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


February 14, 2011


Jackson Pollack did away with the brush and Margie Livingston has done away with the canvas in the same kind of impulsive way. Creating paintings that are "objects" (the show is titled Paint Objects) by using acrylic paint, Livingston creates layered paint in a three dimensional fashion. Plastic yet sensuous, some pieces drape, slither and unfold while others are like fruits or geodes sliced in half to reveal inner seeds and gems.   more

Displayed like precious knick knacks, as a rope hanging from the ceiling, or folds of material, these vinyl objects become artifacts from the future.

This show runs through February 27 at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. [ VISIT SITE ]

February 14, 2011

big pick: geoffrey todd smith

Crazy quilting meets Pac Man here, where space is filled in precise increments to create optical grids that pulse and move. At various distances from the paintings, different visuals are revealed. Close up it's a vision of Easter egg madness, tiny ovals and circles painted in gouache flatness that manage to make your eyes bounce with their brilliance. At a distance it's an affect similar to needlepoint where tiny stitches create a vast image.   more

It's this combination of detail and illusion that make the pieces personal, like one's own internal morse code.

The show runs through February 27 at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. [ VISIT SITE ]

February 01, 2011


An amazing thing happened Thursday night when I attended the opening of Art Los Angeles Contemporary. Afterall this was my third art fair in as many weeks. Quite to my delight, I loved it. The previous two fairs didn’t jade me or my retinas. I must admit to having been slightly queasy at the prospect. I really was fully expecting to be aesthetically bushwacked. But the exact opposite was true.

An art fair where discoveries out pace the known is truly a marvelous event and this fair delivered exactly that. [ VISIT SITE ]

February 01, 2011

Can an L.A. Art Fair Be Loved?

LOS ANGELES” "Art fairs aren't fair," criminally underrated Los Angeles painter Karen Carson quipped to me last Saturday, halfway through the city's annualesque descent into art-world multitasking known as Art Los Angeles Contemporary.   more

Her remark, made in the midst ” of all places ” of a new show of Chuck Arnoldi's unrepentant 1980s abstractions at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, begged the obvious question, "But are they art?" As someone who tends to avoid even regular openings because of the kinesthetic and pheremonal interference generated by herds of desperate careerists, I was surprised to survive the weekend with a firm answer: Maybe.

With exponentially frantic circles of activity expanding around last weekend's fair to cap off the official "L.A. Arts Month," the horror vacuii of art events ” extravaganza displays, special gallery programming across a dozen or so art scenes, unique performance events, fundraising auctions, video screenings, cocktail parties, and anti-censorship protests ” takes on an almost transcendental sublimity, like surrendering to the overwhelming intricacy of a Persian rug or Bach cantata. Almost. [ READ ON ]

February 01, 2011

IN L.A.: Art Los Angeles Contemporary opening night

I attended the opening night of Art Los Angeles Contemporary: The International Contemporary Art Fair of L.A (ALAC) at Barker Hanger and it was packed with amazing artwork and galleries from all over the world. ALAC launched last year and since then has gained notoriety as Southern California’s top contemporary art fair. The opening evening was a huge success; there were red dots everywhere, with some galleries selling out within the first hour.   more

Following are a few photos from the evening, however if you’re in the Los Angeles area you should really stop by to see all the artwork. [ VISIT SITE ]

January 24, 2011


Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce our participation in ART LOS ANGELES CONTEMPORARY, the International Fair of Contemporary Art, taking place at the Barker Hanger (Santa Monica Airport) in Santa Monica, California, from January 27-30, 2011.

The Gallery will present Federico Solmi's monumental video installation 'Douche Bag City' (edition 1 of 5), comprised of 15 individual video animations with sound and custom designed frames.   more

This particular edition was produced and exhibited at 'The Dissolve' - SITE Santa Fe 2010 Biennial. It is the last available edition. Federico Solmi will be present at the booth during the fair.

In addition, the Gallery will present a suite of eight new 'scratched' and silver spray-painted photographs titled 'Framing Exercises' by L.A. artist Christopher Russell. Each photograph is a unique, one-of-a-kind work whose ornate scroll designs Russell has 'etched' by hand, and are inspired by the border illustrations created by William Morris for a 19th century edition of the Canterbury Tales. A similar pair was featured in his sold-out solo presentation at NADA in Miami this past December.

We will also present new abstract paintings by Heather Gwen Martin (her recent solo show at the Gallery was selected as one of the 'Top Ten' exhibitions in Southern California in 2010), and a new limited edition ceramic and neon sculpture by David Adey, whose work is currently on view in the 2010 California Biennial.

We look forward to seeing you at the Fair.

For further information or images, please contact the Gallery at +1-310-453-7773, or email

January 13, 2011


The shooting in Tucson, Arizona last weekend produced some valuable teachable moments over the course of the week. It was tempting to attribute the act to an atmosphere of political extremism that has produced a number of near and smaller tragedies, but the more substantial cause in this case was mental illness (itself an important public issue). Sarah Palin's self-consciously crafted statement revealed how the real person can be glimpsed even in the most controlled public performance.   more

In her case it was a shocking, but not surprising display of empty bromides, intense hostility and narcissism. Then the president demonstrated the right way to produce a larger message to the nation even as he eulogized the victims as individuals. Their personal stories became the components of a narrative that integrated a larger mythos of family, community, heroism and that sense of possibility that energizes us to move forward. Hope, even in the face of great grief or hardship. There is an important point to this, and I find a path to it through my own experience of art.

When I look over the exhibitions our editors and writers are excited by week in and week out I experience each artist's work for its own particular merits. For example, this week we cover Laura Mackin's series of videos, "Time Enough," based on over a half century of home movies by a man named Dean. The artist successfully recasts endlessly quotidian banality into an aesthetic statement that emerges out of processes of categorization and compilation. Regarding Margie Livingston's objects constructed from acrylic paint, Jeannie R. Lee says that they "started with a hairball." The challenge of depicting the light filtering through so ordinary an object launched the artist into a journey in which one thing lead to another until, over time, the work comprising her current exhibition came into being, with no obvious relationship to that original source. Just as these two artists generated a body of work from the most seemingly unpromising starting point, so do the videos of Mackin and sculptures by Livingston display an intriguing connection between the rapid fire but related fragments in the videos and the rolled or folded sheets of paint. That connection readily expands to include some aspects of the other art our writers engage so as to create a common, one might say a civic space. Significantly, this is inevitably a large and open-ended space, one might say a free space.

Long experience has taught me that given that such a meritorious gathering is made up of arbitrary parts, there are larger lessons, coincidentally shared as well as contradictory issues, a meta-narrative that implies a new if imperfect whole.

What the president did with the random biographies of the shooting victims, who themselves have entered into the national mythos at random, was illuminate that inevitable connective tissue. I think we all gathered that his was a metaphor of national reconciliation, a call for civility. That this is the ├╝ber-theme of the Obama presidency is not a point that need be elaborated on or critiqued here. What struck me is that without realizing it my private knowledge has been that the nature of art draws even the most diverse creative people into shared orbits all the time. Not in spite of but by virtue of the very pursuit of distinction there arises common purpose. The patchwork is rough, but so is that of America itself.

The tragedy of Tucson provided the unexpected occasion for collective self-examination. The president's narrative has clarified the process. If it is important that Americans challenge each others' ideas without, as he suggested, doubting adversaries' love of country, it is essential that we honestly criticize the creative production and strategies of artists while never forgetting to honor the largesse of the aesthetic enterprise.

(This article was written by Bill Lasarow, publisher, ArtScene, and appeared on February 13, 2011) [ VISIT SITE ]

January 09, 2011


Charles Stainback, curator of photography at the Norton Museum of Art, told the opening night crowd for Now WHAT? that he’d wondered what the museum’s new director, Hope Alswang, would make of the “wacky” proposal he and curator of contemporary art Cheryl Brutvan had dreamed up: The two would mosey on down to Art Basel 2010 and, over the course of several days, put together a show of some of the best new work they found there.   more

The result is a testament to the two curators’ fine eyes and impeccable taste, and to Alswang’s faith in them.

The Norton describes the show’s theme as “information exchange,” which works well, and is timely. I came to see the show through another, perhaps equally wide lens: Obsession.

Tenacity and intelligence undergird the show’s works, each piece seeming to emerge from the scratching of an aesthetic itch rather than the pursuit of a pre-determined image. The formal qualities of the pieces are varied, but they are united by an intense, and labor-intensive, working through of what if’s. There is spontaneity here, but it resides in the small gestures and choices of individual elements of the work“enough to bring warmth and humanity. But by and large, it is termite-like persistence that energizes the show.

Established names like Roxy Paine and Liza Lou are present. Paine’s “Pigeon Holes” is an exercise in taxonomy, conflating science and satire in a large-scale construction of thick skids of polymer catalogued“with one, wry insect“in a mahogany grid under plexiglass. Lou evokes Islamic art with “Offensive/Defensive,” a brilliantly colored, richly detailed patterning of glass beads on aluminum, the unsettling outline of some vaguely human figure drifting across its surface, a ghost of disorder.

Appropriately, however, for a show about “now,” the bulk of the work comes from younger and emerging artists, and much of their art radiates the delighted, excited purity of youthful self-discovery. It is work that lingers in the mind’s eye.

Strangely, and despite myself, I was greatly struck by two acrylics on canvas by Luke Butler, an under-forty, New York-born West Coast artist, both centered on images of actor William Shatner as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk. On backgrounds void of figures or any indication of depth, in washed-out pastels reminiscent of Luc Tuymans’ paintings on world historical topics, these Kirks lie eyes shut and face up, or in tantrums belly-down, as if in stills from scenes of great dramatic import. It could simply be funny, but there is a perplexing pathos in Butler’s fascinated play on the cult-like devotion inspired by this most wooden of actors, a tender concern for so failed a hero.

There is an even more hermetic air to the work of Christopher Russell, another, even younger, West Coast artist. His hand-illustrated, 30-page book “Runaway” and its accompanying wall of 18 mixed-media works on glass, “Runaway: Ghost-Ship-Wreck,” are a fractured narrative of some 19th century maritime disaster. The images, etched into the white-on-black cast of photo negatives, are haunting in every sense, a glimpse into the nightmares lonely children fall prey to in the absence of the light.

Other of the show’s works reflect more tightly focussed techniques, though, like a drill through a tunnel, their singularities issue forth into blossoms of effect.

Kim Rugg’s “The Story is One Sign” and Richard Galpin’s “Splinter XVII” have similar strategies, a calculus of subtraction applied to a single, original image. Allyson Strafella’s “foundation” and “inverted red catenary” invert their approach, though her accumulative method also involves disintegration.

Rugg’s piece takes one page from an issue of the New York Times and reproduces thirty copies of it, every appearance of all but one letter or character blotted out on each page. The instances of the exempted letter or character call out to the viewer like secret constellations or the Morse code of a lost nation.

Galpin’s piece originates in a large-scale photograph of a cityscape, from which he painstakingly peels away strips of emulsion, reducing and altering the visual field to a grid of abstract forms, Constructivist in its geometry, Futurist in its dynamism.

Strafella’s medium is ink and paper, her tool the typewriter, her technique to strike (obsessively) a single key as transfer paper moves through the machine until, through the accumulation of ink and the wear of the paper, forms emerge which are then transferred from the carbon to plain paper. The resulting images have the elegance of miniature rock gardens, the austere saturation of late Rothko.

There is more, and among other standout pieces: Brian Drury’s “Ali” is a portrait in oil on wood, the subject’s intensely thoughtful face against a high-gloss red, exactingly detailed in a gripping, almost photorealist way. Seattle artist Isaac Layman’s “Blackout” transforms a large-scale photograph of a window shrouded in a blackout sheet into a hyperrealist meditation on framing. Mickalene Thomas’s “You’re Gonna Give Me All the Love I Need” is a voluptuous, rhinestoned, African American odalisque, the culmination of a process that leads from tableau vivant to photograph to acrylic and enamel on wood.

At a moment when, as critic Peter Schjeldahl recently wrote, art seems to consist of “one damn thing after another” (and when visitors to Art Basel and its satellite fairs can feel drowned in a tsunami of commerce and ego), Now WHAT? offers a distillation of aesthetic clarity, seriousness of purpose and, not least, pure pleasure. If this is the “WHAT” that’s “now,” even the most jaded arts lover can take heart.

Norton Museum of Art
Through March 13, 2011 [ VISIT SITE ]

January 07, 2011

Artscene preview: margie livingtson at Luis De Jesus Los angeles

It started with a hairball. Margie Livingston wondered if she could draw the light filtering through that hairball ” and with this challenge, launched herself into an exploration of depicting 3D space in 2D space, but always by first constructing and then copying a model. In order to produce one of her early paintings, Livingston would build a model, often a grid-like structure of string and wood. Then the small object standing in her studio would provide inspiration for an atmospheric, tasteful oil study in space, form and light.  [ READ ON ]

January 06, 2011

christopher Knight Art review: California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art

NEWPORT BEACH -- Biennial. These days the word generates conflicting responses of anticipation and dread.

Anticipation because any sizable survey of recent contemporary art assembled by a museum curator with an eye (plus an ear to the ground) will include at least some unexpected surprises. Juxtaposed with sure-things -- artists who, for one reason or another, drew unusual recent notice -- the biennial mixture can be lively and enlightening. [ READ ON ]