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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
John Sonsini at Vielmetter (DTLA through Feb. 22).
Some think that John Sonsini is one of America’s great figure painters.  His is an identifiable, confident,
revelry with paint and the concept of physically painting (like applying paint).  He has remained constant
with his choice of models and his deep affection for them is evident.  Of course, that makes a great
portrait.  A great portrait translates the artist’s response to model to an understanding of the person
who is modelling. Finding such content is what makes portrait painting so curious and welcoming.
Whitney Bedford at Vielmetter (DTLA through Feb. 22).
Bedford reinterprets the landscapes of past masters (Constable, Avery…) as a background for the
superimposed prickly desert plants.  The works are curious to view up close.  All-in-all though they seem
laboriously effete.
Gisela Colon at Gavlak (DTLA through March 7).
Gisela Colon seems to be seen everywhere from Quint in La Jolla to the former ACE in LA.  I
understand the attraction to her optically fascinating works.  But I have not been swayed that the
“bubble” works were more than curiosity.  In this Gavlak exhibition she applies her visual, technical
mastery to rectangular wall works that she calls “Light Portals”.  Now I am interested.  
Martin Werthmann at Wilding Cran (DTLA through March 14).
Berlin artist Martin Werthmann (b. 1982) executes mammoth woodblock prints.  Affixing large, carved wood
block panels to the floor, he inks and prints paper off the wood surface. Inking and printing over and over
causes the final works to appear like a complex, layered, textural painting (hard to understand how these
prints can be so textural).  Some of the carved source-imagery (in the above case a car accident)
crystalizes with sufficient viewing.  Complex works – the viewer is enticed to wonder what they are seeing
and how it was made.
Odd Nerdrum at Patrick Painter (DTLA in process).
Patrick Painter has moved from Bergamot Station to Industrial Street in DTLA.  On the day of my
visit, the space was undergoing rejuvenation in preparation for.?  Local media pegs this as “Patrick
Painter 3.0”.  Without a doubt Painter has a great eye and an outrageous manner for getting things
done.  DTLA is now re-ascending.  Hauser & Wirth is an international foundation.  But with the rise
of Vielmetter et al at 1700 S. Santa Fe and the evolution around Painter and the ICA (E. 7th St. and
Industrial Street).  The downtown is launching another attempt as a “hot” new arts showground.
John Baldessari at Cirrus (DTLA through April 14).
Jean Milant opened shop in 1970 in Hollywood.  I met him a few years later as he was just around the
corner off Melrose, west of Western, from Joni Gordon’s Newspace Gallery.  My decades of
conversations with Jean make him the most senior, living, art dealer of my acquaintance over the last 42
years of immersing myself in the LA art scene.  
Milant and Cirrus editions have been printmakers to the stars of the art world.  Cirrus has produced
many editions of Baldessari (1931-2020) prints.  The current exhibition displays prints produced
between 1976 and 2015.  Cirrus is engaged in Project 50 – a look back at the last 50 years of the
gallery’s engagement in Los Angeles arts.  
Miyoshi Barosh at Night Gallery (DTLA closing).
Miyoshi Barosh (1959-2019) seemed to be an independent; anarchist.  Her folksy approaches belie her
view of dystopian irony.  While the work has a craft-art feel, it also conveys darker psychology (think
Mike Kelly).
Miyoshi Barosh at Luis de Jesus (Culver City through Feb. 15).
Luis de Jesus and Night Gallery have collaborated to present a broader swath of Barosh’s work.  
“Carnivalesque” comes to mind when viewing her output.  She used folk materials to confront cultural
John Millei at Lowell Ryan Projects (West Adams through Feb. 22).
I have always liked John Millei’s painting.  He is a figurative abstract painter.  The dominant theme of
this exhibition is Millei painting his daughter.  I have excerpted a paragraph written by Eve Wood and
presented on “Art and Cake” because it is so well written.

“Millei’s work has a history of creating harmony from disharmony, i.e. form from abstraction, and this
recent body of work is further testament to his ability to transform the human figure into linear space
while also simultaneously embracing deeper more metaphoric content, and where once this content
was writhing and brutal, now it is suffused with playfulness and whimsy. This work is living proof that
the saying is indeed true – that having a child keeps you forever young at heart.”
John Millei
Tanja Rector at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Feb. 29).
Recycling fabric and then piecing and sewing fragments together forms the basis for Tanja Rector’s
frame-stretched compositions.  They are at the same time as “folk” as Gee’s Bend quilts and as formal
as Anni Albers (1899-1994).
Caroline Larsen at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Feb. 29).
This is the first formal solo show (having been seen in group shows at this gallery) for Caroline
Larsen.  Her paintings are like extravagant cakes, thickly frosted with riotous color that is squeezed,
squeegeed, and woven to form luscious painterly surfaces.
Hirosuke Yabe at Richard Heller (Bergamot closing).
Japanese sculptor Hirosuke Yabe salvages fallen wood and wood from demolished Japanese houses.  
He crudely fashions creatures that even in their overt simplicity evoke anthropomorphic humor.
Bruce Cohen at Leslie Sacks (Bergamot through Feb. 22).
I have always been entranced by Bruce Cohen’s contemporary take on 17th century Dutch
masters.  His craft is impeccable.  The press release for this show offers a viewpoint that
repeating imagery (as in the repeating motifs of Jim Dine and Jasper Johns) offers continuing
refinement and reverence.  I am getting less convinced and increasingly feel a sense of deja-vu.
Lezley Saar at Walter Maciel (Culver City through Feb. 22).
Betye Saar (b. 1926) has three daughters. One is a writer and the other two, like their mother, are
artists.  The three artists use collage and assemblage as dominant techniques.  Alison (b. 1956)
shows with LA Louver where her current exhibition is on view.  Lezley was born in 1953 and her
current exhibition is at Walter Maciel.  All these ladies are very accomplished and it is a conundrum
for me to decide my favorite – if there can be one.
Joe Sola at Honor Fraser (Culver City through Feb. 27).
First seen at Tif Sigrid’s when she was in town, Joe Sola does many things.  He sculpts, paints, does
video, performance … always with a great deal of irony and intelligence.  There are several series of
works in this exhibition.  What they all mean?  But they sure are smart.
Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe at Roberts Projects (Culver City through March 7).
Otis Quaicoe is fond of color and people of color.  His exhibition is called “Black Like Me”.  These
paintings are different in intention and effect from Kehinde Wiley.  They celebrate real people and are
“visual testaments to the resilience, power and strength inherent in African culture”.
Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe
George Condo at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through March 13).
Condo’s drawing is but one, of two pieces by him, in a group show called “Jellyfish”.  The fourteen artist
exhibition seems intent on offering examples of the “canon” of investment grade artists.  I am gaga for
Condo – adoration that increases over ensuing years.
Phillip K. Smith at Bridge Projects (Hollywood through Feb.16).
Smith’s reflective and dynamically lit “boxes” (30 of them) strategically placed within the 7,000 foot
gallery space, are informed by optical theory, color and phenomenology.  He is certainly informed
by the natural environment’s atmospheric experiences (in the same vein as James Turrell).  I am
curious to watch the ensuing programming offered at this new venue.
Anish Kapoor at Regen Projects (Hollywood through Feb.16).
Kapoor always pushes the limits of technology to push the limits of the viewer’s perception.  In this
sixth solo exhibition with Regen Projects since 1992, the dominant sculpture is this highly polished
stainless steel “Double
S-Curve”.  Quoting the press release: “…the sculpture’s alternating concave and convex structure
snakes through the center of the gallery.  Simultaneously appearing both solid and liquid, its highly
polished mirrored surfaces refract and reflect its surroundings, creating an illusory sense of reality
that confounds one’s relationship to the space.”  Yup. True and magical.
Kylie White at Moskowitz Bayse (La Brea through March 7).
Kylie White has two sculptures in an eleven artist exhibition.  His work aesthetically looks at the
forces of nature juxtaposed with the forcefulness of human intention.  The pictured work is
titled: “Model of an Earth Fastener on the Delphi Fault” (2019).
Raul Guerrero at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (lower La Brea through March 7).
With decades of art practice under his belt, San Diego’s Raul Guerrero has doggedly portrayed the
interface between northwest Mexico and the southwest USA.  With this first exhibition at Kayne
Griffin Corcoran, it is nice to see his tenacity recognized and honored.
Suki Seokyeong Kang at Commonwealth and Council (Koreatown through March 7).
Based in Seoul, Suki Seokyeong Kang creates immersive environments where sculpture,
painting, and sound expand the experience of art appreciation to one of art involvement.  
(Detail of her installation is shown above.)
Sanle Sory at M+B (West Hollywood closing).
Over the years there have been several exhibitions focusing on the studio photographs of African
photographers.  Sanle Sory operated out of his studio in Bobo-Dioulasso (the second largest city in
Burkina Faso) between 1960 and 1980.  His clients could choose props and backdrops to play out
their visions of identity.  It is humorous - while also telling - to see the Western stereotypes that young
Africans aspired to.

      Offered for Sale from the Doug Simay Collection
John Sonsini
“Fernando Pinon” 2002
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 inches       $8,000

Inquires to:
Bruce Cohen
“untitled” “Eggplant” 1986
Oil on canvas
8 x 12 inches          $3,000

Inquiries to:
Get out, look at art; have fun.
Doug Simay        February 2020
Art for Sale