Playing Aesthetic Powerball at Art Los Angeles Contemporary
The odds might be stacked against you but you can’t win without playing the game. Winning, for me, is finding art that vibrates and resonates. Playing the game by extension means attending another Art Fair, this time Art Los Angeles Contemporary at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica.
When is a painting both a painting and a sculpture? Julia Rommel. The awkward nature of that brief Q&A comes close to approximating the tension and charm of one of Ms. Rommel’s works of art at Bureau Gallery from the Lower East Side in Manhattan. The painting as a whole is an attractive composition of Gray, Teal, Black and chalky Blue. Certain aspects have resonant echos of Richard Diebenkorn. Abstract by description but not necessarily by design. Upon further investigation, the painting becomes an object and far from a flat plane. The linen has been stretched over the support after it’s execution. Creases, fissures and folds attest to the effort. Asymmetry flirts your eye into revealing staples on the right edge while the left side is wrapped around, the painting’s surface disappearing from view. Here is a painting whose retinal pleasures are immediately shadowed by mysterious choices, which remarkably remain uncontrived, earnest yet playful. I could well imagine living with this piece and it never looking the same. I am vexed and enchanted.
While I had some curious encounters with several other pieces of art, one resonates more than others. Gillmeier/Rech Gallery from Berlin had as its center piece a gate made from black painted steel. It stood easily ten feet tall and its two doors could be opened and walked through. Each door’s design was a graphic variation of a hand. The sculpture is by Polish Artist Zuzanna Czebatul, who the thoroughly engaging dealer shared with me was a bouncer at a dance club. The piece had surprising resonance. Sometimes the most elegant statement comes from a simple idea extremely well executed.
Art Los Angeles Contemporary Continues Through Jan 31st, 2016 at the Barker Hanger on the grounds of Santa Monica Airport.
-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, 2016