Amy Gerstler

  • Kerr + Malley

    The collaborative team of Kerr + Malley produces art that wrestles with issues surrounding the oppression of women. Passionate and forthright, this duo’s photo-and research-based work is constructed to inform and activate viewers. The artists’ consistent strategy is to trace the sociohistorical roots of male-dominated power structures that control the conduct of women’s lives. In particular, Kerr + Malley expose ways in which church and state attempt to criminalize aspects of women’s sexuality and reproductive free choice.

    This installation’s title, Just Call Jane, 1991, was derived, as outlined

  • Tony Green

    Tony Greene died of AIDS late last year, and the works in this thoughtfully installed show of more than forty paintings and two sculptural pieces date from 1987 to 1990. Greene’s distinctive palette features florid colors that give the appearance of having been darkened by time—weird hothouse tints that throb beneath multiple layers of colored varnish. Two areas in the exhibition space were painted quintessential “Greene” shades: one a brooding olive, another a gorgeous sore-throat magenta.

    Greene’s paintings are square, heavy-looking plywood constructions, with moats between their central image

  • Keith Milow

    The works in Keith Milow’s recent show, entitled “100 Drawings,” function first and foremost as a unit. Realized in oil on copper, aluminum, or lead and mounted on plywood, the works present a distinctive visual lexicon. The uniformity of their format and execution and the resemblance of many of the drawings to enlarged ancient manuscript pages reinforce the sense that they are leaves from an image book. They seem meant to be read together, though not necessarily in any particular sequence.

    Milow’s vocabulary consists of an array of decorative devices that appear to be derived from Renaissance

  • Karen Carson

    It’s heartening when artists successfully expand their vocabularies, and the 11 pieces in this exhibition, entitled “Innocence Betrayed,” show that Karen Carson has done just that. Employing inflamed imagery, Carson has zeroed in on a sense of ironic anger more acutely than ever before. Each piece is a composite image made up of smaller pictures, arranged in a sort of dark insignia that suggests coloring book nightmares. Rendered in india ink, marker, charcoal, and pencil, with collaged elements, the works are framed in gothic, funereal wooden frames. Carson covers each image with a poison-green

  • Lambs Eat Ivy

    Nancy Andrews, Emma Elizabeth Downing, and Michael Willis, recently joined by Jonathan Gorrie, are the eccentric, decidedly unsheeplike minds behind Lambs Eat Ivy. In a quasi-backwoods style, the Lambs perform foot-stomping nouveau folk songs, with lyrics chock full of pancultural transcendentalism. Self-described as “Appalachian Zen” or “Mystic Hillbilly Theater,” they draw on sources that include the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Baptist sermons, and Native American folklore. The Lambs’ slightly warped, hoedown sound is heightened by vocalist Downing, whose otherworldly warbling weds a Dolly Parton

  • Meg Webster

    Meg Webster is known for her earthy, commandingly primal forms, yet the three works exhibited here managed to inhabit the gallery, even make it feel full, without coming off as overly imposing. The objects displayed did not seem to acknowledge each other’s presence any more than they did the viewers’; these are certainly not Webster’s warmest, most user-friendly works, though, like all her art, they embody a quiet tug-of-war between cool and warm, live and dead, the constructed and the “natural,” and the captive and the “free.”

    Steel Containing Salt (all works 1990), which consists of a sheet of

  • Wolfgang Laib

    Wolfgang Laib’s modest arrangements of natural substances exhale cool sensory promise, stillness, and a meditative serenity, cuing notions of bounty, famine, fertility, and germination.

    The first of four works encountered by the viewer, an austere white square gleaming in the middle of the floor, entitled Milkstone, 1983–87, exudes a low-key grace. Is it stone polished to look like liquid, or a mysterious four-sided puddle of milk? Both, in fact, for Laib has taken a flat marble slab, and finished its surface in such a way that it can hold a thin layer of milk poured on top of it. Replenished

  • Michael McMillen

    Welding together heightened feeling and imaginative mechanics, “Engine of Mercy” was an apt title for Michael McMillen’s double show at both L.A. Louver locations. Populated by rickety junkyard angels with gnashing gear teeth and animated miniature building facades that grimace out at the viewer, McMillenland is an environment,by turns wacky and brooding, in which junk assembles itself into patined, dreamlike icons.

    Viewers entered The Pavilion of Rain, 1987, an impressive installation in the larger of the two galleries, through a creaky beat-up screen door, and passed through an entryway walled

  • Jeanne Dunning

    Jeanne Dunning’s glossy Cibachrome prints, either laminated or mounted on Plexiglas (all works 1990), are as seductive as just-licked lips. Slick facades are very much in keeping with the slippery agenda of this Chicago-based artist. Dunning manipulates viewer assumptions, using them as a springboard from which to launch investigations into a complex of interrelated questions and themes, including: the nature of portraiture; the mechanisms of photographic imagining; the portrayal of gender; the sexual allure of hair and hairiness; the relative determination of beauty, deformity; and what’s

  • David Bunn

    David Bunn taps into the pleasure humans derive from peering into things, and the results he achieves are both wry and contemplative. Employing telescopes, magnifying glasses, windows, and kaleidoscopes, as well as less conventional pieces of hardware-turned-viewing-devices such as lengths of plumbers’ pipe and fire-hose nozzles, this work deals with seeing as an eternally open-ended activity. Rather than focusing exclusively on what is visible at a particular moment or from a single vantage point, Bunn examines shifting points of view and politically resonant visual puns to explore the mutability

  • David Smith

    David Smith’s works on paper have incredible presence, dignity, and weight. They seem almost musical in the tense balance they strike between force and restraint, elegance and primitivism, the human and the monumental. The 50 works in this show, executed in oil, tempera, and “egg ink” (ink mixed with egg) date from 1952 to 1960; all but one are untitled. Calligraphic, hieroglyphic, ideographic, and highly gestural, they are as unparaphrasable as the best poetry. Some pieces bring to mind odd-headed stick figures; notation or diagrams for some contemporary tribal dance; curled metal; claws or

  • Alex Katz

    These seven big oil paintings––of flat simplified faces or figures set against pale monochromatic backgrounds that evaporate quickly into nonexistence––are typical of Alex Katz’s figurative work. The inhabitants of his barless, habitatless human zoo are a select group of elegant men and women, upon whom a neutral observer––the painter, Mr. Distanced Narrator––casts his practiced, democratic gaze. Subjects glance back out of the paintings with equal neutrality. Though these obedient subjects might recognize their likenesses on canvas, they would find themselves looking fairly generic, as though