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Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90034 | T 310 838 6000


June 01, 2011

Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions:
Doug Simay's Best Picks

Gail Roberts at Luis De Jesus (Bergamot, closing)
Considering the breadth and tenure of her painting career, Gail Roberts’ new paintings are transcendent. Her imagery is still built on reality. But the new work effectively plays as abstraction. Her confidence with the brush, particularly in the two largest paintings, is wonderful to behold.  [ VISIT SITE ]

May 27, 2011


Gail Roberts pairs with Robert Kushner, and the disparity is readily apparent. But look closer; the strands of the bird's nests Roberts paints in such exacting detail, at such dizzyingly large scale, recur oibliquely in the ornate lines Kushner draws through his collages. And the texts that give Kushner's paper pieces such texture can be read into the calligraphies Roberts has collapsed into her close-ups, and often makes literal behind them in the form of newsprint or even specific books.   more

There is thus a "pleasure of the text" in both artists' work - although in Roberts' oddly poignant images it contrasts with the pleasures of nature, while in Kushner's almost diaristic pieces, composed of pages drawn from a vast variety of sources, the pleasure is of multiple texts in a multitude of hands and alphabets. In both cases the artists convey a solid, seductive pleasure of the texture, of course rendered (and somewhat equivocal) in Roberts' case while literal (and rampant) in Kushner's, but immediate in both.
- Peter Frank [ READ ON ]

May 12, 2011


When I was very young I found a bird's nest in my backyard. I was completely fascinated by the perfect structure, the smoothness of the inner sanctum, the delicate weaving, and the way feathers and tiny streamers had been interwoven with the leaves and sticks. It became a precious object to me, one that I carried with me to college dorm rooms and various apartments through the years. I still have it.

The combination of bird's nests and books is an interesting one. One is built upon ideas and concepts, the other as a structure to perpetuate the species.   more

Yet one could say that reading and books are one of the greatest touchstones of a culture, one of the most important ways in which we note, discuss and value our society, a part of the nest, that perpetuates who we are and what we believe in. Each of the books chosen by the artist (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and “The Raven”, to name a few) are classics with strong statements made about society in a specific time and place. Many of the books will have personal meaning for the viewer, for me “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” was a revelation in high school. Several of the paintings display the pages with text revealed and here the artist makes certain fragments important as in "...remember it is a sin to kill" or "The freedom of birds is an insult to me." These remnants removed from the context of the entire book, become messages about the work. And too, there is the type itself on crumbled pages with shadows and deformities, as abstract images they have their own kind of sparse beauty.

The nests represent home and safety”a place of hard work, protection, growth, food, and then departure. A symbol of the typical family structure and like the books they are paired with, a physical object, one of beauty but not in the typical sense. The nests are painted with great detail, small paintings within paintings, they are a combination of lines of light mixed up with planes of rectangular shapes of man produced plastics and paper or a swirl of feathers. They have a deep center of darkness that burrows into the unknown.

In several of the paintings the book and nest are set in water, often a symbol for the soul. Perhaps the artist is saying that whether it's the complex ideals of our society or the structures upon which we live, it's all just flotsam and jetsam floating down the river of our spirit.

The show runs through May 28 at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.
 [ READ ON ]

May 12, 2011

Bergamot Station Hosts Diverse Exhibits - The work of artists Gail Roberts, Robert Kushner, Richard C. Miller and Elliot Erwitt are showcased at the Santa Monica complex.

Through May 28 - Luis De Jesus Gallery is exhibiting two very different artists: Gail Roberts and Robert Kushner. Roberts is a painter of extraordinary skill and mastery of the medium. Several large-scale canvases of bird nests fill the main gallery. Each nest is compositionally centered and set against a book with faintly legible text. There’s a tactile realism that makes the images slightly uncomfortable. On the metaphorical level, the nests are either abandoned or purposefully taken out of the context of their natural function.   more

Either interpretation lends an air of morbidity to the proceedings.

Kushner is also a masterful painter of quite some international renown. Fabric patterns and flowers often do battle against geometric grounds of color and gold leaf. The result is often the visual equivalent of a slow-motion kung fu action sequence but with beauty and elegance substituting for fists and feet.  [ READ ON ]

May 07, 2011

Gail Roberts: Entanglement at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Gail Roberts' current exhibit at Luis De Jesus is a comprehensive interpretation of the "San Diego light" and for me an open book to my art education. While I was at the exhibition, I began to revisit my introduction to Diego Velasquez and Thomas Eakins. Roberts's work reaches for the light with tentacles. The nests are lines in space moving in and out of light and shadows. The paintings' lavender haze is a tribute to the ocean breezes misting the local sunlight.   more

Additionally, as persistent targets of light, the nests can hypnotically draw in and escort the viewer through the artwork.

"it's a sin to kill a..." is a phrase seen on Roberts's To Kill. The To Kill a Mockingbird reference is a reminder to appreciate the preciousness of nature and the intrinsic value of beauty and aesthetics. Man's literature is a backdrop for natural elements. The book passages are the artist's personal selections and are reflective of Jenny Holzer's Truisms. Roberts's Looking Glass "and so the birds was right about it..." are reminiscent of Holzer's "I feel you, and I smell you on my skin."

The classic paperbacks and organic nests serve as a contrast and a glimpse into the future. With books online and "Kindles", books are becoming a remnant of the past. The nest is shaping into one of nature's relics. A close-up view of birds' instinctual architectural structures is seen in man's structures made from straw, sticks, paper, etc. Roberts has spent her lifetime communing with nature and documenting the changes in her environment through her paintings.

--Sandra Vista

Gail Roberts: Entanglement
April 16, 2011 - May 28, 2011

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2525 Michigan Avenue, Bergamot Station F2
Santa Monica, CA 90404

April 21, 2011


“Entanglement,” a new show of paintings by Gail Roberts at Luis De Jesus in Bergamot Station, explores ideas and questions of home, intellectual growth, and man’s relationship to nature. The large paintings of nests paired with books and pages of text showcase her beautiful technique and prove a continued exploration of many of the themes she has explored throughout her long career. Be sure to check out the show before it ends on May 28. [ READ ON ]

April 20, 2011


Overlooking Seattle’s industrial, corporate SoDo neighborhood, Margie Livingston’s long, spacious studio rests in a building of independent, office-like workspaces. A canopy of overhanging grid sculptures and an adjacent geometric bookshelf at the studio’s entrance reference Livingston’s grid-based paintings of several years prior. Her most recent three-dimensional Paint Objects appear with greatest frequency at the opposite end of the room.   more

Moving through her space, from entrance to window, Livingston’s studio offers an unconsciously structured progression of her approach to painting, beginning with the most theoretical objects and ending with the most physical [ READ ON ]

April 08, 2011

Haiku Reviews: Peter Frank on "we're not here to waste time!"

Brought together under the unusual rubric "we're not here to waste time!", two Los Angeles artists, Nena Amsler and Miyoshi Barosh, join with New Yorker Nava Lubelski to define a hybrid aesthetic straddling art and craft, high and low, public and private, humor and aggression. All three artists apply work-intensive techniques to elaborate jokes and throwaway gestures, celebrating decay and disfigurement while retaining control over form and, if anything, amplifying the sensuosity of materials both precious and abject.   more

Lubelski's painstakingly stitched holes and puddles, comprising their own abstract compositions, mirror the carefully minted blotches Barosh visits on thrift-store-style images and surrealistically squalid furniture. By comparison, Amsler's expansive structures seem aloof and almost austere, but are in fact no less funky in concept or aggressively tactile in substance.- Peter Frank [ VISIT SITE ]

April 05, 2011


The three artists in this exhibition--Nena Amsler, Miyoshi Barosh, and Nava Lubelski--make works that resist being slotted into traditional categories like sculpture or painting, decoration or craft. Materially and visually, their pieces exhibit permeability or seepage--holes, drips, and stains figure prominently throughout--indicating a space where one object or concept blends into or creates a dialectic with another.   more

These artists’ material-conceptual investigations invoke the relational perspective of the French feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray, who writes in her 2008 book Sharing the World, “It is no longer a question of moving in a space arranged by the words of only one subject, but of taking the risk to open one’s own world in order to move forward to meet with another world.” [ READ ON ]

April 05, 2011

All The Pretty Nests - Q&A With Gail Roberts

San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles, April 2011
Art & Artists | By Mark Hiss • Portrait Photography by Will Gullette

RESPONDING VISCERALLY TO HER SURROUNDINGS,painter Gail Roberts creates works of art that depict the world in detail, unsentimental beauty.   more

Often working in series--highlighting everything from landscapes to people in mid cell=phone conversation--her art has been exhibited around the country and internationally and is part of the permanent collection of, among others, the San Diego Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Oakland Museum of California. [Click PDF link to READ ON]  View the Article [PDF]