ON VIEW: Forays into Abstract Painting

“Brickyard Cove,” 2015, Richard Wilson

“Brickyard Cove,” 2015, Richard Wilson, acrylic on canvas, 44″ x 44″
© Richard Wilson. Photo: courtesy Louis Stern Fine Arts.

Richard Wilson, “The Pond Series”
at Louis Stern Fine Arts
Through March 25, 2017
On view at Louis Stern Fine Arts, a series of nearly monochromatic Hard Edge paintings by veteran artist Richard Wilson inspired by the artist’s childhood memories. The show’s title, The Pond Series with individual paintings named for specific ponds the artist once traversed in California and Maine, may call to mind the exuberance of Monet’s final abstractions; only here the theme has been rendered deliberately flat through an Albers-ian lens. Square canvases bisected vertically into two rectangles of similar color, edged with tints and shades of the interior hues. As exemplified by the tints of lavender, thistle, mauve and purple in Moonshine (2016), and Crayola orange offset with shades of pumpkin, tangerine and persimmon in Brickyard Cove (2015), Wilson offers a visual feast for the eyes.

“Body Awareness,” 2016, Britton Tolliver

“Body Awareness,” 2016, Britton Tolliver, Acrylic on canvas.
Photo: courtesy Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

Britton Tolliver, “Powdered Toast”
at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
Through March 25, 2017
The grid is a motif repeatedly explored by Los Angeles-based painter Britton Tolliver, created in reverse through a process of masking and layering multiple coats of paint. In recent series, the modernist idiom provided an underlying structure to the artist’s gestural interruptions scraped across the surface. In his current work, the discipline of his former strategies is something for the artist to react against. The artist’s handling of material shows increased bravura: thickly applied paint clots and congeals, the vertical grid tilts and retracts from the edge of the picture plane, and color harmonies, once lyrical, grow confrontational, showing a raucous disregard for proper color theory. Collectively, the show buzzes with the frenetic energy of 1980s video arcade.

“Skate Park,” 2016, Michael Mancari

“Skate Park,” 2016, Michael Mancari,Oil and enamel on canvas, 60″ x 77″
Courtesy: CB1 Gallery

Michael Mancari, “Motherboard”
at CB1 Gallery
Through April 9, 2017
To view the paintings of Michael Mancari is to excavate through an encyclopedic layering of painting techniques and fractured iconography. An architectonic layering of sprayed graffiti, Twombly-esque scrawls, mechanical stencils, and impasto paint strokes overlay and obscure hints of the human form, landscape motifs and blurred urban settings. Although nearly completely abstract, the Michigan-born, Yale-graduate and recent Los Angeles-transplant confirms the traditional notion of the “painted picture plane as window into another world” in his first solo exhibition. The thick swaths of paint appear to hover in front of blurred imagery that equally recedes into the distance. Intriguing and elusive, the paintings both engage and frustrate any attempt attempts to navigate into these surreal visions.


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