Amy Gerstler

  • Diane Buckler

    Black Absolute, Emerald Pearl, and Red Rose: these are some names of types of granite on which Diane Buckler’s apparitionlike, floating images seem to be delicately etched. (Actually, they’re sandblasted into a photographic emulsion placed against the rectangular, picture-sized chunks of reddish or black polished stone.) Buckler’s unmoored, tilting, and levitating representations of classical statues and retiring nudes, her aerial views of cities and stone cherubs, are presented in gently tumbling, loosened hierarchies buffered by lots of red or black voidlike space. These works have an expansive,

  • Laura Lasworth

    Each of the nine meticulous paintings in this show is of a virtually uninhabited room with a missing fourth wall. Several of these interiors are bisected by lines showing where the planes of the rooms’ walls meet. Each painting’s perspective is slightly but elegantly distorted, as though the depicted room were made of paper and had been folded along that line. The intentionally stilted look of Lasworth’s meditative interiors refers to pre-Renaissance religious painting and Christian thought. The works’ titles cite the crazed, self-styled Christian mystic Hazel Motes (who appears in Flannery

  • Connie Hatch

    Connie Hatch’s installation, After the Fact . . . Some Women, employs photos and text to address the subject of injustice to women. Hatch pairs sobering information about the lives, travails, and demises of “disappeared” women with photos of them culled from various sources. The photographs are enlarged black and white positive transparencies sandwiched between clear sheets of acrylite. The 12 photos in the show’s centerpiece, Some Women . . . Forced to Disappear, 1989, are mounted on two walls at 45-degree angles. Presented in a dimmed room and individually spotlit, the panels cast shadowy

  • Judie Bamber

    Judie Bamber’s hyperreal portraits of squished, oozing, or occasionally intact tiny objects would hold up well if scrutinized through a magnifying glass. Excuse Me For Living (Spearmint Freshen-Up Gum Whole and Squashed), 1988, is an itsy-bitsy piece of pillow-shaped gum painted in such detail that, in the diptych’s second panel, you see pin-prick-sized bubbles in the goo that’s leaking from the gum’s liquid center. A hapless canned cherry, perfectly rendered, bleeds a teensy puddle of juice in What Are You Lookin’ At?, 1989. In the diptych Closeness is Easier When You Are Far Away, 1988, a

  • Jim Shaw

    Jim Shaw’s show here contained some of the most obsessive, darkly imaginative, funny, and painful work that has stared back at this viewer from any wall in a long time. Consisting of more than 70 pieces of uniform, pagelike size, all hung at eye level, the installation formed a continuous ring around the room, surrounding and trapping visitors. The wide variety of volatile images seemed distilled from inflamed fears, wracked attractions and repulsions—a catalog of conflicting longings and repressions dating from adolescence and beyond. The experience was a little like being swallowed by a whale,

  • Nancy Shaver

    Nancy Shaver’s work seems to fall into two categories: one that suggests but does not provide content, and another that makes a point of presenting something null in content’s usual place. Boats, 1988, is an example of a piece that suggests content, functioning as a receptacle for generic associations about childhood, bathing, lakes, or boating. It consists of a smallish, weathered iron trough, near which sit two paper boats, one slightly larger than the other. All three items are placed on the floor. The objects contrast visually and functionally: the trough is heavy, worn, utilitarian, and

  • Italo Scanda

    It’s odd to see Italo Scanga’s work, which is centered around an unabashed, almost rural emotionality, in smoggy, urbane Los Angeles. At their most successful, his sculptures, paintings, and drawings are bursting with earthy energy. Made from strange ingredients—wood, harvesting tools, fake fruit, real flowers, musical instruments, and other found objects—these pieces reveal Scanga’s love both of the man-made and the natural.

    The show was divided into three major sections and a shrinelike vestibule. In the latter section, the works are titled Composite (with different subtitles) and all dated

  • Lari Pittman

    Lari Pittman’s paintings are unsettling. Like the placards announcing THE END IS NEAR! carried by barefoot, scruffy prophets of doom in cartoons, Pittman’s works seem to be warning signs. In this show, the artist conveyed his visual messages via an avalanche of lively but quickly degenerating ’50s design clichés. Using this borrowed, nostalgia-tinged language, Pittman illustrates the ways in which the cumulative chaos of our age traps and numbs us. These paintings dissect with deadly accuracy the problems of dealing with a culture of excess.

    Overflowing with creepy oranges and greens, ungrounded

  • Shoichi Ida

    In his work Shoichi Ida conducts an ongoing meditation on the relationship between process and material. Employing time-dependent physical interactions (absorption, evaporation, staining) and materials such as cloth, earth, water, bones, and handmade paper, Ida explores notions of what constitutes surface and image in art. Are the two twin brother and sister? When does an object resting against a surface cease to be on that surface and begin to enter it? Is an image always something between the paper and the viewer? Ida often inscribes an image on the back of a semitransparent surface so that

  • Alison Saar

    Alison Saar’s often ironic icons—life-size wood and metal figures, paintings on scraps of tin and guitar backs, and constructions called “potions”—are like models for sacred objects with the power to hurt or cure. These charms take their places as ritual fetishes in Saar’s prototypical folk religion—an amalgam of voodoo, feminism, Catholicism, childhood superstition, and African and Cuban lore. To this brew Saar adds her humor, urban sensibility, and pursuit of the ascension of the human spirit.

    Cigarette fumes, coffee steam, and spirals are three images Saar employs to evoke the struggle to

  • Suzanne Caporael

    The look of these large oil paintings might be described in terms of dueling influences—19th-century landscape painting invaded by intermittent attempts at de Chiricoesque surrealism. Suzanne Caporael was at her best in this exhibition when she let the landscape painter in her have the upper hand, producing murky unpopulated seas and skies—emblems of turmoil—and allowing the works’ evocative treatment of nature to be the main thrust, rather than simply using it as background for some self-consciously enigmatic tableau. An example of this latter tendency included Artaud and Dr. Dardel, 1988, a

  • Ian Falconer

    Ian Falconer’s first solo show—consisting of 20 acrylic-on-canvas paintings, all framed in black and dated 1988—didn’t impart much besides an energetic freedom with paint and a taste for palatable colors, such as pistachio green, burnt orange, mauve, purple, and flesh. Executed in a loose style, the paintings are permeated with reverence for the work of Matisse, Picasso, and David Hockney (Falconer’s teacher). Falconer shares Hockney’s interest in depicting the reclining male nude, but the younger artist’s figures exude no sexual tension. Instead, they project a limited boyish charm and a great