Beyond Oy Too Scared to Ha-Ha
New Works by Marisa Takal through Jan 13, 2018
Night Gallery, Los Angeles
By Kathy Zimmerer
Marisa Takal works from an aerial view, a disjointed perspective where the viewer is privy to all her random thoughts and images. Sporting titles that are poetic, very long and unwieldy, her large-scale paintings allow the viewer’s eye to travel the intricate surface like a jigsaw puzzle. Whether delving into the mysteries of antibiotics or intestines or brazenly titling her painting, Jewish Desire; she takes the viewer on a zigzag visual journey. Giant pink and purple intestines form a kind of suffocating maze in her painting Clindamycin 8 am…as the intestines are framed by greenery her work becomes a kind of interior/exterior painting of flattened out forms and busy surfaces and textures.
It is a strangely effective use of space, with a remnant of Phillip Guston in her use of awkward shapes and Pepto Bismol pink. In her painting, Drama, Noise, Four Women on A Boat… white ladders lead the eye up the canvas and her images conjure up all kinds of questions, are the hands shown in the flowing white negative space reaching out to be saved? Or do they want to be held? Red dots are strategically placed, as are rectangular insets, against the multi faceted surface of ocean which changes colors continually. All of it encompassed in a fenced off viewing area.
As always, the viewer is presented with multiple vantage points with her juxtaposed and jangling images that keep transforming and morphing. A bizarre road trip takes place in Only Friend a Place for Safety… as a figure in a purple shirt hikes up and down multiple hills and trails, juxtaposed with a car traveling along the highway lined with power lines. Layers of blue sky and meandering trails fill the picture frame and a random road trip vibe emanates from the painting. Her use of lush colors sets off the black lines and trails, and the painting has an electric vibrancy. Her predilection for a bird’s eye view echoes that of Grandma Moses, the folk artist whose charming New England vistas were full of people and buildings painted in a naïve style.
This affinity for a primitive style also that energizes her painted tableau such as Something I-N-G Crossing the Street up the Hill…. as she creates a patchwork quilt of varying shades of green in the countryside where a cow is in a pasture and a car zooms by, the entire scene is encompassed by a white picket fence, and the whole is intersected by a horizon of blue. This entire pastoral twilight zone is interconnected with a tangled skein of red lines. Energy also empowers Jewish Desire, where words such as God, Resist Hate, Marriage, New York, coexist underground from the vibrant city on top of it with its multi storied, glass paned buildings. Or it could be a sidewalk that spills into the street, with rectilinear grids making a pattern where the words that have such power are scrawled.