Thursday, September 26, 2013

La Cienega

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to visit several of the galleries on La Cienega Boulevard, including Cherry & Martin and the David Kordansky Gallery. Cherry and Martin featured Brian Bress, Matt Connors, Mari Eastman, Nathan Mabry, and T. Kelly Mason while Kordansky focused solely on the sculptures of John Mason.
The white-painted brick front of Cherry and Martin gives an instant impression of the white cube space-highlighted by the bright, sterile neon light reading the gallery's name. There is a wall adjacent to the door and it creates a sort of hallway while you walk into the actual gallery space. Inside there is life in color-paintings and installations on every wall. The first piece that stands out to the viewer is a video on a flat screen, a window into the world of the television framed by a drawing. It's perplexing and intimate as we see a figure moving within a still figure, almost magical due to the fact that the format isn't square but instead the shape of a face, blurring the lines between drawing and video. Coincidentally, the video piece by Bress is actually titled "Window."

Brian Bress is featured again in the exhibition on the adjacent wall and there are several more artists shown throughout the rest of the gallery. Another artist that stood out to me was Nathan Mabry, whose sculptures evoke both minimalist and primitive themes. His piece "Blind as a.." is a ethnic-looking terra cotta sculpture of a bat on a wooden, angular pedestal. The play with words with his title creates a duality as the piece itself seems culturally oriented and almost sacred. The bat piece correlates with his other shown work, "Sly as a.." which again plays on the phrase "sly as a fox" by portraying the terra cotta fox statue as another sacred object on par with the bat.

Before I get too carried away with the work at Cherry and Martin, I'll rave a little about the Kordansky Gallery's exhibition.
I was blown away by the work shown at the David Kordansky Gallery.
The exhibition, titled Crosses, Figures, Spears, Torques features the ceramic sculptures of John Mason, an LA based artist with an emphasis on exploring and defining contemporary sculpture. His use of clay and glazing techniques push the borders of ceramic art and his work brings to light the versatility of the medium. With a focus on the power of geometry, his clay "figures" are both intimidating and awe inspiring. The installation itself is impressive, as the pieces are all raised on a single rectangular pedestal which rises a few inches off the floor of the gallery. The sculptures become lifelike.

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