Jill Greenberg at Katherine Cone to February 4
The opening of Katherine Cone’s new gallery in Culver City has arrived with a bang with its exhibit of Jill Greenberg’s photographic series, “Commentary and Dissent,”; a bold beginning.
Greenberg is well known for past photo controversies such as her 2006 “End Times” series of toddlers crying after their lollypops were taken from them, and her 2008 manipulated satirical photos of John McCain posted on the web after she did the cover portrait of him for The Atlantic Magazine.
What stands out in her photography is the establishment of a middle zone where what appears to be a photograph one moment can look like a painting at another moment; a technique pretty much pioneered by Greenberg and seen in the photography of such artists as Suzanne Opton, Jeff Banks, Marc Dennis, Pierre Gonnord, Erwin Olaf, and Paolo Ventura.
Greenberg’s photos are totally confrontational and filled with scatological wonders to challenge conservative politics and Christian Fundamentalist notions of morality. The gallery walls hang with a veritable menagerie of outrageous and energetic scenes: fighting females, a blood-smeared lamb chin, raw animal carcasses, a chimp taking a dump, an attacking bear, male penis antics, food-smeared children, and much more.
The dynamic Ms. Cone agreed to have her photo taken and chose Jill Greenberg’s photograph of two large animal testicles as the backdrop, lest people fail to realize that her new space has real balls.
Amos Mac at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles to January 22
Right next to Katherine Cone’s Gallery sits Luis De Jesus Los Angeles’ new Culver City space. On display is a collaboration between performance and video artist/photographer Zackary Drucker, a sort of Anne Heche look-alike – blond, pale skin, with small breasts and photographer/publisher Amos Mac.
By the time one reaches the end of the gallery, Zackary has been extensively experienced. That is, you think you know the meanings of her semi-nude erotic poses on stair banisters, living room couches, on or under furniture, on a dinning room table, or standing in the snow with or without furs in the middle of a high school football field and a cemetery.
Well, I for one admit to having made a slight misjudgment, Zackary Drucker is a male-to-female transgender and Amos Mac, her photographer, is a female-to-male transgender, originator of the magazine “Original Plumbing.”
Don’t make the mistake of dismissing this exhibit as a one-note attention grabber; you will realize that it actually revolves around a significant dialectic between evangelical, rural conservatives and the growing secular, urban progressives. Taking note of the lives of society’s transgenders is like watching canaries in the mine: it’s a measure of society’s tolerance level.
Also available at the gallery is Amos Mac’s limited first edition table top art magazine “Translady Fanzine” featuring, you guessed it, all the poses of Zackary Drucker.
Tad Wiley at George Lawson to February 11
It’s always reassuring to Los Angeles-based artists when successful San Francisco galleries, such as the George Lawson Gallery, relocate to our own backyard. Lawson’s new gallery in Culver City brings an exhibit of Tad Wiley’s latest paintings — a bit of Piet Mondrian mixed with a bit of Richard Diebenkorn in strong yet understated geometric patterns.
Wiley, who has previously shown at George Lawson, also exhibited at Lora Schlesinger and Ace. Known for his oil-based enamel paintings on wood panels, the artist here transfers his style to alkyd on vellum. He thus creates new visual surface changes that draw the viewer in close for further exploration. And the closer one gets, the more the viewer senses a wondrous sort of translucence, the play between the media on the surface of the vellum and that which seeps to its back, as the statement says, “…in a way reminiscent of the application of tusche (a grease like liquid used in lithography as a medium receptive to lithographic ink) on a lithography stone.”
Wiley’s paintings are representative of the type of art shown in the gallery’s stable of artists; abstract stately works of either twisting or hard-edge repeated patterns. You’ll find George Lawson, an artist himself, a charming host to any gallery visitor. He has also managed to produce an elegant catalog of Tad Wiley’s paintings which includes two interviews of the artist, one by Charlotte Mouquin and the other by Glenn Goldberg.
Bianca Kolonusz-Partee at Offramp until February 12
Fascinated with the impact of international commerce and its effect on our lives and environment, the artist Bianca Kolonusz-Partee creates panoramic industrial landscapes of ship container ports using recycled product packaging. The results are architectural tessera tapestry like creations that simultaneously appear strong/big alongside delicate/small; that’s a large part of the fun when looking at such assemblage-like works. What must have surprised the artist is that her port landscapes transubstantiate into the natural landscapes she so loves. Can man create vistas as enticing to the eye as original unspoiled stretches of nature? Why not? I’ve always seen great beauty in our fabricated industrial complexes.