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’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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
- Mid-Century Modern at LAMA Auction House, Van Nuys - February 20th, 2014
- Robert Therrien at Gagosian, Beverly Hills - January 22nd, 2014
- Art Fair Season in Los Angeles - January 15th, 2014
- Roy Dowell at Various Small Fires - October 14th, 2013
- Leon Benn at Carter & Citizen - September 13th, 2013