“Text Message” at Loft at Liz’s
By Genie Davis
Through April 29th
Text Message at Loft at Liz’s is an exciting, dynamic, simply fun show. Curated by Randi Kreeft, the show features the work of Fred Feldmesser, Stuart Kusher, Michael Flechtner, Theodore Svenningsen, and Senon Williams. Whether created from neon, mixed media, or ink on paper, the works weave a potent combination of language and visual beauty. Some are scatalogical, some are poetic, some make viewers startle and laugh, some shock, some entrance. Regardless of the reaction the works cause, each is a vibrant, current, and ultimately cool take on today’s text/screen/online culture.
Fred Feldmesser offers mixed media works in a variety of mediums. A computer screen is the background for “Stop Looking,” which smacks viewers with the admonishment “Stop Looking At The Fucking Screen.” Using a chalkboard as a canvas instead of a computer screen, Feldmesser points out “Lessons Learned in School,” while rusted iron is the basis for the mixed media “Stop Making Fucking Bullets.” Cellphones create a wall sculpture with “I Cannot Hear,” whose message is “I Cannot Hear a Fucking Word You Are Saying.” And a globe is the medium on which the words “We Do Not Belong Here” are set. The phrases, some political, some almost spiritual, some truly inspired-funny – such as “Raw Sex,” which features an exposed motherboard, are well served by their mediums, from tiles to an antique saw used as their canvas. Smart, savvy, and visually deep, Feldmesser offers text that is highly textural.
Using neon, Michael Flechtner makes gorgeous, colorful text pop into kinetic life. “This is NOT a Neon Sign!” is proclaimed in bright pink/red; “I See You” is a white and pale blue ‘U’ that appears to be melting. “Flying Fuck” is winged, the blue wings flapping around the red letters; “WMD’s” are missle shaped and labeled “A, M, F.” The clever “4 Square” features the numeral four in a black box with a halo of Google-Chrome colors. The inside-LA-art-scene joke of “Mat Gleason Before He Mats You” says exactly that in orangey-red neon. And an outline of a cow, within which resides the word “Yes” spelled in currency, stands on a hill illuminated with the words “Jesus Saves.” The title: “Moolah!” Like many of Flechtner’s works, this piece glows with meaning and color and light.
Stuart Kusher contributes the large scale mixed-media “Sketchbook,” which includes a variety of objects, shapes, drawings, and painted images in a wall-sized work that serves as a treasure-hunt of images and meaning. Chinese calligraphy, the number ‘63’, a profile masked by a piece of metal that creates a Phantom of the Opera-like image – it’s all here, and worth a long study.
Theodore Svenningsen works in acrylic on canvas and mixed media on paper here. “A Good Painting to Buy (decor)” suggests beneath its sunset sky and somewhat ominous house, that “It will go well with your decor.” Equally trenchant and witty is it’s companion piece “A Good Painting to Buy (hierarchy)” which notes “The artist will be given the official nod by the art world hierarchy in the future.” There’s a lot of power in the monolithic image and light-topped wire tower, the small white-branched tree, and the liquid surface of the ground in the painting.
Senon Williams’ ink on paper works are almost delicate compared to the big/bold look of many of the other pieces in the show. “No Data” features people carrying sticks or spears climbing a dark and ragged mountain against a searing orange sunset. “Speaking Non Speaking” positions those words against an orange and yellow sky and a dark, slanted earth. They’re beautiful, watery, evocative.
Each artist here has a singular vision, and something to say – both in text and images. The best art, after all, should surely have a message. In “Text Message,” meaning comes through loud and clear.