Art LA Contemporary 2012

February 10, 2012 at 4:50 am 4 comments

Rounding out the lineup of major art fairs in Los Angeles this January, we come at last to the outlier: Art LA Contemporary. Unlike the other shows which were held downtown, this one took place in Santa Monica. It’s a long haul from downtown to Santa Monica, and there’s no public transportation between the two. (You gotta have a car. It’s Los Angeles.)

Art LA Contemporary, having the word “Contemporary” in the name, is aiming for the bleeding edge of cutting edge art. The artists aren’t just alive, many of them are barely out of their teens. It’s conceptual art, mostly. Which means I’m going to take a pretty jaundiced view going in, because frankly most conceptual art comes off as childish and ridiculous to me. Not all, but a goodly percentage. Still, I enjoyed last year’s show well enough to return this year. Buried amongst all the pretentiousness is the occasional gem, and that’s what I like to concentrate on.

Let’s take a look.

Art LA Contemporary 2012, photo by Barbara J Carter

The show isn’t huge, and it’s laid out in a very easy-to-understand grid. You can go through it pretty quickly and find the few pieces you really like.

Holton Rower, poured paint Holton Rower, poured paint over square forms, shown by The Hole, New York.

I had previously seen this video showing how the artist pours the paint, so it was fun to see the finished product in person. This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” ideas. Simple but elegant. And I do love all the dazzling colors.

light sculpture Light sculpture by Ryan Perez (according to commenter Brett Schultz), shown by Yautepec Gallery, Mexico City.

Again I’m drawn to the simple idea, well executed. It’s just wood and fluorescent tubes, but this piece made a dramatic statement. It is admittedly a little reminiscent of Dan Flavin (an artist known for his work with fluorescent light tubes) but I think this is distinctive enough not to be derivative. I’m sorry I don’t know who the artist is, there was no sign in the booth and the gallery’s website doesn’t help. Thanks to commenter Brett Schultz for identifying the artist. (Too bad there’s no photo of the piece on his website.)

At another booth, I found myself snapping photos of several pieces by several different artists, rather than my usual one (or none!). This was the booth of Quint Contemporary Art in La Jolla, California (near San Diego). Any time I see a high concentration of work I like, I figure this is a gallery I should pay closer attention to. Here are the pieces that caught my eye:

Ryan McGinness, Women Parts series Ryan McGinness, Women Parts series, acrylic on paper, 30×22 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

Thomas Glassford, Espejo 1, anodized aluminum Thomas Glassford, Espejo 1, 2011, anodized aluminum, 32×42 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

The more I looked at this piece, the more I liked it. You could see the different kinds of industrial aluminum extrusions used: threshold, drip edging, siding, and other common building materials. The varying textures and colors are playful, which I appreciate. I like art that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Peter Alexander, Royal Blue Drip Peter Alexander, Royal Blue Drip, 2011, polyester resin, 24×18 inches, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

I enjoyed the simple yet luscious sensuality of this piece. It looked a little like slumped glass, thick and heavy yet floating slightly away from the wall. There’s no way Royal Blue Drip is the right title for this piece. I’m guessing Royal Blue Drip sold and was taken down and replaced by this similar green piece (probably called Kelly Green Drip or somesuch) and no one bothered to fix the wall label.

Kim MacConnel Kim MacConnel, enamel on board, shown by Quint Contemporary Art.

I could just sit and stare at these all day. Love!

Continuing my stroll through the show, here are some more pieces that caught my eye:

Zoi Gaitanidou Zoi Gaitanidou, textile work, shown by David Castillo Gallery, Miami, Florida.

artist unknown Unknown artist, shown by Altman Siegel, San Francisco, California.

Sergio Sister Sérgio Sister, Caixa series, 15x10x3 inches each, shown by Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York. Not dissimilar to the previous artist, eh?

Andrew Schoultz, Melting Gold Flag (Made in China) Andrew Schoultz, Melting Gold Flag (Made in China), 2011, gold leaf, acrylic, and molten gold fluid on stretched American flag, 30×54 inches, shown by Jerome Zodo Contemporary, Milan. Sold, but no price shown.

Marco Maggi Marco Maggi, cut paper in slide mounts, 2×2 inches each, shown by Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York. These utterly fascinated me. The intricate precision of each tiny cut had to be seen to be believed. He must use a very sharp surgical scalpel to make these. Click on the photo for a bigger version.

Marco Maggi More by Marco Maggi. Because they’re so amazing!

Frances Richardson, detail Frances Richardson, 010611, colored pencil on paper, detail. Shown by Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles. Full view below:

Frances Richardson, 010611 Frances Richardson, 010611, 2011, colored pencil on paper, 19×26 inches.

Mike Pratt, Redred Mike Pratt, Redred, 2011, oil, enamel and resin on canvas, 83×55 inches, shown by Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK.

Georgi Tushev Georgi Tushev, Strange Attractor series, oil painting with embedded iron filings, shown by Fitzroy Gallery, New York. You can see more photos of this series here. I was fascinated by the dimensionality this artist achieved with such simple materials. He apparently uses a powerful magnet to draw the wet paint up into these spiky, mounded shapes, which retain their shape as the paint dries.

The prize for most colorful wall at the show goes to the same gallery, Fitzroy Gallery of New York, for the outside of their booth:

Fitzroy Gallery booth at Art LA Contemporary 2012

And the prize for the biggest paintings of… nothing in particular, but in REALLY bright colors and cheerful, goofy shapes goes to Ed Moses shown by ACE Gallery, Los Angeles:

Ed Moses at ACE Gallery

Ed Moses is turning 86 this year, and still paints every day. A good example for us all, I think.

You may have noticed that none of the art had prices. There were no price tags at this show. Apparently being cutting edge means avoiding all trappings of commerce. We’ll have none of that filthy capitalism here, we’re above all that!

Never mind the foolishness, it was a fun show. Totally worth the $6 Groupon admission price. Thank you Groupon!

Entry filed under: Art Appreciation, Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Shows.

The Los Angeles Affordable Art Fair 2012 New painting: Pescadero Beach 11×14″ (worth the wait)

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Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

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Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

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