Amra Brooks

  • Nicola Tyson

    A Walk in the Woods, 2006–2007, depicts a pair of colorful androgynous figures walking side by side through a grove of leafless trees. The minimal treatment of the background is reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s, but Tyson’s use of color is rather different from the Norwegian artist’s; the translucency of her oils often allows for underpainting to show through—here a layer of black beneath the sky’s bright blue. The figures in other works are less readily identifiable as male or female, or even as entirely human. In Dog, 2006–2007, for example, Tyson imagines a bald baby head attached to a brown canine

  • Identity Theft: Eleanor Antin, Lynn Hershman, and Suzy Lake, 1972–78

    Before Judith Butler theorized gender as performative, and before Cindy Sherman began snapping her “Untitled Film Stills” in 1977, Eleanor Antin, Lynn Hershman, and Suzy Lake had all taken on alter egos to explore female identity and its constructs. Organized by Art + Auction senior editor Jori Finkel and coinciding with LA MoCA’s “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” which also features these three prescient artists, this show comprises 117 works, including Hershman’s 1975–78 project documenting the life of invented woman Roberta Breitmore, played by Hershman, and Lake’s

  • Michele O'Marah, Tim Jackson, and David Jones

    In their video Faustus’s Children, 2006, Michele O’Marah and collaborators Tim Jackson and David Jones draw from a variety of sources, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, 1948, Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan, 1990, and John Guare’s play Six Degrees of Separation, 1990, to create a tense supernatural thriller. Their primary text, however, is Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel A Secret History, 1992, in which a group of classics students murder one of their pals at an elite New England college.

    Like O’Marah’s earlier video Valley Girl, 2002, Faustus’s Children is concerned with the appropriation of

  • Violet Hopkins

    Violet Hopkins’s recent exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery consisted of five large-scale paintings on paper, the biggest over ten feet long and five feet high. The title of the show, “Chromatophoric,” refers to a kind of pigment-producing cell found in squid, many fish, and certain reptiles, which allows them to change hue when threatened or in the mood to mate. For Hopkins, the discovery of scientific evidence linking the biological generation of color to its function as an expression of an emotional state was a profound breakthrough, and its implications infuse her recent work.

    Hopkins’s

  • picks June 26, 2006

    Zachary Wollard

    In his paintings, Zachary Wollard, formerly a poet, finds ways to deconstruct traditional narrative by obsessively compiling images, historical references, text, and varied painterly techniques. Looking at his dense, vividly colored, almost assaultive patterning, the viewer can assemble countless stories. Reflection (all works 2006), for example, is an upside-down landscape in which people walk below a teeming metropolis. This painting could be a meditation on objectivity, showing that we must get outside of ourselves to actually see the reality of what’s around us. Or, given the title, it could

  • picks June 05, 2006

    Jonathan Pylypchuk

    Jonathan Pylypchuk returns to moviemaking, an early pursuit, in this show of new works. While a student in the UCLA MFA program, Pylypchuk made four films, the most memorable of which was entitled Shut Your Cockface Up and starred two confrontational hot dogs. Here, the same characters—which possess sticklike arms and legs; crude, pasted-on faces; and sometimes even genitals—appear in three new films: Dating Game, Hey Fuckface this is my nude beach, and Meals on Wheels (all 2006). Pylypchuk remains offscreen, moving the characters with sticks while delivering their lines, turning the

  • Dan Colen

    Dan Colen’s Secrets and Cymbals, Smoke and Scissors (My Friend Dash’s Wall in the Future), 2004–2006, is a life-size sculpture of a wall from a twentysomething’s garage or studio. Based on a scene also pictured in a photograph by “Dash” (the artist Dash Snow) himself, the sculpture re-creates a visually chaotic surface plastered with posters and photographs, magazine covers and pornographic images, knives and rubber gloves. Colen has crafted all of these things, and many more, from Styrofoam, paint, paper, and metal, even reproducing the wall’s infrastructure. But while many other contemporary

  • Florian Maier-Aichen

    In his recent exhibition at Blum & Poe (an identical set of works was shown almost simultaneously at 303 Gallery in New York), German-born photographer Florian Maier-Aichen brought a painter’s and draftsman’s eye to the practice of photography. While many photographers are still technical purists, Maier-Aichen marshals a refreshing diversity of approaches. To make Untitled (all works 2005), for example, he used a computer to draw a version of an existing photograph, making a new image in which one of two smokestacks is shown falling, almost striking the second. The only original element left

  • “The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America”

    This show features some two hundred pieces from the collection (housed since 1941 at the Yale University Art Gallery, which organized the show) by Arthur Dove, Ernst, Kandinsky, Léger, Picasso, Schwitters, and more.

    Founded in 1920 on East 47th Street in New York by Katherine S. Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray, the Société Anonyme amassed one of the most impressive collections of modern art in the US. Created to educate the public about modern art and to support emerging artists, the “experimental museum”'s acquisition program and reference library existed at a time when no institution in America was collecting or supporting contemporary work. This show features some two hundred pieces from the collection (housed since 1941 at the Yale University Art

  • Benjamin Butler

    In his first solo exhibition at Karyn Lovegrove Gallery, painter Benjamin Butler exploited to the hilt the sometimes surprising range of color found in nature. With the exception of Field of Flowers (all works 2005), every painting here depicts trees, and Butler’s unapologetically singleminded focus signals a relationship to his subject that is both personal and profound. At first glance, Butler’s simplistic forms and restricted subject matter might suggest a lack of substance, but a little more time spent with his paintings reveals a deeper complexity. There are nods, for example, to Impressionism,

  • Pae White

    Native Californian Pae White’s exhibition “Periwinkles” opened in the fall, and it was tempting to imagine the seasonal gust of a Santa Ana bringing her work to life, a warm wind animating her delicate ornithological models and setting her translucent mobiles chiming. White invokes highmodernist sculpture, architecture, and design, but reinvests their characteristic forms with an oft-forgotten element of playfulness and wit. For example, among the new works presented at 1301PE were two large hanging sculptures that exist somewhere between Alexander Calder’s mobiles and sets of kitschy beaded