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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Lita Albuquerque
A Cosmic Encounter at Cirrus (Downtown through July 13).
This group show of works on paper includes Lita Albuquerque, Peter Alexander, John Baldessari, Jerry
Brane, Greg Card, Vija Celmins, Judy Chicago, Joe Goode, Kori Newkirk, Eric Orr, Ed Ruscha and Eve
Sonneman.  The theme is “space” be it metaphysical or celestial.  Good work.
Miljohn Ruperto & Ulrik Heltoft at Thomas Solomon (Chinatown closing).
The source imagery and inspiration for this body of work is a 16th century document written in an
undecipherable text and illustrated with fanastical, questionably authentic, plants (The Voynich
Manuscript).  Ruperto and Heltoft have used digital sampling techniques to build digital images of
Voynich-inspired plants.  After the images have been constructed and printed digitally - they are
photographed on film and then printed using wet chemistry.  The prints are gorgeous in their rich visual
texture and fantastic subjects.  These are 21st century Karl Blossfeldt inflected pseudo-science.
Interesting to view the technical approaches of Ruperto and Heltoft in the same afternoon as seeing
Daniel Gordon (see below).  The luscious prints need the “back story” to be fully appreciated.
Maxwell Hendler at Manny Silverman (West Hollywood through August 17).
This “finish fetish” show of Hendler’s resin coated paintings looks smashing in the daylight-flooded
Silverman gallery.  The strength of this exhibition seems built on the superb quality of light and Modernist
geometry of the gallery.  This show well demonstrates the importance of set and setting in art
appreciation.  
Daniel Gordon at M+B (West Hollywood through June 29).
Daniel Gordon (MFA Yale 2006) gathers images from the internet.  He then prints them, cuts them up,
assembles the image fragments into three dimensional dioramas, photographs the sculptural pictures
using an 8x10 view camera and then prints them out as analog prints using wet chemistry.  The process
is the reverse of the usual digitizing of analog images to be Photoshop-ed into digital prints.  
Acknowledging a Matisse-like design aesthetic, Gordon’s final works are colorific and flamboyant.  I like
his imagery but am mostly swayed by his process “reversal“.
June Wayne at Louis Stern (West Hollywood through July 27).
June Wayne (1918-2011) was vital to introducing fine art lithography to Los Angeles - indeed she
helped revitalize it in America.  Her Tamarind Lithography Workshop operated for a decade in Los
Angeles (before moving to the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, when she retired).  The artists
who did residencies and produced work there is a who’s-who list.  Wayne herself was an accomplished
artist.  Louis Stern has again reminded us of the history of the artist movers and shakers of mid 20th
century LA.  This exhibition is quite enjoyable.
James Turrell at LACMA (mid Wilshire through April 6, 2014).
The big effort and construction expertise in installing this retrospective at LACMA makes this one terrific
exhibition.  It is no small feat to present Turrell’s Light and Space aesthetic successfully. The walls,
platforms, room cutouts, lighting all have to be perfect in order for the illusions/perceptions to work.  I
have fortunately seen many of Turrell’s works in their first incarnations over the last 30 years.  This
museum exhibition is worthy of being referred to
as a “definitive” survey.
It is forbidden to photograph in the show - so I use the Heizer “Levitated Mass” image to illustrate a visit
to LACMA.  The Heizer piece also demonstrates the liabilities of attempting to make a grand spectacle
and having the technology of the presentation utterly fail (this piece would work better if it was not
called “Levitated Mass”.)
Tyler Adams at Steve Turner (mid Wilshire through June 29).
Tyler Adams’ show gets my “Best of LA this month”.  Adams has both an MFA (UCLA) and a MS in
Architectural Acoustics.  In the piece above, various lengths of spiral ductwork resonate the low-pitched
tones broadcast from swinging, pendulum-like speakers that are propelled by hidden fans.  He uses
motion to create sound as well as sound to create motion - frequently melding the two.  This is real
smart, fun, and creative stuff.  He reminds me of being enthralled the first time I experienced Alan Rath’s
work at Dorothy Goldeen’s Santa Monica gallery in 1990.
Francisco Zuniga at Jack Rutberg (La Brea through July 31).
Jack Rutberg again affords us a chance to learn by viewing.  A collection of drawings, paintings, and
sculptures documents Zuniga (1912-1998).  I prefer his sculptures and this head from 1932 (when the
artist was still working in his native Costa Rica) is breathtaking - as if it was itself breathing.
Ron van der Ende at Ambach & Rice (mid Wilshire through July 27).
This show is seductive.  When I look at the work I see John Okulick,  Tony Berlant, and early Ron Davis.  
Reading the press release is an exercise in obfuscation.  Still the works are a nice mix of intellect and
visual beauty.
Kirsten Everberg at 1301PE (mid Wilshire through June 29).
Everberg’s paintings are large - environments in themselves.  The reason that I think twice about them is
their surface - made by mixing oil and enamel paints.  The resultant fluidity could be experienced as
visual dessert.
Kenton Nelson at Peter Mendenhall (mid Wilshire through July 13).
I know Kenton Nelson’s work from previous Mendenhall shows.  There is no doubt that Nelson has total
mastery of materials and methods in painting.  In his current exhibition, the artist shows his diligence in
pursuing transparent watercolor - in my mind the most difficult of painting techniques.  Using this medium,
Nelson’s American Scene/Regionalism seems even more Modern than his oils.  His geometric planes of
color operate well abstractly.
William Wegman at Mark Selwyn (mid Wilshire through July 6).
Wegman’s dogs have totally defined the artist.  The text based photographs from the 1970s that
constitute this exhibition remind me that Wegman has exceptional Conceptual credentials.
Thomas Zipp at International Art Objects Gallery (Culver City through August 3).
This gallery used to be called China Art Objects.  I have been to every show they have had since
starting in Chinatown.  It has never taken longer than one minute to see their exhibitions - not because
they are small rather because, for me, their exhibitions have no substance.  In this current exhibition with
one work by each of six artists, there is little substance.  However, there is a chance to see an
installation by Pae White, a 1995 Fred Tomaselli, and this painting by the German artist Thomas Zipp
(who always causes my brain to ignite).
Florian Morlat at Cherry and Martin (Culver City through July 6).
Born in German, trained in Dusseldorf, MFA UCLA in 1999 - the artist lives and works in LA.  His
sculptures carry-on the spirit of Alexander Calder and David Smith.  His stylized “people” mix primitivism
with Pop Modernism.
Koji Enokura at Blum & Poe (Culver City through July13).
Enokura (1942-1995) was one of the Mono-ha group of Japanese artists (late 1960s through early 70s)
that Blum & Poe has been introducing and reinterpreting for expanded audience.  The works in this
exhibition mirror the encounter between natural and industrial that Mono-ha is known for.  The
juxtaposition of clean and stained; cloth and wood are primordial and (quoting the artist) “…attests to the
consciousness I have of my own existence.”
Juan Usle at LA Louver (Venice through July 6).
The paintings by Spanish artist Juan Usle are wonderful, hand-wrought, organic abstraction.
Yvonne Venegas at Shoshanna Wayne (Bergamot through august 23).
Venegas operates at the level of both portraiture and photo-journalism.  She is able to directly
photograph a scene without subverting it by her presence.  In this body of work, Venegas (MFA UCSD
2009) is shooting on the set of the Mexican telenovela, Rebelde.  The blurring of reality and the film set
are perfectly matched with Venegas’ meld of portraiture and journalism
Jenny Okun at Craig Krull (Bergamot through July 6).
Okun’s multi-image photographs are good.  When they are computer assembled and then projected as
backdrops for the live theater stage - WOW.  This exhibition documents her creation of staging for the
opera, Dulce Rosa, which was performed in Santa Monica last month.  Sorry I missed such a visual
opportunity.
Adonna Khare at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through July 20).
Khare (MFA Cal State Long Beach 2007) was seen at the Cannon Gallery in Carslbad in 2010.  This is
her fourth exhibition with Lora Schlesinger.  Her drawings both large and small demonstrate consummate
technique while evincing a profound love for all creatures.  These are not political works.  They are
lovely master drawings that speak about love and longing.
Jeffrey O’Connell at FIG (Bergamot through June 22).
Many of the small paintings in this show are ink and white-out on found photographs.  O’Connell’s work
is deft and adultly childish.  His palette and figures echo Jean Dubuffet.  I need to pay attention to this
artist.  Seems he changes gears - moving from figuration to abstraction and back again.  O’Connell
(MFA UCLA 1972) teaches at Otis and Santa Monica College.

Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay     June 2013
doug@simayspace.com
Tom Driscoll at L&M (Venice through July 6).
San Diego artist Tom Driscoll is getting the attention he deserves.  He recently had his work collected by
the MCASD and now he is in this group show at L&M.  In a show called “Neo-Provera”, work by 24
contemporary artists revolves around materials. ‘Tis a fine exhibition and I enjoyed the work by, in
addition to Tom Driscoll, Maya Lin, Jedidiah Caesar, Cordy Ryman, Andy Ralph and Tara Donovan.