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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Mark Innerst at Michael Kohn (Hollywood through May 23).
For over three decades I have been mesmerized by Mark Innerst paintings.  His most iconic paintings are
cityscapes – looking down the long avenues of NYC between towering skyscrapers.  The image above is
Innerst as most know him. The painting below is new Innerst.  The city streets become abstracted blocks.  
The streets are adorned with rich pointillist details that add a romantic patina to his civil “tapestries”.  What
a sublimely beautiful body of work.!
Louise Bonnet at Nino Mier (Hollywood closing).
Bonnet’s paintings are very large.  Their physical presence magnifies their graphic, comic-book character
impact.  Do these works mean anything?  Is their impact solely due to their audacity?  I would not read
much into the work.  Channeling R. Crumb, the paintings engender a chuckle.
Francesca Gabbiani at Gavlak (Hollywood through May 26).
Gabbiani’s current large wall works combine drawing, painting – as well as her signature cut paper
collaging.  These heroic “landscape” works are entrancing evidence of the artist’s painstaking process.
Francesca Gabbiani
Sue Williams at Regen Projects (Hollywood through May 12).
Just being presented in the voluminous Regen Projects showspace leads artworks to appear significant.  
In the 1980s, Sue Williams’ work was recognized for its “subversive, anti-art aesthetic”.  Yup, her spare, at
times cartoonish painting reminds me of Cy Twombley.  They both build paintings on gestural mark-
marking; personal idiosyncratic musings. It finally seems to be too precious.
Ron Linden at Post (DTLA through May 12).
The black and white, almost severe, paintings by Ron Linden seem at odds with the voluble and engaging
artist who champions his peers and the arts as community.  Knowing the man and seeing these paintings
demonstrate the depth and complexities of the human spirit.  These works remind me of the incised steel
“drawings” of Kenneth Capps.
Folkert de Jong at Denk (DTLA through May 19).
Amsterdam-based Folkert de Jong produces sculptures out of industrial materials (expanded polystyrene;
pigmented polyurethane).  The work is sacrilegiously audacious.  From the press release: ”The garish
visual impact of his work often runs counter to the darkness of its actual content and tenor.” Engaging
work, de Jong’s sculptures grab the viewer metaphysically by the neck.
Nathan Redwood at Denk (DTLA through May 19).
Redwood’s paintings are objectively built upon figural grounds.  But he seems most interested – being
attendantly adept at – applying paint/pigment.  Thin wispy pigment, thick impasto overlays, hard-edge,
fluid – every manner of application finds its way onto his paintings.  They all serve each other well;
creating a visual circus.
Jeremy Everett at Wilding Cran (DTLA through May 19).
It is tough to explain Jeremy Everett’s work.  Link these descriptors together and you might get “the
picture”: impermanence, a reduction toward the absolute, disruption, intervention.  Each of the nine
sculptural works in this exhibition transmutes one reality into another.  Everett is very smart and more than
a bit scientific.
Jason Tomme at Baik Art (Culver City through May 12).
Jason Tomme received a BFA at UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and then an MFA from Yale.  My
guess is that he learned his conceptual chops at UNLV and his technical skills (and representational
techniques) at Yale.  The excellence of his drawings certainly is not the stuff learned in SoCal’s higher
education centers.  It is a pleasure to see such mastery.  
Amir Zaki at Edward Cella (Culver City through May 26).
Amir Zaki constructs his final photographic artworks melding both analog film and digital image making.  
Using a Gigapan machine, the artist stitches together up to 30 images into one holistic picture.  The final
large format image is densely beautiful while connoting spiritual meaning.
Olafur Eliasson at Marciano Art Foundation (Hancock Park through August 26).
Olafur Eliasson is a genius at using light to mold perception.  His light installation occupying the huge
theater space at the MAF is a world-class experience.  If there is a reason to drive to LA and back – to see
this installation is reason enough.
While I, overall, am not a fan of the Marciano Collection (largely amassed since 2010) The re-hang done
since the inaugural exhibition is a big improvement.  I love the two giant Pittmans on view.  Works by the
Mexican artist, Jose Davila are also well represented.  The work pictured below mimes the stacked boxes
of Donald Judd – but these are made of not-quite ridged cardboard with metallic painted interiors.
Jose Davila 2015
Rashid Johnson at David Kordansky (lower La Brea through May 19).
This impressively broad exhibition presents four bodies of work – all produced over the last year.  ‘Tis a
prodigious output for an artist who garners increasing attention.  My favorite series are wall sculptures
that he calls “microphone sculpture”.  The artist’s expositions on race and class are the bed-rock for his
work.
Peter Shire at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (lower La Brea through May 12).
Born in Los Angeles in 1947, Peter Shire calls his work “California high kitsch”.  Clay is his dominant
medium – though this exhibition also includes furniture and works on paper.  Shire took the lead of John
Mason, Ken Price and Peter Voulkos in liberating clay from its customary practical uses.  It is clear to see
the influences of his Chouinard (now CalArts) professors, Ralph Bacerra and Adrian Saxe.  Also
remarkable is that (in 1977), Ettore Sottsass invited Shire to become a member (the only American) of the
Milan-based Memphis collective.  This is a terrific exhibition.
Dauman: 1968 image of Dennis Oppenheim
Henri Dauman at KP Projects (La Brea through May 12).
Holocaust-survivor Henri Dauman (born in 1933) produced some of the most iconic photographs of the
20th century.  His work was prominently featured in Life magazine.  From Bridget Bardot to Andy Warhol
to the Kennedys to Elvis – Dauman was seemingly ever present at the epicenter of contemporary
history.  Walking through this exhibition was a trip down memory lane.
Roger Ballen at Fahey/Klein (La Brea through June 16).
Ballen was born in 1950 in the USA – but he is identified as a South African artist. If Dauman chronicled
reality, Ballen creates protagonists in existential dramas.  Rather than referring to his pictures as the “dark
side” – he calls them “the shadow side”.  The juxtaposition of Dauman and Ballen exhibitions at two near-
neighbor galleries makes Melrose a must stop destination.
Ned Evans at Craig Krull (Bergamot through May 19).
Evans current abstractions are constructed with disparate materials; tied together with clean abstract color
and form.  There is implied movement that gives a sense of architectural space.  They are pleasant to view
– at their best - clean abstraction.
Ron Rizk at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through May 26).
Ron Rizk’s paintings always, with technical finesse, hyper-realistically portray a quirky pseudo-reality.  In
this exhibition he has fashioned architectural “models” (fashioned out of paper) that become the subjects
of his paintings.  He is obviously painting from a still-life constructed in his studio.  The radiant paintings
are proof enough of his consummate skill.  I am curious what goes on in his mind as he assembles, in his
studio, the subject tableaux.
Charles Christopher Hill at Leslie Sacks (Bergamot through June 2).
Presenting stitch paintings from the mid 70s to the mid 80s, this exhibition is a wonderful way to reminisce
of the early 1970s when UC Irvine’s faculty (Ken Price, John Mason, Vija Celmins, Ed Moses and Robert
Irwin) was casting a long shadow influencing SoCal art.  Christopher Hill was at Irvine from 1969 till 1973.  I
remember seeing these works in the very early 80s at Jean Milant’s Cirrus when he had moved downtown
to Alameda.  Not far from Cirrus was Neil Ovsey’s eponymous gallery where I first saw Ron Rizk’s work.  I
have been making my LA art rounds almost monthly for the last 40 years.  ‘Tis a true education.
Charles Christopher Hill
Alison Saar at LA Louver (Venice through May 12).
Of the artistic Saar women, Alison is my favorite.  Her voice and meanings are always clear and constant.  
In this exhibition, the lead character in Saar’s visual tale is Topsy from Harriett Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle
Tom’s Cabin”.  Saar re-presents her young, very black, defiant heroine to be consistent with the polarized
world today.
Get out, look at art; have fun.
Doug Simay           May 2018

doug@simayspace.com
Lari Pittman 2013