simayspace
 
Home
Past Exhibitions
Contact
 
"Best
Picks"
Archives
Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Roger Herman
High Low at Irvine Fine Arts Center (Irvine through Jan. 4).
This exhibition is quirky. There are some quite stupendous works by well recognized and regarded ceramics
artists.  Then there are works that seem poorly distinguished amongst themselves.  Still I applaud including
20 ceramics artists who have no problem demonstrating the expressive power of clay.  Amongst my
favorites are Roger Herman, Tetsuji Aono, and Phyllis Green.
Phyllis Green
Jim Shaw at Blum & Poe (Culver City through Dec. 21).
Drawing seems to be Jim Shaw’s regular practice.  From his drawings he executes sculptures and paintings
and videos.  He is very good regardless of what tools he uses.  Shaw’s work has no political purpose.  
Rather I would call his interest “organic psychedelica”.  When viewing this extensive exhibition I kept
thinking about Robert Longo and George Tooker.  
J. Bennett Fitts at Paul Kopeikin (Culver City through Dec. 21).
Maybe it is the large prints that so seduce me.  Fitts’ saturated, colored forms set against the pristine white
walls of industrial parks humanize these “topographics” in a way that Louis Baltz never has.  I like the
manner in which Fitts honors Baltz while evolving the idiom further.
Mitch Dobrowner at Paul Kopeikin (Culver City through Dec. 21).
Dobrowner’s large format photographs of extreme weather bear witness to the artist’s involvement with the
landscape.  How fortunate I am to see these panoramas of nature’s might whilst in the comfort of the gallery.
Daniel Brice at Western Project (Culver City through Dec. 21).
The surfaces of Brice’s paintings are richly tended to.  The layers of color pigment are laid down so as to
look like veneers.  I am reminded of a quote attributed to Matisse: “Painting doesn’t mean coloring shapes.  
It means shaping color.”
Patrick Jackson at Francois Ghebaly (Culver City through Dec. 21).  Ghebaly’s La Cienega space lends
itself to novel installations.  The gallery visitor enters on the ground floor.  There is a floor below the
ground floor and one above - making for a 3 story exhibition room.  Jackson has created a carpeted divider
to complete the “ground floor”.  Stairs penetrate this floor to get into the “sub-ground floor”.  Scattered
about are crude clay “artifacts” (like cups, bowls, cylinders) that appear to be archeologic relics.  It is a
curious response to science and culture - discovering the past (which is really the present).  It strikes me in
the same spirit as Ai Weiwei’s painted Ming vases.
Martin Mull at Samuel Freeman (Culver City through Dec. 14).
In this exhibition, Mull’s paintings are muted in tone.  Perhaps that is to further obscure the bizarre,
dreamlike narratives that yield little insight while seducing the viewer to look for understanding.
Joshua Dildine at Mark Moore (Culver City through Dec. 21).
Dildine collages photographs onto his painting surface and then sets about emotionally developing them by
overpainting with his wild, brushy abstraction.  His work has been seen in group shows at Western Project
(Culver City) and White Box Contemporary (San Diego).
Andrew Piedilato at Patrick Painter (Bergamot through Dec. 21).
I was impressed with Piedilato’s work - “Best Picking” it at his last Patrick Painter show in October 2011.  
Now as then, the work’s monumentality is undeniably a big plus.  He paints figurative abstractions -
frequently reminding me of Philip Guston. Then I begin to size up Piedilato versus HK Zamani - seemingly a
realistic comparison given the subject matter.  At his scale Piedilato’s paintings scream.  Zamani’s work is
more intimate and reserved.
Phranc at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Jan. 11).
I am quoting the gallery’s press release:  (Phranc is) “ The All American Jewish Lesbian folksinger … a self
described “Cardboard Cobbler” who fashions cardboard, paper, gouache, and thread into life-size three
dimensional replications of everyday objects.”  Yup, that sums up the spirit behind her very spirited, warmly
human, joyful creativity.

Marc Bohne at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Jan. 11).
Several Bohne paintings are on view in a 6 artist group show of “snowscape paintings”.  This is the first time
I have seen his work in LA - though I have seen it on several occasions in Santa Fe.  Excellent painter.
Karen Carson at Rosamund Felsen (Bergamot through Jan. 4).
The two reasons most of us viewers can spot Karen Carson’s paintings from a ways off are: she is
aggressive with her imagery and her brush strokes are not shy.  I am not a fan of farm equipment.  But the
artist’s familiarity with these machines and her unabashed color applied with large brushes driven by whole-
arm strokes makes for “action” painting of the figurative sort.
John Divola at Gallery Luisotti (Bergamot through Jan. 18).
I have not left unexpressed my fondness for Divola’s work.  While I am very glad to witness the renewed
critical acclaim for his work - I am getting a bit tired of the Zuma Beach series being the focus of
consideration.  (Pomona College Museum of Art is one of three institutions currently cooperatively showing
a broad sellection of Divola’s work.  PCMA is showing the Zuma series while other more obscure bodies of
the artist’s oeuvre are being presented at LACMA and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art).  Gallery Luisotti
has three series of Divola’s lesser known series on exhibition.  Good show. He is the best.
Joel Shapiro at LA Louver (Venice through Jan. 11).
Shapiro exhibits various of his formal art motifs in this quite engaging show.  I am most attracted to the
painted wood free-standing constructions as pictured above.  The gallery is proud of the installation that
occupies the main gallery.  Shapiro has used suspended colored, wood, primary forms to subdivide the
entire volume of the room.  It is the fourth time Shapiro has done such an architectonic work.  I was
fortunate to see the second iteration of his suspended volumes in 2011 at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne.  
In the many times larger volume of space available in that presentation - I was impressed.
Abel Alejandre - woodblock print 50 x 98 inches
Size Really Does Matter at Barnsdall (Hollywood through Jan. 5).
There are 18 artists in this exhibition curated by Scott Canty.  As the title states the show is about really
large work.  Go see it.  There is a lot to recommend and visual interest aplenty.

Jeff Colson fiberglass, steel
Lari Pittman at Regen Projects (Hollywood through Dec. 21).
Pittman continues to infuse his painting with fresh new directions - allowing his work to evolve.  It is obvious
that he continues to like the act of painting.  The three largest paintings in this exhibition measure 9 x 30
feet.  Pittman’s content still begs for understanding while appearing correct and informative.  In final
experience, I respond to the artist’s intention - to revel in painting for painting sake.
Tony Smith at Matthew Marks (Hollywood through Dec. 21).
I grew up liking Tony Smith’s huge geometric sculptures.  This newly manufactured steel Tony Smith (1912-
1980) perfectly complements the gallery architecture.  It is Minimalist heaven.  LACMA has a huge Smith
installed in the atrium of the Ahmanson Building.  Consistent with my evolving thoughts about Minimalism,
today I am less a fan of Tony Smith.  To use a mathematical metaphor: Minimalism is like algebra in a
universe measured by calculus.
Tony Smith painting 1960
Petra Cortright at Steve Turner (mid Wilshire through Dec. 21).
Ms. Cortright tried and then forsook pursuing a formal art education.  She only uses her computer and tools
and content that are available on the internet to produce art.  Her “output” consists of webcam videos, flash
animations, and computer generated images printed on various physical materials.   She is a widely
recognized internet artist.
I respond to her creativity and its development - comparing her approach with those who spend $100,000
to gain an MFA at one of the world’s prestigious art schools.  At some point “art education” is more about
business than a worthwhile education.  The expensive MFA-mills are synonymous with art-fashion and art-
fashion is the “market” driver.  Too much froth and all that happens is “bubbles”.  
Petra Cortright computer image printed on aluminum
Tomory Dodge at ACME (mid Wilshire through Dec. 21).
For his current show Tomory Dodge offers 6 small (16x16 inch) paintings and one large.  Having become
enamored of Mr. Dodge’s career trajectory, at small scale I am under whelmed.   As compared to $65,000
for a 72 x 60 inch painting, a small one for $14,000 is a deal?
Joe Zucker 1974
Dan Weinberg
at Ambach & Rice (mid Wilshire through Jan. 11, 2014).
Dan Weinberg is retired from having a public gallery. His gallery always presented artists who were at the
leading edge.  Ambach & Rice now occupies the last public gallery space that Weinberg used.  For this
exhibition the gallery is showing a selection of works represented by Dan Weinberg over his 40 year career.
In 1979 I first met Dan Weinberg in his first gallery on California Street in San Francisco.  We talked about
everything from painters to his painful first divorce.  I remember he tried to sell me a nice Joe Zucker
painting of a windmill.  At $2,000 it was more than I could afford.  It was the same size as the 1974 painting
pictured above.  The painting above is offered at $130,000.  The Zucker windmill painting is one of my
“one that got away“ stories.
Doug Edge at Launch (La Brea through Dec. 14).
I am indebted to Tom Jimmerson for resurrecting Doug Edge to my “watch” list.  Edge is the quintessential
Los Angeles artist.  He is about process, learning new stuff, responding to reality in eclectic fashion.  This
exhibition offers a wonderful opportunity to acquaint the viewer with several of Edge’s series.  Edge has
been an important contributor to the SoCal scene since the late 1960s.
Happy Holidays to All
Peace in 2014

Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay    D
ecember 2013
doug@simayspace.com