Five Shows to See in Los Angeles

“Untitled,” 2016, Jia, Acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4″ x 98½”
Courtesy: Steve Turner Gallery


Jia & Luciana Lamothe, “Free Function,” at Steve Turner Gallery

The simplicity of Jia’s compositions is eloquent, four paintings with Chinese characters arranged in an orderly fashion against a clean, white ground. In each, the Chinese-born, Berlin-base artist exhumes “abandoned characters,” those prohibited during Mao’s Character Simplification Program of the 1950s, and meticulously recreates them in the style of a modern san-serif font. One pair features extinct characters arranged in a grid to highlight, through nomenclature, a category of extinct species; the other strategy combines the traditional forms with newer streamlined alternatives to create Op-like sensations, having lost their original meaning the lost characters now operate as purely visual forms. The critique is subtle, but clear and effectively amplified by the proximity of jagged, industrial sculptures by Argentinean-artist Luciana Lamothe. Using a combination iron pipes, plywood and other construction materials, the Buenos Aires-based artist creates works both aesthetically beautiful and equally ominous. (through Aug 27)

Main page image: Installation view of “Free Form” at Steve Turner Gallery

Installation view of David Hockney, “The Yosemite Suite,” on view at LA Louver

David Hockney, “The Yosemite Suite,” at LA Louver

Continuing his ongoing investigation of new technologies, the London and SoCal-based artist replaces the arcing sweep of the brush across the surface of textured canvas with that of a finger over the glossy, smooth surface of an iPad. These miniature gestures are then amplified far beyond their original scale, with several works over 7-feet-tall (with seemingly no pixilation) in this series of brightly hued, energetic landscape compositions inspired by the Yosemite National Forest-complete with the occasional tourist parking lot. (through Sept 2)

“Sanctuary,” 2015, Joseph Stashkevetch, conté crayon on rag paper, 78½” x 59½”
Courtesy: Von Lintel Gallery

Joseph Stashkevetch at Von Lintel

What at first appear to be layers of wallpaper and photographic transfers on paper reveal themselves as multi-layered meticulously hand-drawn compositions by New York-based Joseph Stashkevetch. The individual works are executed with conté crayon on rag paper before succumbing to the artist’s cuts and tears and combined. The top layer curls back to reveal contrasting images underneath, though at times its hard to tell which layer is above, which is below. As the hand-drawn interiors crumble into skillfully rendered landscapes, the artist adroitly evokes notions of crumbling empire.
(through Aug 31)

“Dead Swan/Captain’s Hill,” 1998-99, Patrick Graham, Oil and mixed media on canvas (diptych), 72″ x 132″
Courtesy: Jack Rutberg Fine Arts

Patrick Graham, “30 YEARS – The Silence Becomes the Painting,” at Jack Rutberg Fine Arts

Patrick Graham’s mixed-media paintings aren’t especially comforting to look at, nor are they meant to be. The Irish expressionist’s coarse palette of mottled earth tones, searing reds and embattled grays provide somber landscapes populated by the artist’s scrawled text, personal symbolism and distressed figures. With startling consistency, as evidenced in this retrospective exhibition curated by noted art historian and critic, Peter Selz, Graham’s paintings confronts the viewer with their consistent rawness and unflinching critique of the human condition. (extended through Aug 31)

“Untitled,” 2016, Sigrid Sandstrom, Acrylic on board, 16″ x 20″
Courtesy: Anat Egbi Gallery

Sigrid Sandström, “Other Places,” at Anat Ebgi

The current series of paintings by Swedish artist Sigrid Sandstrom is a departure from the artist’s typically large-scale paintings. Sparsely hung at intervals around the gallery, these small-scale works remain somewhat aloof, creating an increased awareness of the space between the viewer and object. Though the show is a bit uneven, at times elevating concept over realization, several gems demonstrate the artist’s formal exploitation of the medium and ability to draw attention to the architectonic process of painting, even at this reduced scale. (through Aug 27)