint by squeezing it out of an applicator (seems like a cake
decorator).  If one has a sweet tooth, these paintings captivate like looking at a decorated, frosting heavy
cake.  They are artful because the color is lovingly applied and the point of the exercise is beauty.
Joy Taylor at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Oct. 10).
Joy Taylor’s work has many layers but she has been careful to meld them all into super-flat.  Joy is a very
fine painter.
Caroline Larsen’s paintings (above) have heavily figured surfaces.  Thank you Craig for regularly
presenting exhibits that yin and yang.
Raymond Saunders at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Oct. 10).
The contemporary paintings being shown in this exhibition demonstrate the consummate skill of 50 years
spent painting.  The work of a master artist is on display here.  The fine-line, white chalk drawings that
spread across black surfaces are visual poetry.  The Oriental motifs are as legitimate and confident as if
by any Japanese master.  Melding East and West motifs does indeed portent how the world can be a
better place when we all become one.  This is as good a painting exhibition as it is possible to see – don’t
miss the chance to stand before mastery.

Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay 9/19/2015

If you want to respond to this article please e-mail me directly at doug@simayspace.com.
Richard Wilson 1999