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May 2009, Culver Gallery Walk

 Dotting the Eyes and Crossing the Tees, 2009 Dave Muller, Acrylic on paper, 62 1/2 x 122 1/2 inches framed; photo credit: Joshua White, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

 

Dave Muller, Farnaz Farmand, Kim McCarty, Walead Beshty -
Culver Gallery Walk, Los Angeles Art Weekend
April 3, 2009


The first weekend in April was an unusual few days in this spread out metropolis where art and culture don’t generally seem all that accessible. Marking the second annual public Los Angeles Art Weekend, the city’s cultural institutions collectively reached out to the public – transforming the local art scene into an inclusive community.

For one of the weekend events, nine galleries stayed open after dark on Friday to host the Culver Gallery Walk. The former industrial strip of La Cienega Boulevard in Culver City has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, and now is the home of several galleries. A crowd of local art aficionados strolled along the sidewalk enjoying free bottles of Grolsch and weaving in and out of the galleries to view an eclectic mix of exhibits by local artists.

A few that stood out:

Dave Muller at Blum & Poe
2754 South La Cienega Boulevard
February 21 to April 4, 2009


Like his work, Dave Muller is engaging, fun and insightful. The highlight of the evening was the artist’s walk through of his captivating exhibit, iamthewalrus – borrowed from the phrase in the John Lennon song. Muller has combined acrylic washes with whimsical line drawings on paper to create large-scale works influenced by the role of music in his life. Muller, whose work has been shown internationally for 15 years, has had a dual career as a DJ since his involvement in college radio.

The Beatles appear as a recurring theme in this collection. There are witty drawings of John, Paul, George and Ringo as nesting Russian Matryoshka dolls. A series of four larger pieces, at first glance, appears to be collage with shredded paper. A closer look reveals the painted renderings of a shredded Sgt. Pepper album, Sgt. Pepper (Chopped and Screwed).

In one room, a series of large split images confronts the viewer: free form doodles on one side, juxtaposed with representative images - a cow in a field of grass in Dotting the Eyes and Crossing the Tees, or rocks, plants, a globe, in some of the others - painted in an almost impressionistic style. The cow, Muller explained, was extrapolated from a summer walk in Vermont with his daughter. In Kicking against the Depths, a monochromatic puffer fish is balanced by colorful swirls and matrices of paint opposite. “I channeled my inner Pollock with a stick,” Muller explained.

For Muller, more important than how the two sides of each piece were related, was the way each piece in its entirety connected to all the others in the space. “I wanted to put them together – a diptych type of thing – to see how they fit with each other, set up a bunch of pieces like game pieces. You could flip it, even if the cow was upside down… I actually made a model of the show to see how all the pieces would fit,” said Muller.




Walead Beshty, Untitled (LA><ART: Los Angeles, California, March 21 – May 2, 2009), 2009 Laminated glass and mirror, Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist and LA><ART: Los Angeles, Photography c. Fredrik Nilsen

Walead Beshty at LAXArt
2640 South La Cienega Boulevard
March 21 to May 2, 2009


At LAXART, Walead Beshty spoke about his exhibition, Passages, and like Muller, how he’d carefully considered his work in relation to the space. Passages is a collection of photographs Beshty produced by passing unused film through airport x-ray machines, along with architectural and cinematic elements and a public billboard painted on the front of the building.

Along the gallery walls, the photographs appear as abstract muted skyscapes. To reflect the images, Beshty installed architectural mirrors on the floor, which continuously shatter under the footsteps of the viewers, fracturing the reflections. The exhibit is installation-based said Beshty, in that he accepted the parameters of the gallery as preconditions for presenting the work, so that the viewer should see the art as a product of the space.

 

Farnaz Farmand, Crème de la Crème, 2009, detail, image courtesy JK Gallery



Farnaz Farmand at JK Gallery
2632 South La Cienega Boulevard
April 4 to May 9, 2009

Farmand’s show, Plunge Into Liquid, is a collection of abstract oil compositions in which the artist has manipulated her medium as if in a dialogue with color and texture. At once sensual, tactile and intense, some of Farmand’s paintings have thickly applied impasto up to an inch above the surface - almost sculptural - with paint applied in globs or layered with a palette knife. In other pieces, the oil is thinned, conforming to the smooth surface of the panel, almost like a lacquer.

The painting Crème de la Crème is a luxurious swirl of pinks, yellows and pistachios, the palette reminiscent of an ice cream parlor or the icing on an elaborate cake, the rosettes having melted. Farmand takes another approach in Dawnburst and Nectria, two works that look almost like inkblots, the color more liquid. Up close, the piece, Others Call it Infatuation, displays a subtle interplay of color, but from a distance, the glossy veneered texture is the main focus.


 

Kim McCarty, September 15, 2008, 2008, Watercolor on Arches paper, 60 x 44 inches, 64 3/4 x 49 3/4 inches (framed),
Image courtesy of Kim Light/LightBox, Photo @ Ed Glendinning



Kim McCarty at Kim Light/Light Box
2656 South La Cienega Boulevard
March 14 to May 16, 2009

The antithesis of Farnaz Farmand’s rich textured oils, Kim McCarty’s New Works are subtle translucent watercolors. Achieving a studied balance of fluidity and control, McCarty’s images are sensitively delineated silhouettes of figures, flowers, leaves - with free flowing washes inside the outlines.

Using a wet-in-wet technique, McCarty allows the washes to merge, so that pigments co-mingle, forming seams of color. Five nearly life-size portraits are defined with exquisite delicacy and detail. In a series of 12 smaller figures, all faceless except two - the anatomical contours bleed into muted form. Graceful renditions, the figures - even those without faces - manage to convey expression through eloquent gesture or pose.

Megan Abrahams

Megan Abrahams is a Los Angeles-based writer and artist. The managing editor of Fabrik Magazine, she is also a contributing art critic for Art Ltd., Fabrik, ArtPulse and Whitehot magazines. Megan attended art school in Canada and France. She is currently writing her first novel and working on a new series of paintings. 

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