Jan Tumlir

  • View of “Brandon Lattu: Full to Bursting,” 2019.
    picks July 31, 2019

    Brandon Lattu

    Brandon Lattu’s work is grounded in photography, a medium that has gradually relinquished every last trace of material specificity. What remains specific about photographs is their innate referentiality; they tend to expose not themselves, but something else: life, either as it is or as it could be. Lattu’s exhibition at Richard Telles, “Full to Bursting,” speaks to the current representational excess that swells the frames of pictures and inexorably pushes out into reality. For instance, a massive print in the main gallery titled Potatoes and Pebbles with Truffle Tumors (An Allegory), 2019,

  • Lara Schnitger, Judith, 2019, fabric on canvas, 70 × 48".

    Lara Schnitger

    Lara Schnitger’s solo exhibition at Grice Bench opened with Judith (all works cited 2019), a modestly scaled work of fabric on canvas portraying the titular figure with the severed head of Holofernes resting on a surface beneath her gently curved hands. Many male artists have tried to depict this same heroic, feminist scene. Notable among them is Caravaggio, whose Judith is shown wielding her blade against Holofernes’s neck, releasing a bright-red spray. Schnitger’s version comes closer to that of Gustav Klimt, whose sultry sophisticate defiantly meets the gaze of the beholder in the aftermath

  • DESKTOP PICTURE PLANE

    MATTHEW BRANNNON’S WORK is known for its dark explorations of male—and specifically American male—subjectivity. It is obviously informed by Freudian psychoanalysis, and on this point it is worth noting that Freud was no great fan of America, which he located as the epicenter of modern civilization’s “discontents.” Being American, Brannon is implicated and therefore ambivalent in his approach: The subject under analysis is always him.

    Brannon’s work has long been suffused with a lyrical tone, intimate and confessional. He is a highly literate artist and also a literary one, having, between 2007

  • Jack Goldstein, Under Water Sea Fantasy, 1983–2003, 16 mm, color, sound, 6 minutes 30 seconds.

    Jack Goldstein

    Jack Goldstein (1945–2003) is one of those artists who is always ripe for reappraisal. As the times change around his work, the work itself also changes, though not in a way that suggests either foresight or myopia on Goldstein’s part. This work does not predict the future, nor does it obsolesce in the future’s wake; rather, it maintains its composure even as it is profoundly impacted by every new context it occupies. This was certainly the case in a modest but encapsulating exhibition mounted this summer at 1301PE, which featured a projection of Goldstein’s 16-mm film Under Water Sea Fantasy,

  • Kim Schoen’s Tell Me Who I Am, 2017, and I Am What You Say, 2017, each HD video, color, sound, 22 minutes.

    Kim Schoen

    Superficiality and nonsense are words that readily come to mind in relation to Kim Schoen’s work. The artist revels in these conditions but does so in a philosophical manner, often mining even the most vapid subjects to an astonishing depth. Her previous solo exhibition at the Moskowitz Bayse gallery in Los Angeles was constructed around the topic of “book blanks,” objects that outwardly resemble books but are empty inside. An interest in the formal signs of meaning and intelligence, as observed from the outside, was no less evident in Schoen’s most recent effort at Young Projects. However, in

  • View of “Dave Hullfish Bailey,” 2018. Photo: Brica Wilcox.

    Dave Hullfish Bailey

    Our occupancy of the natural environment leaves behind traces over time, records etched upon the surface of the earth that can be followed downward, geologically, through layers of sedimentation. In his recent exhibition, “Hardscrabble,” at the REDCAT, Dave Hullfish Bailey reflected on four sites within the western American landscape that bear a particularly vexed and complex relation to matters of human usage: the Purgatoire River drainage in southern Colorado, former setting of Drop City, a hippie commune housed in geodesic domes; a nearby square mile of land in Huerfano County, government

  • Martine Syms, Some what?, 2016, self-adhesive vinyl, 6' 3“ x 14' 2”. From “At this stage.”

    “At this stage”

    In a 1982 essay on the work of Dan Graham, Jeff Wall offered a resoundingly downbeat assessment of the shifting relationship between artists and the city. For recent artists, he argued, the metropolis was no longer a source of inspiration or aesthetic advancement—instead, “the key revelation of the city was in the shock of an absolute loss of hope.” Tellingly, these words were written at the start of the Reagan era, when the old urban order was collapsing, and blighted, postindustrial cities were being remade into commercial centers, shiny simulacra of urban experience. This same transformation

  • View of “Eric Wesley/St. Louis (The Bell),” 2016–17, 1296 Camp Jackson Road, Cahokia, IL.

    Eric Wesley’s The Bell

    ARRIVING FOR THE OPENING of Eric Wesley’s survey-scale exhibition at the Los Angeles gallery 356 S. Mission Rd. in January 2015, visitors encountered a new Nissan parked at a rakish angle in the back lot, with its front doors ajar and music blaring from its speakers. That this was an artwork would surely never have occurred to many of those in attendance had it not been for the checklist, where it was designated Infinity Project (Black), 2015, with materials given as “clear lacquer paint on Infiniti.” The added finish seals the deal on the car’s integrity as a sculptural proposition—an

  • Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #47, 1979, gelatin silver print, 8 × 10". From the series “Untitled Film Stills,” 1979–80.

    Cindy Sherman

    It was in 1977 that Cindy Sherman began work on her breakout series of “Untitled Film Stills,” 1977–80, exhaustively restaging, before a still camera, the range of roles that defined women on the silver screen. Back then, publicity stills were routinely displayed in the lobbies of movie theaters. These were framed pictures, shot by professional photographers on production sets, that always diverged in their perspective, often subtly but sometimes dramatically, from the footage shown on-screen. It seems probable that these uncanny objects, suffused in celluloid fiction while also hinting at its

  • Mariah Garnett, Other & Father, 2016, two-channel HD video transferred from 16 mm, color, sound, 11 minutes. Installation view.

    Mariah Garnett

    Titled “Other & Father,” Mariah Garnett’s first solo show at ltd los angeles revolved around a BBC television news feature shot in Belfast in 1971 that addressed the challenges faced by a young couple of different denominations at the start of the sectarian fray that came to be known as the Troubles. The Protestant half of this relationship happens to be Garnett’s father—a parent the artist would not meet until 2007, after a separation that lasted most of her life—here just inching past adolescence, sporting a very glam haircut and shown alongside his then girlfriend. Garnett was

  • Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis, Different Kind of Star, 2016, ink-jet print and acrylic on canvas, 7 × 14'.

    Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis

    There is a long tradition of artists and writers joining forces—in small journals, limited-edition books, and other printed matter. Yet even when formed on the basis of evident stylistic affinities, these working relationships have rarely been egalitarian; typically, the pictures illustrate the words or else the words caption the pictures. The coproductions of artist Alex Israel and novelist Bret Easton Ellis are something else, not only in that they are singular artworks, made to be hung on the walls of a gallery rather than circulated as publications, but because neither side gains the

  • Calvin Marcus, Automatic Drawing #18, 2015, oil crayon and Flashe paint on linen, 48 × 96". From the series “Automatic Drawings,” 2014–.

    Calvin Marcus

    Calvin Marcus’s first major solo show in Los Angeles was titled “Malvin Carcus,” suggesting, somewhat perversely for this painter just embarking on his professional career, that the works on view were traceable to an alter ego, and, moreover, to one that might be deceased—a carcass. The transposition of letters in Marcus’s name could be interpreted as a revealing slip of the tongue, a spoonerism, but one performed consciously, to both acknowledge the morbid specters that haunt all talk of painting and to get them out of the way. Or it could be read as perfectly meaningless but nonetheless