Annabel Osberg

  • Helen Lundeberg, Selma, 1957, oil on canvas, 30 × 24".

    Helen Lundeberg

    As a student, Helen Lundeberg (1908–1999) thought she might become a “minor poet,” as she put it. Fortunately, fate had other plans. By the time she graduated with a major in English from California’s Pasadena Junior College in 1930, the Great Depression had set in, leaving no extant funds for young Lundeberg to continue her education at a four-year university. Instead, a sympathetic family friend, noting her talent for drawing, offered to send her to art school. Yet the surreal paintings in Lundeberg’s exhibition “Enigma of Reality” made clear that her literary inclinations never went away, as

  • Lian Zhang, Forever and ever, 2022, oil on canvas, 78 3⁄4 × 70 7⁄8".

    Lian Zhang

    “Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water; but, for attacking the hard and strong, there is nothing like it!” Lao Tzu exclaimed in the Tao Te Ching. Impelled by this passage, painter Lian Zhang aspires to achieve a form of soft power via delicate fluid brushstrokes that interweave disparate elements across the surface of each canvas. To activate the chi, or life force, “I always imagine that my hands become water; they travel freely when moving here to there in a painting,” the artist says. At first glance, the compositions in her show here, “Fast Dreams, Slow Days,” seemed innocuous,

  • Autumn Ramsey, She Gaze, 2021, oil on canvas, 30 × 24".

    Autumn Ramsey

    Myriad specimens grow within the confines of Autumn Ramsey’s pictures, forming tangled networks that coalesce in strange harmony. Among the painter’s cultivars are bizarre blooms of rippling chevrons, foliage of striped ribbons, and vagrant curlicues in lurid colors. She also propagates hybrids of light, transparency, hue, and texture, often allowing such elements to cascade into abstraction. See, for instance, in End Paper, 2022, how the rainbow-haloed starburst of light toward the painting’s upper left corner glints through a hole of pure white, illuminating a nearby twig and making the hazy

  • Linda Besemer, Kablooey, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 74 × 86".

    Linda Besemer

    Abstract painter Linda Besemer’s monumental lozenge-shaped panel Big Corner Bulge, 2008, ensnares the eye from yards away with its precisely delineated mesh web, culminating in a central convexity appearing physically protuberant, as though enlarged by some invisible lens. Yielding varying effects depending on one’s distance and angle, the work performs its optical magic even for those standing just inches away from its flat surface. When the painting is viewed head on, its titular intumescence shudders, momentarily receding only to balloon once again, inducing mirages of chromatic waves. Indeed,

  • Samantha Roth, Cactus Smuggler (Nail File), 2022, paper, gesso, and colored pencil, 42 7/8 × 29".
    picks July 22, 2022

    Samantha Roth

    Rendered in colored pencil on black-gessoed paper, Samantha Roth’s drawings exude the dim luminance and irrational spatiality of X-rays and somniferous visions, evoking the eerie, unmoored feeling of days and places melting together during Covid-19 lockdowns. In the seven semiautobiographical pieces here, the artist meanders through her pandemic reflections, frequently veering into personal quirks in order to unpack the obsessive, voyeuristic, and paranoiac tendencies that surfaced for so many of us during more than two years of isolation. Her show’s title, “Duplex,” not only refers to the type

  • Joeun Kim Aatchim, Doubt the Hands (The Debt Collector Seeks the Father Through a Milk Delivery Hole), 2022, mineral and earth pigment, glue, refined pine soot ink, charcoal, graphite, and chalk on silk, 35 x 50 x 1 1/4".
    picks May 10, 2022

    Joeun Kim Aatchim

    Joeun Kim Aatchim’s solo show here, titled “사자굴 [Sajagul] — Then, out of the Den,” is based on the artist’s mythicized memories of the apartment in which she grew up in Seoul during the 1990s. Her haunting paintings, made on semitransparent silk, fill a void left by the fact that she and her family have virtually no photographs from that time, which was grievous for them all, paralleling wider unrest in South Korea. Among their tribulations was her father’s bankruptcy, a scenario immortalized in Doubt the Hands (The Debt Collector Seeks the Father Through a Milk Delivery Hole), 2022, in which

  • Page from Criss Cross Double Cross, Issue 1, 1976. Nancy Buchanan, WOLFWOMAN.
    picks April 15, 2022

    “how we are in time and space: Nancy Buchanan, Marcia Hafif, Barbara T. Smith”

    In 1969, Nancy Buchanan (b. 1946), Marcia Hafif (1929–2018), and Barbara T. Smith (b. 1931), met as students in the inaugural class of the University of California, Irvine’s MFA studio art program. The three artists, all divorced mothers, quickly found kinship in their mutual penchant for experimental genres and feminist issues. After graduating in 1971, Smith and Buchanan became involved with the Southern California feminist art movement, while Hafif moved to New York to pursue her career as an abstract painter. Despite their diverging paths, the trio remained lifelong friends. Curated by

  • Liz Nielsen, Sailor’s Delight, 2020, analog chromogenic photogram, 49 1/4 x 67 7/8".
    picks December 06, 2021

    Liz Nielsen

    The twenty monumental photograms comprising Liz Nielsen’s show here, “I’d Like to Imagine You’re in a Place Like This,” are like mosaics of liquefied jewels. The artist refers to them as “light paintings,” and her early training in painting and printmaking certainly shines through. Evoking Helen Frankenthaler’s blocky fields of poured color, the saturated hues of her photographs seem to simultaneously protrude and recede into space, yielding surprisingly tactile visual sensations. Nielsen achieves these effects via her own systematically ordered methodology of layering transparent and opaque

  • View of “Greg Ito: Apparition,” 2021.
    picks October 25, 2021

    Greg Ito

    Greg Ito’s solo show here, “Apparition,” assumes the form of an immersive installation and is suffused with yearning—for a deeper connection to the past or, perhaps, a better today. Augmenting the eerie, wistful atmosphere are symbols of growth and metamorphosis interspersed with allegories of destruction and climate change. Recurring motifs—burning homes, California poppies, falling gingko leaves—obliquely reference aspects of the artist’s personal history as a fourth-generation Angeleno of Japanese heritage.

    A one-chamber walk-in structure, Home Sweet Home (all works 2021), glows invitingly

  • 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