Art History, Interrupted
at CMay Gallery
Through May 1
By Genie Davis.
The works of Andy Bauch, Bobbie Moline-Kramer, and Jay Mark Johnson offer a stunning series of contrasts in a strong show at CMay Gallery in the Pacific Design Center. Well-curated by Shana Nys Dambrot, the images are striking and fascinating in their contrasts, colors, and approaches to landscape, portraits, and abstraction. Nys Dambrot says “In the hands of these three contemporary practitioners, the intentionality, expectations, techniques, and materiality of these genres are inverted and subverted…”
Bauch has created pixilated, pointillist images that are highly textured and hypnotic. Shaping fine art out of Lego bricks is both a cutting-edge and delightfully lighthearted concept; yet under Bauch’s touch, the textures of his 8-Bit Art History series is as accomplished as it is fresh. His realistic portrait of “Chuck Close,” presented in a limited color palette of pinks, reds, blacks, and whites uses 17,100 Lego pieces to shape a hauntingly intense work. In a brighter orange palette, the more abstract 13,000-plus Lego work depicting the profile of his “Ringmaster,” vibrates like a shape emerging from the static of a TV screen without cable, and pays homage to Seraut’s “La Parade.”
Moline-Kramer works in layers, merging forms such as portraiture and abstract images. In her American Shunga series, her work is softly sensual, a fusion of the diffuse that includes enigmatic torsos and buttocks in representative erotic drawing. Shunga are Japanese erotic images which the artist discovered while traveling; her of-the-moment work in this genre is emotional and strong.
Making her section of the exhibition more immersive, an original soundtrack by her collaborator, composer Geoff Levin, creates an absorbing audio component. In “Landing Strip,” working in oil, graphite, and colored gesso on paper and wood, the artist evokes the sensuality of a woman’s body with additional, layered images that add to the erotic tension without dominating the viewer. “Roving Hills” is similarly sensual and diffuse, an experience to be explored and savored.
Landscape photographer Johnson offers images he refers to as timelines, filled with motion and color. With “Bauen Wohnen Streifen #1, Hamburg, Germany,” Johnson works with Durst Lambda print, film, and aluminum. Here, a perfectly formed image of a cement truck trundles through a series of lush striped lines that signify rapid travel, and hurtle the viewer into what could be an alternate reality. Minute and fully rendered, full color elephants trundle across a meteoric soaring landscape in “Amboseli #126, Amboseli Conservancy, Kenya.” The lush colors pull the viewer into a speeding image of a veldt – as if the landscape were observed from a moving rocket ship, but the central figures upon it were viewed in real-time. Hypnotic, rich, and filled with light, Johnson’s work is compelling both technically and artistically; he’s created his images using a slit-scan camera.
It would be hard not to love the visual acrobatics of this exhibition, but what in the end makes it most powerful are the fresh and diverse approaches to artistic concepts that can in other hands, at times feel stale. Delving into portraiture as textural, sculptural Lego-formed images, Bauch offers brilliant detail that without his careful attention might go unremarked. The inviting yet surreal landscapes Johnson creates are truly dynamic, the viewer both speeds and stills along with the images, absorbing an entirely new view of the world, and time. And Moline-Kramer has created physical bodies that feel almost tangible and touchable with her mysterious, layered works.
8687 Melrose Ave Space B226
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Monday – Friday: 10 AM – 6 PM