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Current Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Doug Simay’s Best Picks
Dinh Q. Le at Shoshana Wayne (Bergamot through Dec. 23).
I have never seen a Dinh Q. Le that I didn’t like.  He operates at a nexus between cultures - also straddling
painting and photography. In his newest works, long, luminous photographic scrolls “present memory as
landscape”.
Justin Bower at Patrick Painter (Bergamot through Dec. 2).
There is no denying the powerful disorientation that one experiences viewing Bower’s fractured,
hallucinatory, Op-art.  These are paintings – pigment applied to canvas; not mixed media with
photographs.  He resolutely commands his subject.
Astrid Preston at Craig Krull (Bergamot through Nov. 25).
“Transcendent” describes the newest paintings by Astrid Preston.  Of course, over the last forty years she
has been unrelentingly transcendent.   Is she a realist or an abstractionist?  Ain’t that the best of all
possibilities?  The yin and yang for why we look at painting.  And – to be found in one unitary pictorial
plane.!  The color palette (the pixilation) that the current work contains serves as a sort of emotional codex
for the spirit of the painting’s image.
Astrid Preston
Astrid Preston
Christian Rex van Minnen at Richard Heller (Bergamot through Dec. 23).
Richard Heller told me that van Minnen is self-taught (he lives and works in Brooklyn).  Van Minnen has
obviously looked intensively at the Old Masters.  His paintings are as luscious as the Dutch Golden Age,
as sinister as Bruegel, but contemporary enough to be a Juxtapoz front cover.  It is engagingly wacky stuff.
Robert Ginder at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Nov. 25).
I knew Robert Ginder when he lived in San Diego decades ago.  The work for which he is best known are
North Park Spanish bungalows beautifully rendered on gold leaf backgrounds.  The painting above
rekindled my fascination with his technique which gives a scene great luminosity – in some ways religiosity.
Christopher Murphy at Lora Schlesinger (Bergamot through Nov. 25).
His consummate skill with the craft of drawing and painting are what make seeking out his work rewarding.  
There is always a sardonic reflection in what he portrays – not harsh, but gentle.  The above painting
updates John Salt and Robert Bechtle (pioneers of photorealism).
Mary Corse at Kayne Griffin Corcoran (lower La Brea through Nov. 11).
Pursuing her career for fifty years – Mary Corse has honed her perceptions of light and its subjective
experience.  I am not a Corse fan.  To be sure her artistic signature is unmistakable and its is that unique
manner of expression that consistently draws my interest.  This is a “career-spanning exhibition” for those
that care.
Nemesio Antunez at Couturier (La Brea through Nov. 11).
Nemesio Antúnez (1918-1993) is one of Chile’s most renowned artists.  His surrealistic cityscapes with ant-
like people scurrying through planar “architecture” are his signature. Comparing the architectural work of
Antunez with that of Wanda Koop (see below, Night Gallery) shows how two artists can express differently
similar responses to the urban environment.
Lynda Benglis at Blum & Poe (Culver City through Dec. 16).
Lynda Benglis is a very “muscular” sculptor.  She uses industrial materials that are deftly and defiantly
manipulated to serve her vision.  Every object in this exhibition presents itself boldly. From cast aluminum
(above 2009), to handmade paper over chicken wire (below 2015), to glazed ceramic (2013) her works are
strong and resolute.  Benglis’ art is a definition of integrity.
Lynda Benglis
Lynda Benglis
Bruce Everett at George Billis (Culver City through Nov. 25).
Bruce Everett is a well-trained and practiced artist. He has an extensive and impressive exhibition record.  
His paintings are beautiful.  He communicates his wonderment with the landscape.  The artist states, “I
don't want to contrive a landscape so much as discover it.”
Tom Jenkins at El Camino College (Torrance closed).
Tom Jenkins could equally be identified as a painter, designer of costumes, instrument maker, song writer,
performer…  No matter how he approaches creativity – the result is always unique and substantive.  The
large paintings in this expansive exhibition update Bretonian surrealism.  Rather than the automatism of
interpreting colored ink washes, Tom Jenkins uses spinning tops (that he has manufactured) as well as
other drawing “machines” to trace out patterns on unstretched canvas. He then sets about “interpreting”
these automatic drawings into final abstract paintings. The results are densely beautiful.  They are visual
syncopation.
Tom Jenkins
Tom Jenkins detail
Billy Al Bengston at parrasch heijnen (DTLA closing).
I once owned a Billy Al Bengston “Dento”.  Seeing this exhibition was a nostalgic look back.  The Dentos
were produced between 1965 and 1970.  Bengston et al (the cast of artists showing at the Ferus Gallery)
led SoCal out of Modernism.  The overlap between popular culture and the fine arts was facilitated via
industrial materials.
Merion Estes at CB1 (DTLA through Dec. 22).
Merion Estes continues to amaze with artwork that is beautifully about feminist concerns, pressures on the
natural environment, and the crimes of corporate excesses.  She constructs her paintings with collaged
fabrics, painting, and photo transfers.  Her work melds painting with craft.  The overarching concept is
beauty.  Estes keeps getting better and better with no end to her creative energy.
Merion Estes
Wanda Koop at Night Gallery (DTLA through Nov. 18).
This is Wanda Koop’s first solo US show – though she has a forty year history as one of Canada’s
preeminent painters.  These paintings reference her residency in New York City over four months.  Her
paintings respond to the silhouettes of buildings against the sky.  On first glance, I thought the work to be
simple abstraction.  Au contraire.  The lines of the buildings are painted by hand – not stenciled.  There is
fine gradation of color suggesting natural light suffusing through the canyons of the city.  It is the
abstraction of nature within the built environment that makes these paintings sublimely talented.
Jagdeep Raina at Grice Bench (DTLA closing).
The first thing that caught my interest was the artist’s CV.  Since 2012 Raina has studied advanced
painting at leading schools in France, Canada, and the US.  But he has never spent more than one year
at any one institution.  The reason – this Pakistani artist has had to jump from place to place wherever the
pursuit of a visa drives him.  
The gestural drawings in this exhibition are about the Sikh experience in Vancouver, Canada when one of
their holiest temples was visited by an Indian prime minister.  The Indian government caused get social
disaster for the Sikhs.  A quote from this exhibition, “Justice? - you get justice in the next world, in this
world, you have the law.”  The immediacy of Raina’s drawings communicate effectively on both a factual
and spiritual basis.
Jagdeep Raina
Mike Kelley at Hauser & Wirth (DTLA through Jan. 21, 2018).
Kelley’s Kandors series (executed between 1999-2011) is presented exquisitely in the appropriately
darkened gallery space.  Kandor was the city that Superman was born in and part of the comic hero’s
story.  Kelley made 20 bell jars and 21 cast resin models of the city.  These are presented here.  This is
an experience to be sure.  Not usually a Kelley fan, this installation is effective theater and rates a “thumbs
up”.
John Rogers at RB Stevenson (La Jolla through Nov. 25).
As a senior SDSU art professor and with a combined teaching career spanning 42 years, John Rogers has
had a huge influence on the ecology of San Diego arts.  His work always melds craft, with a strong graphic
presence, and resolute creative integrity.  
Steven DePinto 1994
Dream of the Nineties at San Diego Central Library (San Diego through Dec. 31).
Scott B. Davis has curated an interesting and insightful exhibition with nine local photographic artists –
Steven DePinto, Walt Cotton, Han Nguyen, Philipp Scholz Rittermann are my favorites.  This is a real
nice show – successfully rekindling memories of the 90s in San Diego.
Get out, look at art; have fun.
Doug Simay November 2017                        doug@simayspace.com
Kelly McLane at DENK (DTLA through Nov. 22).
I understand that McLane’s paintings and drawings are built upon social-political insights and judgments.  
But I most respond to their craft and “scope of practice”.  Her artwork becomes important to me because it
seems important – a perception carried by her considerable artistic skills.