Annabel Osberg

  • Kristy Luck, becoming a place, 2021, oil on canvas, 35 x 42".
    picks July 28, 2021

    Kristy Luck

    “Know thyself,” commands the age-old adage; yet no matter how hard one tries, the true depths of one’s history and identity remain inscrutable. This inscrutability lies at the crux of Kristy Luck’s enthralling show of new paintings, many of which portray a crouching specter haunting solemn, dreamlike spaces. In giving something a name doesn’t make it real (all works 2021), this figure is flanked by two stelelike shapes bearing motifs that call to mind Native American symbols. Who is this mystery person—could it be the artist, perhaps, or one of her predecessors? 

    For Luck, these works originated

  • Linda Stark, Valentine, 2020, oil on panel, 7 x 7 x 1 3/8".
    picks October 16, 2020

    Linda Stark

    Appearing on everything from erasers to emojis, the heart symbol is ubiquitous for good reason: The blood-pumping muscle’s vital function is an ideal metaphor for life and love. Yet it can also beat as a locus of pain, a metronome to mortality. Indulging a tenor more heartsore than heartsome in her new body of work here, Linda Stark seeks to reclaim the popular icon from its feel-good connotations of feminine affection and treacly approval. Setting the mournful mood is Burr Heart II (all works cited, 2020), in which collaged seedpods lie trapped—like tiny arrows—in the viscid scarlet of the

  • Caitlin Cherry, Domain Vague (Art McGee), 2020, oil on canvas, 59 x 101".
    picks August 03, 2020

    Caitlin Cherry

    The oil paintings and digital collages in Caitlin Cherry’s online show Corps Sonore call forth a phantasmagorical nightclub harboring cliques of bionic sirens bathed in an opulent, rippling iridescence. Sourced from social media feeds, Cherry’s reimagined subjects embody a specific ideal of Black femme beauty associated with rappers, exotic dancers, and glamour models—women whose efforts are frequently disparaged, ignored, and, in some instances, even criminalized. In the paintings, Cherry distorts her protagonists’ bodies with moiré swirls, cryptic numerals, and disjunctive blocks of vivid

  • Rubén Ortiz Torres, Burnt, 2020, urethane and crystals on car hood, 48 x 62 x 7".
    picks April 03, 2020

    Rubén Ortiz Torres

    Rubén Ortiz Torres’s new work responds to the “glitter revolution” that erupted in Mexico City last August when demonstrators glitter-bombed the city’s security minister in outrage over policemen’s rape of a teenage girl. Subsequent uprisings throughout Mexico protested officials’ complicity in rampant misogynistic brutality. This exhibition’s title, “Plata o plomo o glitter,” adverts to Colombian capo Pablo Escobar’s notorious catchphrase, Plata o plomo (“Silver or lead”), meaning, Accept the bribe or be assassinated. Inserting the sparkly medium into this macho equation, Ortiz Torres wryly

  • Tania Franco Klein, _Toaster (Self-Portrait), 2016, ink-jet print, 63 x 42".
    picks December 30, 2019

    Tania Franco Klein

    Popular culture often conflates travel with personal development. But if the lone wanderers in Tania Franco Klein’s photographs were hoping for self-discovery, they appear to have gotten lost in non-places, presumably still in the present day but replete with nostalgic affectations. Franco Klein titled this show “Proceed to the Route,” after the command some GPS applications paradoxically give to users who have strayed off course. Photographs and wallpaper installations from various bodies of work are juxtaposed in unexpected configurations, evoking split-screen disjunctions.

    Franco Klein’s

  • Tala Madani, The Womb, 2019, animation, color, silent, 3 minutes 26 seconds.
    picks September 25, 2019

    Tala Madani

    Having plumbed the depths of male folly, Tala Madani is now taking on her own gender. In droll contrast to Madonnas and other idealized depictions of motherhood, her latest show, “Shit Moms,” centers on muddy anti-heroines and their imps as metaphors for humanity’s innate baseness and vulnerability.

    A painted animation, The Womb (all works cited, 2019), could be taken as an origin story. A writhing, developing embryo is subjected to a cartoon chronicle of world history, including its most violent scenes, projected onto the inside of its mother’s belly: Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Finally,

  • Thu Van Tran, De Vert a Orange, 2019, photograph, alchohol, colorant, rust, 70.87 x 94.49".
    picks August 16, 2019

    “Where the Sea Remembers”

    “Where the Sea Remembers” is roughly titled after noted antiwar Vietnamese singer and composer Trịnh Công Sơn’s wistful tune, often sung during the Vietnam War as a farewell between those departing and those remaining at refugee camps. Encompassing work in a variety of media, the show is unfettered by an overarching theme, though the interests of the thirteen exhibiting artists—most of whom currently live in Vietnam—overlap in their exploration of notions of belonging, displacement, technological advancement, and wars waged in and devastation wrecked on their homeland.

    Standout pieces weave

  • Pierre Ardouvin, Ohlala, 2013, playground swing set, plaster, resin, 177 1/8 x 137 3/4 x 236 1/4 ".
    picks April 26, 2019

    Pierre Ardouvin

    Is childhood ever the simple, innocent era so often depicted in popular culture? Pierre Ardouvin teases dubiety out of youth’s ostensible joys. His current exhibition begins with “Phrase,” 2018–19, a set of watercolor-and-crayon drawings portraying weathered playthings—a creepy clown and puppet included—whose sappy pretensions are tempered by eerie undercurrents. For example, in one drawing, a boy’s head (which might be that of a doll) occupies the lower half of the page; he rolls his eyes keenly upward toward a small figurine of a pistol-pointing soldier, as if imagining his future self.

    A more

  • Tarrah Krajnak, Self Portrait (Holding) with Woman at Hostal, 1979 Lima, Peru/ 2019 Los Angeles, 2019, cyanotype, 8 x 10".
    picks April 08, 2019

    Tarrah Krajnak

    Tarrah Krajnak was born in Lima, Peru, in 1979. That same year, she was orphaned, adopted by a Czech American family, and brought to the United States. The artist knows virtually nothing about her Peruvian parents, who may have gone missing during the burgeoning Shining Path uprising. Krajnak’s current exhibition, “1979: Contact Negatives,” serves as both a studio and a portal into her ongoing exploration of the roots she lost amid political turbulence.

    At the opening reception, she projected photos of Lima from a 1979 magazine on the walls and photographed herself interacting with the projections

  • View of “Trinidad / Joy Station,” 2019.
    picks March 13, 2019

    Beatriz Cortez

    If you were migrating to outer space, what would you bring with you? Beatriz Cortez raises this question in three interconnected installations at Craft Contemporary. Visitors first encounter Nomad 13, 2017/19, a portable garden in the form of a space capsule that Cortez created in collaboration with artist Rafa Esparza. Displayed in nearby niches are Burned, 2012, a charred tome from Cortez’s “Books of Memory” series, 2012, and seashells from a suitcase she packed in 1989 as she was fleeing the civil war in her native El Salvador for the US. Elsewhere, in Clandestine Garden, 2012/19, verdant

  • Rema Ghuloum, Come back as a Flower, 2018, oil, acrylic, and acryla-gouache on canvas, 72 x 54".
    picks February 08, 2019

    Rema Ghuloum

    Simmering with psychic intensity, Rema Ghuloum's eight hazy abstractions in “Love Is a Feeling” conjure the geometric and mythical lexicons of Paul Klee and Hilma af Klint, viewed through Rothko-esque fields of transparent color. Each work yields varying effects depending on one's viewing angle and distance. Seen from across the room, their salient attribute is a lustrous, mottled palette. As one approaches, an atmospheric sense of depth unfolds.

    The artist's meditative process of building up and sanding down layers of diaphanous glazes, stains, and brushstrokes is palpable in these intricate

  • View of “Farrah Karapetian: Collective Memory,” 2019.
    picks January 23, 2019

    Farrah Karapetian

    An unearthly red glow permeates the dim rooms of Farrah Karapetian’s haunting exhibition “Collective Memory.” Arranged with the impromptu panache of a dive bar, the installation seems as if it were part of a bizarre dream. On a chalkboard wall in the entryway, #WEWONTBEERASED is frenetically scrawled over and over in wobbly parallel lines. Here, the urgency of the hashtag for transgender solidarity is rendered materially.

    Karapetian based this show on her friend and gallerist Tarrah von Lintel’s fond personal anecdotes about Club Shine, a transgender nightclub at LA’s last lesbian bar, the Oxwood