Daniel Gerwin

  • View of “Em Kettner: Slow Poke,” 2021.
    picks July 13, 2021

    Em Kettner

    One is instantly charmed, disarmed, and utterly moved upon encountering Em Kettner’s diminutive ceramic figures. The viewer initially looks down on her doll-like sculptures because they inhabit a subtly carved white-ash platform, which rises just thirty-one inches off the ground. Be they at play, at rest, or having sex, Kettner’s zany and at times abject beings cannot be grasped from above; one must quickly get down to their level.

    Kettner weaves silk and cotton threads into intricately detailed textiles, which not only clothe the porcelain forms but hold them together. Out of nineteen characters,

  • Lavar Munroe, Virgin and Child, 2020, acrylic, spray paint, mousetraps, bubble gum, pearls, bath towel, and thread on canvas, 70 1/2 x 40 1/2".
    picks December 28, 2020

    Lavar Munroe

    Lavar Munroe’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast is a concise affair, comprised of just three paintings, though each one is large: roughly six feet tall and four feet wide. Made on unstretched canvases, they are intentionally raw, cut into with holes, layered with thick lumps of paint and haphazardly stapled canvas scraps, and glued with all manner of items, including mousetraps, beads, and plastic bags. The warm-weather attire worn by Munroe’s characters seems to locate his narratives in the Caribbean—albeit a fantastical version of it—where the artist grew up and still lives part-time.

  • Amir H. Fallah, The Animals of the World Exist for Their Own Reasons, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 66 x 96".
    picks October 02, 2020

    Amir H. Fallah

    Known for his maximalist, floral tableaux and portraits of people shrouded by richly patterned fabric and often surrounded by objects referencing their own histories, painter Amir H. Fallah presents a new body of work here that departs from his earlier style. The three large tondos in this exhibition are closest to his previous efforts because they repeat signature floral motifs. While still suffused with all manner of flowers and ornamentation, these have now been infiltrated by illustrations taken from children’s literature. The show itself is a kind of children’s book, each piece conceived

  • Srijon Chowdhury, Red Morning Glory, Red Knife, 2019, oil on linen, 24 x 18".
    picks November 07, 2019

    Srijon Chowdhury

    Life and death spiral around each other in “A Divine Dance," Srijon Chowdhury’s first exhibition at Anat Ebgi. Two sober, modestly scaled paintings represent life with particular frankness: Birth (all works 2019) documents Chowdhury’s child emerging from his girlfriend’s straining body, while in the dark and tender 3am, close inspection reveals a hand holding a bottle to an infant’s mouth. Similar subjects are given a different treatment elsewhere, as in A Divine Dance, which towers more than eleven feet high. Its physical edges are doubled by two hands whose elongated fingers meet at the top

  • View of iris yirei hu and ivan forde, 2019.
    picks October 07, 2019

    iris yirei hu and ivan forde

    At the center of iris yirei hu’s installation is a tapestry hanging from a Navajo loom atop clay shards that resemble dry earth mounded over a grave. The woven image is of a weaver, a picture hu pairs with a print of a woman weaving silk (the source image is a Chinese work found in the nineteenth century), which rests on the clay bed. Elsewhere in the gallery is hu’s rendition of an ancient diagram for the development of qi, a practice akin to weaving with life energy instead of with thread. On the wall are two large pictures of flowering yuccas (made in collaboration with Paula Wilson) that

  • Erin Trefry, spirits muse and envelop the torso with winged victory, 2017–19, stoneware, purse handles, fabric, drawer pulls, zip ties, 25 x 24 x 9".
    picks September 23, 2019

    Erin Trefry

    Erin Trefry kept her brushes heavily loaded to make the four large paintings on view in “If the Moon Turns Green,” her first solo presentation and the sixth exhibition at the new Lowell Ryan Projects in Los Angeles. Each canvas is dominated by a tangled armature delineated by thick ribbons of paint. In three of the paintings, the central form appears to be partly a complex architectural idea and partly some fantastical beast determined to lay waste to the nearest town. Shoelaces detail the edges of some shapes while ceramic shards are embedded in the thick impasto, lending a sedimentary quality

  • Suzanne Jackson, Moons in Double Copper Sea, 2017, acrylic, wood veneer, and detritus on paper, 35 1/2 x 45".
    picks February 25, 2019

    Suzanne Jackson

    History reverberates throughout this small exhibition of Suzanne Jackson’s recent work. Jackson was born in Saint Louis in 1944, and, in 1953, her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska; in 1961, she began studying art and dance at San Francisco State University. The O-Town House gallery is on the second level of the Granada Buildings, just a few doors down from the erstwhile location of Gallery 32, which Jackson opened in the same building and ran from 1968­ to 1970. Having studied with Charles White at Otis Art Institute in the late 1960s, she took to heart his injunction that art be a vehicle for

  • Yevgeniya Baras, untitled, 2017, oil on burlap, 28 x 25".
    picks February 19, 2018

    Yevgeniya Baras

    Yevgeniya Baras’s abstract paintings embody a beauty we don’t see much of these days: scummy, grubby, and gnarled. She has a knack for using colors that are somewhere between merely unappealing and utterly revolting: mustards, moldy grays, dirty peach putty, and bilious greens. Against these she sets forms in black, white, lavender, bright blues and greens, fluorescent orange, gold, copper, and silver. The result is not exactly luminous, but she makes her hues ignite like flint against steel. Baras pulls off a similar trick with the physical construction of her works: She sometimes paints on

  • View of “Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Rebecca Morris: Secret Sister,” 2018.
    picks January 23, 2018

    Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Rebecca Morris

    This exhibition, displaying two of Rebecca Morris’s paintings and four of Jessica Jackson Hutchins’s sculptures, feels perfectly tuned. Morris’s signature forms, such as steps reminiscent of a household staircase or front stoop along with blotchy patterning suggesting bacteria or leopard print, are deployed for Untitled (#09-17) (all works 2017), a large canvas glowing in soft salmon pink. The imagery here feels more biomorphic than usual for the artist. Her use of gauzy edges, staining, and pale hues paired with blacks and grays causes the painting to move in and out of focus, a wondrous effect

  • picks December 11, 2017

    Anastasia Douka and Shana Hoehn

    In Anastasia Douka and Shana Hoehn’s current two-person show, the past is pulled into the present while the present is pushed into antiquity. In The wife (Oz) 2017 (modified paper cast of “Aspasia” by Mara Karetsou, 1983), 2017, Douka recasts Karetsou’s bust of Pericles’s mistress from a public sculpture in Athens, adorning the figure’s head with a funnel. The work’s understatement pays homage to women who, despite their accomplishments, are known primarily for their associations with powerful men. Nearby, on a pedestal no more than two inches high, is Douka’s How to Hide, 2016, a collection of

  • Ruth Root, Untitled, 2017, fabric, Plexiglas, enamel paint, spray paint, 93 x 56 1/2".
    picks October 16, 2017

    Ruth Root

    From a distance, Ruth Root’s shaped paintings appear tight and formal, but up close her hand is loose, almost sloppy. Their surfaces reveal the brush’s starts and stops, where paint pooled in lumpy relief. Alternating bands of color are often done freehand, in wavering lines. The overall impression is similar to that of approaching somebody standing stiffly in a three-piece suit, only to discover he is drunkenly slurring his words, and finding everything he says to be riveting.

    Every work in this show is on Plexiglas, with a fabric component attached. Root gives the lie to the old saw that

  • Jim Shaw, Nebuchadnezzar in Abu Ghraib, 2017, acrylic on muslin, 40 x 75 x 3".
    picks July 20, 2017

    Jim Shaw

    A visual maelstrom of black-and-white screen prints and paintings opens Jim Shaw’s exhibit: their marks swirl and overlap, subsuming figures distorted as if they were reflections in a fun-house mirror. Meticulously rendered paintings on segments of worn theatrical backdrops distill and clarify this initial chaotic imagery. Here, Shaw paints vignettes that mash up politics, religion, comic books, Masonic tradition, and art history: Donald Trump plays the role of Satan in an update of William Blake’s Lucifer and the Pope in Hell, ca. 1805; George Washington ascends to the heavens as Zeus; and in