May Art Column

“People I Saw But Never Met”, Installation View, Etched painted stainless steel and hand cut aluminum, Zadok Ben-David, 2015 – 2017.

People I Saw But Never Met

By Jeff Davis

“People I Saw But Never Met” by Zadok Ben-David is on exhibit at Shoshana Wayne Gallery through May 27th, 2017  The largest work in the show fills the main gallery with 3,000 chemically etched steel miniature silhouettes and 45 larger figures hand cut from aluminum.  The assemblage was selected from photographs taken by Ben-David during his travels across 5 continents including the United States, Europe, Central Asia, Australia and Antarctica.  The figures are spread across the entire gallery floor and anchored in a neutral-colored sand, representing the common origin from which we all emerge and will one day return despite our different cultures and positions in society.

The photos were people that the artist saw from a distance but didn’t actually meet in person during his travels.  The exhibit could just as easily represent a day in the life of a Los Angelino; a cross section of population observed commuting next to you on the 405 or at a ball game in Dodgers Stadium.  Unlike the artist’s previous work that focused more on nature and its relation to man this exhibit is more about our interaction with one another.

One can’t miss the not so subtle references to the current administrations policies concerning borders, immigration and exclusion of selected populations.  What makes the work great is the combination of all the unique figurines including for example and Asian woman wearing a kimono, backpacker, farmer, housewife, tourist, child with a bike, waiter, man wearing a yarmulke, headscarf covered woman – every ethnicity, religion, occupation that one can conceive.

The work really begs for one to erect a small wall across the back portion and move perhaps 3.4% of the population to that area.  Next a little restricted access to additional figurines based on attire, size, occupation or other criteria.  Lastly, we could group like sculptures together so they can easily be classified – it they could self identify it would make matters easier.  Hmmm, suddenly the work becomes boring, homogeneous, monotonous… dull in short.  We’re better off leaving it as it was.

David Kordansky Gallery is showing Mary Weatherford’s “like the land loves the sea” through May 6th 2017

The exhibition encompasses all three rooms of the gallery; some with monumental size works.  The largest room has 4 massive 234” x 117” abstract painting – one on each wall.  The brushstrokes and color choices reflect the size of the canvases; they are bold and filled with similar scale movement.  Weatherford continues the use of sculpture elements such as neon tubes in her current paintings.

Mary Weatherford, Animals, 2017, 117” x 234”, Flashe and Neon on Linen.

In some cases the neon blends seamlessly with the colors in the painting and in other examples adds wattage – increasing contrast and focusing the eye.  The artist makes no effort to hide the white wiring and electric boxes that power the neon.  The cords deliberately drape across the canvas like dripping paint and the tubes are secured by easily observable metal brackets and wiring to ensure they don’t crash to the floor.   The paintings are an evolution drawing on past painters such as Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Francis and Joan Mitchel while building her own future.

Other Opportunities:

The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery is exhibiting the “COLA 20” through July 2nd, 2017  The landmark exhibition celebrates the first twenty years of the City of Los Angeles (“COLA”) Individual Artist Fellowship Program.

The show illustrates how the annual fellowship program encourages local, master artists to follow and realize their visions from which we can broaden and redefine our individual and collective experience.  Featured artists include: Michael Brewster, Wanda Coleman, James Doolin, Ron George, Tony Gleaton, Arthur Jarvinen, Larry Karush, Willie Robert Middlebrook, Jr., Rachel Rosenthal, Michael White and Norman Yonemoto


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