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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Richard Deacon at LA Louver (Venice through Oct. 20).
Reflecting on Deacon’s work, I usually think of organic sculptures (like that seen above).  In this exhibition
he also exhibits stainless steel sculptures as seen below.  It is obvious that Richard Deacon loves to make
sculpture and his imagination is broad and its application provocative.
Richard Deacon
Sui Jianguo at LA Louver (Venice through Oct. 20).
Deacon (British) and Sui Jianguo (Chinese) have a long friendship (since 1999).  They actively share
dialogue about sculpture.  Having the two of them presenting their works side by side is no accident.  
Sui Jianguo’s work is totally abstract.  The sculpture pictured above is cast bronze and is pretty
representative for the form of his sculpture.  Most of the pieces in this exhibition similarly look like cast
bronze – but are made of galvanized photosensitive resin and 3D printing.
Jerry McMillan at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Oct. 13).
McMillan’s final artistic product for this exhibition are photographs.  They are precise photographs of
constructed paper, sculptural collages.  Their elegant trompe l’oeil effect confounds figuring out the nature
of the image.  
Paco Pomet at Richard Heller (Bergamot through Oct. 20).
Paco Pomet lives and works in Granada, Spain.  His work conflates real scenes with portent and
innuendo.  I like his sublime drama.  I am reminded of Mark Tansey in both construct and intention.
Elena Mary Siff at FIG (Bergamot through Oct. 6).
Quoting the artist: “I have loved reading “Invisible Cities” (1972), Italo Calvino’s masterwork of
surrealism…”  The artist has taken 30 chapters of Calvino’s book to construct miniature sculptures in
“illustration”. Her intimate sculptures are each accompanied by reproduction of the relevant Calvino
chapter.  The assemblage sculptures need attention – bending in close to visually explore an altered
realist landscape.  Surrealism is already transcendent.  Siff puts a capital “T” on Transcendent.
Fred Stonehouse at George Billis (Culver City through Oct. 13).
After years of seeing Stonehouse paintings, they are stylistically constant.  Bizarre human/animal figures
sweat under intense emotional circumstances – their conundrums represented in text floating above the
tortured scenes.  His work is uniquely quirky and readily identifiable.
Hung Liu at Walter Maciel (Culver City through Oct. 27).
Hung Liu is a magnificent painter.  She and Walter Maciel have a long-term friendship and loyalty to each
other which is admirable.  This exhibition by her is my favorite to date.  There has been a shift and
evolution in her manner of creating a portrait.  A “zone like” approach cause these portrait paintings to
take on some of the “structure” of a Chuck Close.  The new body of work draws on photographs that
Dorothea Lange took of Depression era, Dustbowl residents.  
In addition, 36 remaining small-scale paintings that the artist executed while going to school in Communist
China are presented.  She had to hide her activity – painting that was not in service of State propaganda
was forbidden.  Executing a painting a day over two years, these 36 exquisite works are all that is left.  
There can be no doubt that Hung Liu is a master.
Tomoo Gokita at Blum & Poe (Culver City through Oct. 27).
The press release says: “In his piercing, psychologically charged monochrome and greyscale paintings…”  
The work is indeed piercing and psychologically charged.  Cloaked in anonymity we seemingly observe
class-specific cultural behaviors.  Gokita is Japanese living and working in Tokyo.
Tomoo Gokita
Karel Appel at Blum & Poe (Culver City through Oct. 27).
My first introduction to Karel Appel was visiting Amsterdam in 1989 to see the Kazimir Malevich
retrospective at the Stedelijk.  Appel is the Dutch representative of the CoBrA group (1948-1951).  The
paintings in this gallery exhibition were produced while the artist was in NYC during 1995-96.  Their
splashy abstraction (with the suggestion of figuration) reflect Appel’s exposure to Sam Francis, Jackson
Pollock, de Kooning, and Franz Kline – and his exposure to American jazz.
Sarah Cromarty at Klowden Mann (Culver City through Oct. 13).
Walking in on Cromarty’s show is an “oh wow” experience. Her electric, bright palette cause the
landscapes to seemingly come to life.  This effect is magnified by the sculptural, topographic projections
that come from three dimensional layers of image.  ‘Tis a sci-fi imaginary world.  Constructed with layers of
oil paint over photographic prints on cardboard with glitter – the effect is cinematic.
Lenz Geerk at Roberts Projects (Culver City through Oct. 13).
Dusseldorf’s Lenz Geerk’s paintings are at the same time quiet but loaded with repressed emotion.  The
works are theatrical with the audience positioned as a voyeur.  Humm…  I am happy to stand before the
work once, which may be all that can be sustained.
Max Jansons at there-there (Hollywood through Oct. 31).
I liked Max Jansons’ ornamental paintings – abstracted with Pop gestures.  Maybe I was just slap-happy
at the end of the day’s driving.  The work doesn’t communicate anything to me.  His are pleasing
“dynamic geometric arrangements of color and pattern.”
Tony Berlant at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through Nov. 3).
My gallery visit coincided with the artist Tony Berlant’s arrival to decide on the final “hang” for his exhibition
(which is to open before Sept. 22).  It offered me a chance to share my admiration for him after decades of
actively following his work.  Berlant continues to use printed, shaped sheets of metal nailed in place with
brads to produce scenes.  For several newest pieces, the work has become even more painterly in its
intention.
Tony Berlant
Danh Gim at Steve Turner (Hollywood through Oct. 20).
The gallery has a group show (9 artists) whose work may seem at first glance to be ”folk art”.  There is
nothing naïve or “outsider” about any of the artists in this exhibition.  I highlight Dahn Gim – born in Korea,
raised in Toronto, and now working in Los Angeles (she earned her MFA at UCLA).  In this work she has
skillfully wrapped leather around an auto muffler to make it appear that the muffler is a “creature” with
skin.  The artist likens her hybrid sculptures to the “adaptation that newcomers experience with respect to
a new language, new people and a new culture.”
Jon Pylypchuk at Nino Mier (Hollywood closing).
Every Pylypchuk sculpture I have ever seen evokes the same response.
His work is funny and profane.  Canada trained, living in LA, he earned his MFA at UCLA in 2001.  Quoting
from the press release: “(his) crude aesthetic, outsider status and interest in breaking down the
established rules of artistic production.” sums up a Pylypchuk experience.  I only now learned that he was
a co-founder of the Grice-Bench gallery in LA.
Chinatown
Chung King Road had its day in the “gallery-sun” back when Roger Herman via Black Dragon Society and
Inmo with his eponymous gallery made for quite a scene.  That all evaporated leaving Charlie James and
Coagula to offer art viewing.  Today there are five galleries along Chung King Road.  We will have to see if
a scene as vibrant as “before” is possible.
Kiel Johnson, HK Zamani and Michael O’Malley at DENK (DTLA through Sept. 29).
Carl Berg demonstrates another tour de force in curation featuring 12 LA artists, paired up (so that one
can contemplate intersections) painter with sculptor.  There is a lot to experience here.  My selected
images do not demonstrate the pairings – just the three artists who most captivated me.
Kiel Johnson’s installations are collections of stoneware that as altars offer reflections on cultures, the
occult, and alchemy.
HK Zamani continues with obscure paintings that cannot be translated but seem to range “from the ascetic
to the psychedelic.”
Michael O’Malley loves wood, favors recycling, and demonstrates mastery using it.  Thinking of Roberto
Matta’s organic biomorphism, O’Malley’s sculptures seen here are 3D biomorphic surrealism.
HK Zamani
Michael O'Malley
Soey Milk at Corey Helford (DTLA through Oct. 13).
This exhibition has essentially sold out.  Given the current popularity of the new painting idioms: New
Figuration, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop; Post Graffiti – I take heart seeing that artists and their audience love
“fine” painting.  I am not a fan of what seems to me as vacuous content.  But I find confidence that skillful
painting still finds honor in a “post-conceptual” world.
Robert Yarber at Nicodim (DTLA through Oct. 20).
I probably have not seen paintings by Robert Yarber in 20 years.  His psychedelic scenes of figures
floating above transcendental cityscapes at night are unforgettable.  While his seductive fabrications are
arresting, I come away from this exhibition feeling that I have opened a time capsule rather than
experiencing the advancement of time.
Robert Yarber
David Lynch at KayneGriffinCorcoran (lower La Brea through Nov. 10).
Lynch’s paintings are legitimately creative – and wacky!  We may best know him for his films, but he
started out studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (PAFA) in the late 60s.  The paintings in this
exhibition speak volumes for an insightful and profane observer of the “commonplace yet unexpected.”
David Lynch
James Herman at IBID (DTLA through Oct. 27).
These panels are plywood that has been routed with a premeditated pattern – modified by the
unpredictable hardness and layers of the plywood.  The surface is painted with rich color.  They do indeed
exhibit “optical radiance.”  They also offer meditative release from thinking about meaning.   
James Herman (detail)
Eleanor Swordy at Moskowitz Bayse (La Brea through Oct. 27).
Swordy’s works portray a flat-space, sort of like a computer monitor. There are ideas and value judgments
expressed in the work – but nothing too pressing.  These paintings reflect joyous creativity.  Nothing wrong
with that.
Frank Stella at Spruth Magers (mid Wilshire through Oct. 28).
Stella is 82 years old and continues to actively push his work into new territory.  Until this exhibition he has
not shown in LA since 1995.  I share images of four works demonstrating the breadth of his interests.
Frank Stella
Frank Stella
Frank Stella
I have paid attention to Frank Stella since I was an arts-audience tadpole.  That means observing his
oeuvre for the last 50 years.  Sharing the longevity of my admiration with Frank caused us both to chuckle
on how “time flies”.
Thomas Scheibitz at Spruth Magers (mid Wilshire through Oct. 28).
Berlin-based Scheibitz melds figuration and abstraction confidently in his clear and beautiful paintings.  
The success of his work reflects his commitment to the legitimacy of painting.  
Thomas Scheibitz
Get out, look at art, have fun.
Doug Simay  September 2018

doug@simayspace.com
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