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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Jacqueline Freedman at LA Harbor College (Wilmington through April 26).
It is not easy to get to LA Harbor College.  But the curatorial efforts of   Ron Linden make it worthwhile.  
Jacqueline Freedman is adjunct faculty in Wilmington and Torrance.  She paints abstract arabesques using
white paint on handmade, indigo dyed paper.  The results verge on the cosmic.
Irit Batsry at Shoshana Wayne (Bergamot through May 3).
I believe that photography can be celebrated as fine art.  I particularly celebrate those photo-based artists
who take the technology to expanded means and meaning.  Such is this work by Irit Batsry.  She warps “the
concrete into the abstract” and “transforms reality into artifice”.
Yamamoto Masao at Craig Krull (Bergamot through April 5).
My preference in Masao’s exhibition are the small works - photographs printed on paper; then suspended
above the frame’s mat.  They seem much richer than a photograph - more like a litho or etching on paper
that has tooth.
Dustin Yellin at Richard Heller (Bergamot through March 29).
Yellin’s sculptural works are large blocks of laminated glass.  Each layer has different colored details that
when viewed in summation appear like cut-away topographical maps (in the above detail – a humanoid).  
This makes for fascinating conjecture on how it is done and what it might mean.  To quote his former
dealer, Samuel Freeman, Yellin’s work is “a vivisectionist’s garden of eden”.
Roseline Delisle at Frank Lloyd (Bergamot through April 5).
Roseline Delisle died of ovarian cancer in 2003 when she was 50 years old.  Frank Lloyd is showing a
selection of work produced in 1980 and 1990.  Delisle’s forms and decoration are singular and unique.  
Her visual idiom may honor Malevich and Oskar Schlemmer - but her final forms are totally hers.  
Whenever I raise her name in conversation, my audience usually waxes on about how marvelous a human-
being she was.  She was married to Bruce Cohen - boing - that is why I see her work portrayed in his
intimate, domestic scene paintings.
Judith Foosaner at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through March 29).
The work of Judith Foosaner cannot be confused with any other artist.  Even though her distinctive style
makes accurately identifying her work instantaneous - it never gets boring.  Her paintings always reflect an
active mind and a poetic spirit.
Irwin Ziment
Yda & Irwin Ziment at FIG (Bergamot through April 12).
The story of these two artists is touching.  They are husband and wife.  Irwin practiced medicine but now
suffers Parkinson’s disease.  Yda is an MFA-artist (UCLA 1981) who understands the frustrations of her
husband (otherwise intellectually alive).  She encourages him to draw portraits with markers.  Her work
seems very much like the CoBrA artists - Karel Appel in particular.  The CoBrA’s believed creativity was
unspoiled in children and the mentally (physically in this case) infirm.  Their shared creativity and love is
evident.
Carlson Hatton at Ruth Bachofner (Bergamot through April 19).
In addition to this show at Ruth Bachofner, Hatton is in exhibition at Santa Monica College (where he
teaches).  Carlson Hatton appropriates imagery from all sorts of contemporary sources.  He layers all these
references to form complex abstractions that offer plenty of visual interest even if their intent and form are
hard to decipher.
David Bailin at Koplin Del Rio (Culver City through March 22).
Bailin’s work is technically drawing.  But these very large charcoal drawings on very heavy paper are
layered with glazes and color so that I think of them as paintings.  His large, desolate landscapes are
populated with solitary ruminating figures.  These are quietly powerful existential paintings.
Josh Reames at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through March 29).
This is the first Southern California exhibition by Chicagoan Josh Reames. His paintings appear dimensional
given rendering that makes disparate objects appear to float in space.  The objects have little relationship to
each other.  Rather minutiae sampled from the steady stream of visual symbols that fill our lives get
reformulated in his paintings.  They are pleasurable to look at because, while they seem familiar, there is no
real meaning.  The joy is in form over content.
Anthony Pearson at David Kordansky (Culver City through April 12).
Pearson’s work is elegant.  The best are carved works in which the plaster is sharply incised by layered
lines.  The effect is a meditation on Light and Space.  His are the sculptural equivalent of Agnes Martin’s
transcendant abstraction.
Yoshitomo Nara at Blum & Poe (Culver City through April 12).
Seemingly unchanging, Nara has pursued the same artistic motif for decades.  This exhibition
chronologically presents a small selection of his drawings from the last 30 years.  Look at a couple drawings
from 1980 and then a couple from this year and I think Nara to be the artistic equivalent of a sonambulist.  
But I do find his new, heroic-size bronze sculptures to be quite striking.  They have real spiritual power -
much like viewing a giant Olmec head.
Gary Lang at ACE Beverly Hills (Beverly Hills through April 30).
Lang continues to be engaged in the physical act of painting.  What may appear to be machined targets
are in reality intense, highly skilled applications of paint using brush in hand.  That he has so many
decades of experience with the physical act of painting allows his devotion to appear effortless.  His tondos
are spiritual worlds, feelings and responses to his life perceptions.  The Word paintings that are presented
for the first time in this exhibition demonstrate that, while the tondos are abstractions, Lang is painting about
his combined rational and emotional responses to reality.
Helen Lundeberg 1988
Helen Lundeberg
+ Lorser Feitelson at Louis Stern (West Hollywood through May 10).
Lundeberg (1908-1999) and Feitelson (1898-1978) were happily married and proudly supported each
other’s work.  They were immensely important mid-century Los Angeles artists who lead the way into Hard
Edge Abstraction.  This painting by Lundeberg from 1988 hangs next to this 1951 Feitelson.  This inspired
exhibition highlights their synergy.
Lorser Feitelson 1951
Dorielle Caimi at Gusford (Hollywood through April 19).
Caimi’s paintings are complex psychological portraits built upon dissonant colors and contemporary images
of women acting out classical tales.  They take their structure from classic forms.  Several works seem built
on a re-imagined Adolf Ziegler (1892-1959) who was one of Hitler’s favorite painters (now on view at the
Neue Galerie in Manhattan).
Jerome Witkin
Jerome Witkin & Joel-Peter Witkin at Jack Rutberg (La Brea through May 3).
Jack Rutberg has done another bang-up job organizing this exhibition.  Jerome Witkin’s skills with charcoal
and paints has never been so eloquently presented.  I had come to dismiss Joel-Peter’s work as macabre
and sensationalist (given that he is almost always represented by work that combines eroticism with
curiosities from the morgue).  The choice of works for this exhibition highlights Joel-Peter’s intelligence
expressed by his deft photographic technique.  This is the first time in their fifty year careers that these two
identical twins (!!!) have shown together.  Well, drop my jaw.  I never thought of these artists as brothers.  
Terrific show.
Joel-Peter Witkin
Andrew Hem at Merry Karnowsky (La Brea through March 29).
He was born to Cambodian parents as they fled the horrors of the Khmer Rouge.  Then he grew up in one
of LA’s immigrant ghettos where his attraction was to graffiti/spray art.  His art degree came from Art Center
in Illustration.  Andrew Hem’s work is arresting.  I am most affected by his manner of integrating Asian
motifs/sentiments into the polyculturalism of urban USA.  Hem is a successful chameleon - successfully
shuttling between Southeast Asian and American themes.
Squeak Carnwath at Peter Mendenhall (mid-Wilshire through March 9).
It seems quite a while since Carnwath has been seen in the Southland.  I have regularly seen her work
between San Francisco (Berrgruen) and Santa Fe (Turner Carroll).  I think Carnwath is a fine painter.  I like
looking at how her work is painted.  I do not respond to the painting’s figurative elements.  The notations
and implied stories do not tantalize me.  But she lays down marvelous layers of pigment.
Carlee Fernandez at ACME (mid-Wilshire closing).
Carlee Fernandez takes her family as subjects for the work in this exhibition.  These are not sentimental
portraits.  They present the conflict of being an individual while being a link along the generational chain.
Sharon Ellis at Christopher Grimes (Santa Monica through May 3).
Sharon Ellis returns to LA after being absent for 8 years. Her modest sized alkyd on canvas paintings are
supernatural and romantically beautiful.  She strikes me as a cross between Charles Burchfield and
Margaret Nielsen.
Charles Christopher Hill at Cirrus (Downtown through May 3).
Charles Christopher Hill was amongst the first artists I saw when I discovered Cirrus Gallery in 1980.  His
works in this exhibition were executed in the 1970s.  Hill stitched together paper, cheesecloth, and fabric - to
then bury the work in compost heaps to “season” them.  To this day they are exquisite pieces that repudiate
painting’s conventions - only to become themselves objects of beauty.  Hill, his teachers (Celmins,
Kauffman, Irwin and Moses (UC Irvine faculty)), and his peers (Chris Burden, Alexis Smith, Jay McCafferty,
Alan McCollum, and Tom Wudl) lay foundations for LA’s aesthetic of the last couple decades.
356 S. Mission (Downtown).
Scott Reeder has installed this mammoth space just south of the LA River near Fourth Street.  His work
(painting, sculpture, installation) is mostly “sets” from his movie “Moon Dust”.  What boggles is the gallery
space.  This is another of LA’s mega-spaces (in the Downtown think Francois Ghebaly; in Hollywood think
Regen Projects).  Ooga Booga of Chinatown adds 356 S. Mission as a second salesroom.  Yikes - this
place promises to be a wild ride.
Oscar Murillo at The Mistake Room (Downtown through April 12).
Look up Oscar Murillo to learn of the meteoric rise of this 28 year old Colombian painter who lives in
London.  Twenty eight of his paintings were auctioned in 2013 for $4.8 million.  He has turned the Mistake
Room into another of his “studios” which are art “factories”.  His art is about commodities and the politics of
their manufacture.  He blurs the distinction between aesthetic process and everyday work.  Come to think of
it - Murillo is one smart cynic.  
F. Scott Hess at Barnsdall (Hollywood closing).
This is the year for F. Scott Hess.  The exhibition now closing at Barnsdall was one of two (the other at Cal
State Fullerton) that constitute a retrospective.  There will be another major exhibition at the Long Beach
Museum of Art opening in July.  Rather than interpret, I post three images taken from the Barnsdall show.  
The earliest painting from 1978 is of Neil and Alice Ovsey who were gallerists in LA.  Their first gallery was
on La Brea near the current Fahey Klein.  Subsequently they moved Downtown just below Alameda in the
days when the Downtown was the “next great” LA art district.  That was in the 1980s.  I remember the
Ovseys well and remember first seeing Hess’ work in their gallery.  One of my great “misses” was not
buying Hess back then.
F. Scott Hess 1987
F. Scott Hess 2004

Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay    March 2014
doug@simayspace.com
Yda Ziment
Wes Christensen at Koplin Del Rio (Culver City through March 22).
Wes Christensen has not been seen in solo exhibition since 2007.  His pencil and gouache paintings are
always small in size –reflecting his interest in intimate contemporary scenes that reference literary parables.  
His jewel-like paintings are a thinking man’s reflections on mortality.