17 January 2008

Some Paintings Some Party!

Last Saturday, I went to the opening of the opening of Some Paintings, the LA Weekly's third Biennial at Track 16 Gallery. I got there pretty late- after 10:30 and the place showed no sign of slowing down. I was thankful I had not arrived any earlier!

Curated by Doug Harvey, the show features Los Angeles painters, including alums Sandow Birk '88 and Steve Roden '86 (doing double duty by also standing in for Robert Williams) as well as Otis faculty member Carole Caroompas. Ben Maltz Gallery Director Meg Linton also had a mention related to artist Don Suggs.

With the crowd and over 70 artists, the experience was a bit overwhelming. My favorite part of the show (apart from seeing the work) was Harvey's statements about each artist. It was a rare treat to have the curator's thoughts about each artist available as a wall label.*

Gifted multimedia narrative populist Sandow Birk’s amazing “Depravities” show at Cal State Long Beach in December used up his store of new Iraq-war paintings, but he dug out an early-’90s collaboration with graffiti artist Devin “Relm” Flynn for “Some Paintings.”

Carol Caroompas’ punkadelic patchworks of archetypal gender conflicts played out by glamorous rock stars, clip-art domestics and B-movie exotics over eye-boggling textile patterns bring Pattern and Decoration through the looking glass of experimental narrative semiotics into the 21st century.

Renaissance dude STEVE RODEN’s multivalent work is imbued with a profound familiarity with Modernist design principles and an avant-gardist appetite for getting lost in translation. But it was his paintings that first caught my attention, and which never fail to dazzle and mystify.

Even though DON SUGGS seems to have spent most of his career making fame-evasive shifts in style and media, his own persistence is beginning to catch up with him. Last spring’s OTIS survey (curated by me and Meg Linton) exposed the still center of the spinning Suggsian universe, and there’s nowhere left to hide! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Some Paintings remains on view through February 16.

*All of Harvey's statements are also available in his LA Weekly article about the show.

No comments: