By Jeff Davis
The Culver City Arts District, http://culvercityartsdistrict.com , has about 30+ galleries; the majority of which are concentrated along La Cienega Blvd between Venice and Washington Boulevards and on Washington between Helms and Fairfax. Parking along the main streets is fairly easy unless it’s a Friday or Saturday opening night, in which case you’ll have to hunt on the side street or use valet if available. Most of the galleries are open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or later. There are a few scattered restaurants along Washington Blvd and many more as you near the Helms Bakery Building.
A two artist exhibition featuring new works by Chris Trueman and David Hicks is currently on view till March 5, 2016 at Edward Cella Art+Architecture; http://www.edwardcella.com, 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd., LA. Trueman’s paintings are vivid and abstract, using acrylic and acrylic spray paint to create layers, texture and a sense of depth/transparency on a Yupo paper surface mounted to board. He is playing with the idea of a creating a digital appearing work (e.g. a photoshop-like product) using an analog (physical) process. From a distance the bold colors and balance of light and dark quickly catch your eye, drawing you in closer to discover multiple strata, gestures, scraping and drips than in some cases create almost the feel of a glaze on pottery. The series has less rigidity and more freedom than some of his past works which had more of geometric, linear / digital op-art feel. His current work reminds me of the lack of retrain seen in Helen Frankenthaler paintings and the sense of dimension form Michael Heizer’s geometric works from the mid 80s. It’s very hard to categorize, which is refreshing.
Hick’s sculptures are an interesting contrast to Trueman’s painting; they seem almost organic – teaming with life as opposed to purely abstract. The works are primarily composed of stainless steel piping and glazed /textured ceramic components. I found his freestanding works the most alluring; they seem like small ocean reefs – alive with plant-life, coral, vessels and a bio-architectural structure. Some of the terra cotta components are welded (trapped permanently) in the interior of the steel scaffolding. And others sit upright on exterior metal armatures. You feel compelled to examine the works closer, circling from differing angles as if you are swimming around the eco-skeletons. Structurally they make me think of the complex intricacies of Chihuly glass sculptures – each component is fitted into its unique space within the system.
Just next door at Zevitas Marcus, 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd, Suite B, http://www.zevitasmarcus.com, is “Transcendental Divide/Transitory Space,” an exhibition of new works by artist Chris Ballantyne, on view from Thursday, Jan. 7 through March 5, 2016. Ballantyne’s work explores the tension between man and nature as we continue to expand our footprint across the earth’s surface. Images including a house on the edge of a crumbling cliff, abandoned swimming pools, a cargo ship adrift and an illogically designed parking lot filled with puddles are a few of the paintings illustrating the theme. The architectural elements of the works such as the house and pool are painted with rigid architectural precision against often less precise backdrops that leave you wanting more detail and explanations. Is that house going to fall over the cliff? Who built it there (maybe it’s just landslide season in Malibu again), why is that pool crucifix shaped? Whoever painted the lines on the parking lot is going to be fired – right!? Ultimately, he leaves it up to you to figure out the solution to the puzzles raised.
MOCA Pacific Design Center: Catherine Opie: 700 Nimes Road, through May 8, 2016. http://www.moca.org/exhibition/catherine-opie-700-nimes-road , 8687 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90069. New and recent work by the LA–based artist, taken at the Bel-Air residence of the late actress Elizabeth Taylor. Opie creates a portrait of Taylor from her personal space and mementos. The artist photographs rooms, closets, shoes, clothing, and jewelry that depict an indirect, yet deeply intimate, portrait of a life defined by wealth and fame.