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Art Fairs Los Angeles October 2011-Art Platform-Part 2

October 2, 2011

With two art fairs in Los Angeles, I’d be remiss if I didn’t cover Art Platform as well. The venue for Art Platform, a new fair mounted by the same folks who produce the Armory Fair in NYC in March, was the LA Mart, south of downtown. Two things struck me about the physical layout. The aisles were confusing and didn’t allow for a steady pace. Lower ceilings and a labyrinth design made several folks loose whatever internal GPS they did possess. Second, cell phone reception was simply horrible so tracking down one’s intrepid art viewing brethren was hard at best, impossible at worst. That said, the participating Galleries offered a delectable buffet of art. Here then a highly selective and subjective offering of the best of the best:

Richard Diebenkorn at (from Left to right) Leslie Sacks, Manny Silverman and James Barron

I’ve been a fan of Richard Diebenkorn my entire professional life. His Painting represents the apotheosis of contemporary composition. There were three terrific examples of works on paper by the west coast master. The Ocean Park etude offered by Leslie Sacks undulated between graphic linear work and fleshy paint applications. Worked and reworked, with tons of erasures, the piece sang with process and thoughtfulness. An Ink drawing at Manny Silverman bore witness to Diebenkorn’s dialogue with his abstract expressionist era but remained a resolute mature work of his own. And lastly a Club motif painting on paper at James Barron held unapologetic confidence. All bravado and no adjustment, the piece balanced like a Mark diSuvero sculpture. Thumbtack holes in the corners of the paper spoke to incidental placement on his studio walls. Each piece a Truffle to be savoured.

Kim MacConnel at Quint Gallery

I’ve recently become an ardent fan of Kim MacConnel. A colorist of the highest order, McConnell’s love for Matisse is clear but never derivative. I’ve seen precious few of his paintings in person and was blown away by the texture and handling of enamel paint. This touch is made all but invisible by reproduction in print or the web. But here’s the special treat. The paintings shine in reproduction but become a completely different beast in person. The three paintings above were all featured at Quint Contemporary Art. The two on the sides were relatively intimate, say 14 x 20 inches. The one in the middle was, I estimate 35 x 45 inches. They move and reverberate with a jazzy rhythm. As a dear friend of mine would say…”Wanty Wanty”

John Wesley at Daniel Weinberg

John Wesley is an acquired taste. I started acquiring it about ten years ago and his iconoclastic style and subject matter have become a go to destination for me. This large-scale painting featured at Daniel Weinberg drew attention from every angle. In addition to a palette that seems branded as his own, the image of an erstwhile collector couple was pitch perfect for the well healed art patrons that attended the opening preview on Friday evening. Part parody/ part criticism/ part affection. Pure delight.

Alison Rossiter at Yossi Milo

What do you do with abstract diptychs arranged in a haphazard salon style grid? Well, when you find out that they are manipulated vintage expired photographic paper, exposed and developed by hand you swoon, that’s what. Alison Rossiter has been harnessing none camera photographic techniques for a while and Yossi Milo has the balls to exhibit them. Kudos to Milo for championing an esoteric and intellectually sublime synthesis of new and old school effort. They reference Barnett Newman, Tony Smith and Elsworth Kelly. And they act as an elegy to Silver Gelatin Paper which generations from now may be a footnote in the history of art materials.

EV Day at Martha Otero

E.V. Day is just cool. I’m pleased to see that she is both expanding her visual paradigms of exploding dresses and making them compact and tangible. Here’s a vitrine at Martha Otero of a suspended pair of crotchless red panties. The metaphor is both weightless sexy rapture and bondage. Empowerment and submission. No mean feat that!

James White at Max Wigram

James White was a discovery for me but this painting left me breathless. Delicately painted in grisaille oil, the translucent curtain almost breathed in and out with the outside breeze. The other two grisaille paintings on display at Max Wigram were less effective and more illustrational than evocative. But this piece was a winner. Why the painting was encased in a plexiglass box is anyone’s guess but it detracted from the pleasure of not only the image but the evanescent paint handling.

Tom LaDuke at Angles Gallery

Tom LaDuke‘s paintings combine an intense photo-realistic precision with a painterly abstraction that verges on cake decoration. The gray field beneath those impasto gestures is the reflection of a Television screen, this one with the image of Jack Nicholson in the Shining. The defaced purity of the image is jarring. the simultaneity of dissonant styles verges of schizophrenia. See a LaDuke painting and one won’t soon forget it. The experience attaches itself to one’s aesthetic hard drive like a beneficent virus. Angels Gallery always has rigorous work.

Rinko Kawauchi at Rose Gallery

And lastly there’s Rinko Kawauchi a whispering poet in a sea of carnival barkers. Blink and one could easily overlook the meditative nuance of Kawauchi’s intimate photographic paradigm. Indeed see one and you could admittedly dismiss the views as either amateur or accidental. But dip your toe in her sea of tranquil observations and it’s a balm of focus. Rose Gallery installed a nice selection in a zigzag that complemented unexpected nature of her work. The more I see of this artist, the more I like and am impressed.

Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, October 1st, 2011

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