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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
I have been traveling extensively and missed making LA art rounds since September.  Like coming “home”
the LA art scene is one of the world’s best and always its own reward.
Joyce Weiss
South Bay Focus 2014 at Torrance Art Museum (Torrance closing).
Presenting survey exhibitions is what the Torrance Museum does best.  This exhibition is curated by Scott
Canty (one of the LA Basin’s best-informed and effective curators).  Curiously, it announces itself as
“featuring contemporary and traditional art”.  I never thought about that dichotomy.  Contemporary art by
this definition does not include “traditional art” (as in landscape, still life, portraiture, and the like) even if it is
made in the here and now.  So the “contemporary scene” is not represented by time-honored forms?  
Curious and disappointing if true.  The images included here demonstrate the breadth of the show and the
incongruities of definition.
Jeanne Dunn (Jeanne is a well regarded San Diego artist with studio in the South Bay)
Winnie Shepardson (this contemporary chiaroscuro is as arresting as if from the Renaissance)
Lee Clark (a redux of early 20th century abstraction)
Dan McCleary at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Jan. 17).
Being a huge McCleary
student and fan, I find the three new paintings in this exhibition to be stupendous,
r
eflecting his evolving expertise.  Dan uses tonality as others might use “line” to define representation.  For
the first time I detect impastoed brush strokes in the work.  The luminosity is transcendant.  I best like art
when “beauty” is core to the experience.
Dan McCleary
Patrick Nickell at Rosamund Felsen (Bergamot through Jan. 3).
Current work by Patrick Nickell is whacky.  Fashioned from wire, burlap and plaster his forms court
figurative interpretation with very abstract intent.  Honest artifice makes for a very engaging body of work.
Odd Nerdrum at Copro (Bergamot through Jan. 3).
It is rare to see Odd Nerdrum’s work on this coast, much less in the intimate environment of the gallery.  
Nerdrum must have a special relationship with the owner of Copro Gallery who is co-publisher of Juxtapos
magazine.  And, it may be even more difficult to see Nerdrum’s future work as he enters prison in Norway for
tax evasion.  Three of Nerdrum’s students/apprentices are also seen in this exhibition.  This show is a big
deal and a wonderful opportunity to experience Norway‘s most famous artist whose classical techniques
defy “contemporary“ jargon.
Akio Takamori at Frank Lloyd (Bergamot through Dec. 13).
Takamori is best known for his figurative ceramics.  The work in this exhibition was fashioned in ceramics
but then cast in glass during the artist’s residency at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass.  The work reflects
Takamori’s understanding of the history of archaic Mediterranean glass fabrication.  Very smart and
beautiful stuff.
Ira Korman at Koplin Del Rio (Culver City through Dec. 20).
Ira Korman can draw as few others can.  Over the years, I am most familiar with his very large works.  While
the large works are impressive, these very small carbon pencil on paper drawings are, in addition to being
exquisitely rendered, sublimely spiritual.  The drawings capture the intimacy attached to long forgotten
photographic mementos.
Kris Kukei at Mark Moore (Culver City through Dec. 20.)
Kukei fashions intricate Baroque assemblages that are simultaneously decorative and apocalyptic.  Most
fascinating is the huge and extensive collection of cultural flotsam that is necessary to construct these
works (tiny toys, figurines, model parts, jewelry).  While not great art, it is great effort and completely
unique.
David Lloyd at Klowden Mann (Culver City through Jan. 10).
David Lloyd was represented by Margo Leavin back in her days.  He is one of LA’s accomplished
abstractionist.  Executed on unstretched canvas, his paintings combine forms that at times seem to have
narrative significance.  I find myself thinking back to Richard Baker’s work (San Diego artist seen at Cirrus)
who predates Lloyd.
Alida Cervantes at Angles (Culver City through Dec. 20).
The gallery presents a group of 13 women artists depicting the subject of women.  While the pedigree of
artists is significant (Marlene Dumas, Lisa Yuskavage, Wangechi Mutu) it is this painting by Alida
Cervantes which demands attention and becomes memory.
Jeff Colson at Maloney (Culver City through Dec. 20).
Colson is the consummate craftsman.  This exhibition documents the preparatory work done to fashion this
“sculpture” solely out of wood.  Wow - trompe l’oeil in heroic scale.
Robert Rauschenberg at Gagosian (Beverly Hills through Dec. 13).
This show is worth seeing.  We all are familiar with Rauschenberg’s collaged screenprints.  Seeing him
work similarly with recycled metal amplifies that familiarity.
Amy Adler at ACME (Wilshire at Fairfax through Dec. 20).
Amy Adler’s paintings make an immediate visual impact.  Demanding attention, one is drawn to investigate
their surface.  Using dense oil pastel to draw on canvas, the overlaying of pigment on the tooth of the
canvas causes the work to look almost woven.  The static, colorful images seem almost like photographic
stills - frozen cinematic moments.  Amy Adler teaches at UCSD.  The day I saw her show I had been thinking
about former UCSD professor, Manny Farber.  Seeing her work, I imagined it in the context of the way
Manny analyzed images in movies.
Jorge Pardo at 1301 PE (Wilshire at Fairfax through Jan. 10).
Cuban-born Pardo may often be thought of as a designer.  I think of him as a sculptor whose works can be
functionally part of daily life.  I like his playful inventiveness.  There is no other artist who can be confused
with Jorge Pardo.
Bruce Connor and Lita Albuquerque at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through Dec. 20).
Michael Kohn has been a tireless advocate for Bruce Connor’s art.  I never pass on a chance to see
Connor’s work and only regret that I passed on purchasing it decades ago when it was close to affordable.
Also presented by the gallery are parts of Lita Albuquerque’s output.  Her “Stellar Axis” was a fascinating
(and hugely unique) performance/installation piece executed in Antarctica in 2006.  The photo below is of
gallery wall text in which Albuquerque shares her thoughts about Stellar Axis.  I find this one page to give
the greatest concise explanation of what the artist’s work reflects.
Lita Albuquerque
Charles Ray at Matthew Marks (West Hollywood through Dec. 20).
Charles Ray has two machined sculptures in this exhibition.  One is machined from solid aluminum and the
pictured sculpture is laser machined from solid stainless steel.  In this piece the artist had his truck
crunched into a solid.  The resultant block was scanned and then laser-guided milling machines recreated
the wreck in exquisite detail.  Rarely have I experienced gravitational force (aside from the fact that I am
fixed to the earth) emanating from an object.  At 13 tons, this sculpture packs some serious gravity.
Jonas Wood at David Kordansky (S. Melrose through Jan.10).
Still pondering traditional versus contemporary, Jonas Wood is a contemporary darling.  Yet his
idiosyncratic paintings of images from his life recall Stuart Davis and Matisse.  His flat and stylized paintings
demonstrate painting is not dead and offers a wonderful counterpoint to the nilhism of much of today’s
recycled trash, Conceptual art.
Wood has painted the façade of the LA<>ART and Walter Maciel galleries in Culver City.  Nice addition to
the otherwise ugly South La Cienega frontages.
Jim Hodges at Hammer (Westwood through Jan.18).
Presenting 75 pieces of Hodges work, this exhibition is intelligent and communicative.  Hodges takes the
challenge of what to do with fascinating materials to informed and creative conclusion.  The large wall
hanging pictured above is constructed of assembled denim.

Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay December 2014    doug@simayspace.com
Cynthia Stewart
Jeanne Silverthorne at Shoshana Wayne (Bergamot through Jan. 3).
Silverstone’s sculptures are all fashioned out of rubber compounds.  They look convincingly otherwise.  
The formalism of her work must surely overlap with Richard Artschwager in its intent to subvert reality by re-
presenting it with altered perceptions of what “it” is and what “it” means.