Architecture in Art – 3 Galleries in Culver City

Dialogues between Fine Art and Architecture abound this month in Culver City. No less than three galleries opened June 2nd featuring Architecture driven work. The media harnessed are diverse, and the results are equally varied.

Amy Park At Paul Kopeiken Gallery

Amy Park, IBM Headquarters,1959 Los Angeles CA (Charles Luckman and Associates) 2012, Watercolor on Paper, 30" x 22"

Amy Park’s Watercolor renditions/homages to the late great Julius Schulman are intoxicating. Anyone familiar with Schulman’s work and/or the heady period of architectural innovation in LA in the 50’s and 60’s brings a wonderful sense of recognition to her oeuvre. To quote Stephen Sondheim speaking of hum-ability “Familiarity breeds content.” The watercolor interpretations are more reverent than transformative. Park has an admirable skill set in the medium and she harnesses a wide array of effects. I kept wanting to get closer and closer to the work, letting the brushstrokes on and bleeds into the paper abstract the original source material.

Amy Park, Albert Frey House II, Pool, 1965, Palm Springs CA 2011, Watercolor on Paper

Her work would have benefited greatly from display in the back, more spacious gallery and the inclusion of a 40×60 inch incarnation. This last potential would have wrested the trompe d’oile effect from the dialogue with photography. Architecture in some ways becomes the third wheel as clearly the fascination is with Schulman and his point of view. The most successful piece in the show is of a pool behind an Albert Frey Palm Springs House. A full two thirds of the image is a rocky canyon terrain which looms menacingly over the clarity and peace of the pool.

 

Gustavo Godoy at Honor Fraser Gallery

Gustavo Godoy,Vacant Mound (I), 2012 Cast Concrete 120 x 120 x 4 inches

The floor based cast concrete sculptures of Gustavo Godoy index a macro/micro relationship with urban planning and ariel photography. Shrink your perception and you can imagine flying over these “cities” like the fighter pilot sequence in Star Wars. Return to the scale of the gallery and the process is tactile and the planning and structure impecable. The work suggests an organic puzzle-like structure from which the whole is indeed greater than the sum of the parts. No repetition is evident.

Architecture is not only visually alluded to. The concrete medium, a distinctly non-art practice, gives the work heft, both literal and figurative. Comparisons to Richard Long are easily raised but the work stands handsomely independent of antecedents. I fantasized about seeing the work outside with a thin patina of moss growing over time.

Gustavo Godoy, Vacant Mound (IV), 2012 Cast concrete 45 x 45 x 5 inches

The Vacant Sites Lambda Prints seem gratuitous at best and vacuous at worst. I would have appreciated working sketches of the shapes and their origin myth.

 

Michael Kindred Knight at Luis de Jesus Gallery

Michael Kindred Knight, Brushtop 2012 Acrylic on Canvas 12" x 12"

Architecture and Painting are strange bedfellows in the hands of Michael Kindred Knight. Knight handles paint very well and in many ways has a strong command as a colorist. The attractive and seductive surfaces entice and flirt with the retina. And in an unexpected moment, architectural constructs appear, grab you by the scruff of your neck and won’t let you go. Even in paintings that are far less literal, you find yourself searching for the architectural interpretation.

Michael Kindred Knight, Slider 2012 Acrylic on Canvas 16” x 16”

Ultimately extremely satisfying, the generous exhibition highlights the tension between the two disciplines left pleasantly unresolved.

 

Architecture’s gravitational pull can be liberating as in the case of Park’s Watercolors; it can be evocative as with Godoy’s sculptures and it can be the sand in the ointment as in the case of Knight’s paintings. But, remember that sand also makes pearls.

Amy Park At Paul Kopeiken Gallery Through July 7th, 2012

Gustavo Godoy at Honor Fraser Gallery Through July 7th, 2012

Michael Kindred Knight at Luis de Jesus Gallery Through July 14th, 2012

 

-Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, June 5th, 2012

 

also by Mario M. Muller

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