Honora Shea

  • picks December 01, 2016

    Kelly Akashi

    The objects in this exhibition take shape slowly, crystallizing through a careful, layered process of looking. These works have been blown, cast, twisted, burned, assembled, dipped, duplicated, and printed, creating little trails of existence. Kelly Akashi has clearly contemplated her materials. Devoid of apparent narrative, however, they manifest as stoppages in time.

    Hairy Weed (all works cited, 2016) looks like a dead plant, placed strategically in the cracked concrete floor of the gallery. But it is a re-creation, its delicate leaves made of copper, not decaying organic matter. You wouldn’t

  • picks October 27, 2016

    Cara Benedetto

    “Medea is heard moving inside the house,” reads the sentence in booming enamel sans-serif letters on the wall outside the gallery. Indeed, that mythic figure’s ghost rustles inside this darkly lit exhibition, among apparitions of other female protagonists, including the artist Cara Benedetto herself and Elaine Morgan—the late author of the feminist evolutionary tome, and this exhibition’s namesake, The Descent of Woman (1972). Though there is a confounding array of mediums on display, the women of this exhibition are ultimately conjured by language.

    The press release is in the form of a poetic

  • picks September 19, 2016

    Hanne Darboven

    Hanne Darboven’s systematic output is intimidating, partly due to its inscrutability but mostly because of its scope and ambition. This is serious work, as in labor, and it is displayed here to a rare enough degree that initial feelings of awe turn into a strange sense of gratitude.

    Much of what’s here is writing. Erdkunde I, II, III (Geography I, II, III), 1986, covers the walls of the massive first-floor gallery with more than seven hundred framed panels. Some contain photographs of her studio or previous installations, encyclopedia pages or detailed drawings, but most are repetitive numbered

  • picks July 29, 2016

    Barbara Kasten

    Barbara Kasten’s photographs and moving images have a lot to say about the relationships between perception and physical reality, and even the complicated dialogue between an image and its author. The oldest works in the show, “Constructs LB 1-6,” 1982, are small color Polaroid prints, which vibrantly record the artist’s previous installations composed of geometric objects, light, and shadow. Though not wholly abstract, the compositions feel theatrical and painterly while emphasizing contrast, spatial volume, and a lack of recognizable hierarchy.

    The images in the 2016 series “Elementals” are

  • picks June 01, 2016

    “Exquisite Corpse”

    “Exquisite Corpse,” curated by Niklas Svennung of Galerie Chantel Crousel, is named for a game reportedly played by the Surrealists in Paris in which people contributed unassociated words and images to create collaborative poems or drawings. In a 1948 essay, “The Exquisite Corpse: Its Exaltation,” André Breton described the exercise as “an infallible means of sending the mind’s critical mechanism away on vacation and fully releasing its metaphorical potentialities.”

    Results of the game are displayed on one wall, in the form of sixteen untitled drawings authored in groups by Breton, Yves Tanguy,

  • picks May 13, 2016

    Isabel Yellin

    Isabel Yellin’s pillowy sculptures are bulbous, voluptuous, and come in black, white, muted pink, and taupe tones. As they hang by chains and cords from high rafters, their curves are highlighted by the sunlight streaming into the gallery. They look like misshapen punching bags, bringing to mind a rickety gym where a kid might work out her ambitions and anger in secret. But this is no teenager’s lair—if the gallery is an arena, Yellin’s nuanced works put up a formidable fight.

    These are physical objects first—defined as much by their materiality as by emotion or narrative. Made of synthetic

  • picks March 17, 2016

    James Welling

    James Welling’s most recent series of photographs “Choreograph,” 2014–2015, currently displayed at Regen Projects across town, is about dance. But layered behind many of those color-soaked images of dancers in motion is a backdrop of architecture that harkens back to earlier phases of his practice. The language of vernacular architecture in Los Angeles, for instance, was at the forefront of two of his series of black-and-white photographs, “Los Angeles Architecture,” 1976–78, and “Los Angeles, 2003” 2003, on view in this exhibition. The former includes eerie nighttime compositions that highlight