Jan 26, 2012

Art LA

A good show at the Santa Monica airport last weekend. I liked the sense of impending doom that came from hearing planes roar overhead all day. Here's some work that caught my eye.

Soo Kim, Angles Gallery, LA
Soo Kim carefully cuts out substance within her prints to reveal empty space beneath. The craftsmanship is beautiful and the resulting negative space creates a semi-sculptural piece that references both absence and presence. Aesthetically pleasing, conceptually intriguing.

Sean  Dack - Fitzroy Gallery, NYC
Dack’s unique c-prints begin with straightforward photographs of recognizable subjects which are then  disrupted or left incomplete as they are transformed from analogue to digital or digital to analogue. But it is through these negotiations between digital and analog that Dack allows something new to emerge.

"In the end, what I am after is something that still relates to the language of photography, but breaks free of the use of a camera, as well as plays with the notion of a correct image, or what is assumed to be what a photograph should look like."

Sam Falls, American Contemporary Gallery, NYC
In these images Fall starts with dark and rather boring images of things—peppers, blackberries, tires—and these uses the object being photographed as a paintbrush to reflect a brighltly colored physicality of the object. Nice gimmick but I'm not sure if this particular concept has a lot of legs. 

Isaac Layman, Lawrimore Project, Seattle
Isaac Layman is an abstract photographer of my own heart, taking everyday objects and through lighting, framing and Photoshop turns them into extraordinary images. I don't know what this object is and didn't even want to ask (although I'm guessing that it's the lid to a pot). I'm always slightly annoyed when people look at my abstracts and their first utterance is "What is it?" But I often do the same with others' work, we're just so tied to the idea that photography is always "of" something. We're fascinated and visually challenged when we can't figure out what "it" is, to paraphrase Bill Clinton. We're accustomed to absorbing the feeling or energy from an abstract painting, why does photography so beg a need for physical connection?

John Duncan, Gallery Niklas Belenius
Jigsaw puzzles on AL

John Duncan riffs on Courbet's L’Origine du monde by creating a reference that's a limited relief photo sculpture made of puzzle pieces. Behind the missing genitalia is a dull-finished aluminum which quite cleverly presents your own blurred reflection upon closer inspection. I like the historical reference, the way in which the image affronts the viewer, and even the concept of missing pieces in feminism, but like Sam Fall's work it seems a bit of a one-trick pony. Perhaps visual stopping power is a criteria for these shows as this image was drawing a lot of people into the booth. Quiet work is at a disadvantage when you're fighting for attention but quiet work is more likely to make me think, and to stick with me, than even your above-average pussy shot.

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