Suzanne Hudson

  • Adam Higgins, Caesar salad with lemon wedge, boiled egg, and baguette slices, 2022, oil and canvas mounted on panel, 30 × 36".
    print March 15, 2023

    Adam Higgins

    “My Salad Years,” the title of Adam Higgins’s debut exhibition at Chris Sharp Gallery, was a paean to innocence, channeling the halcyon times spoken of in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (1623), where “green” connotes youth as much as lettuce. Yet the artist’s deft, nearly photorealistic renditions of salads—Caesars more specifically, keeping with the classical theme—do belie this, as they suggest durational practice and studied command of painting’s devices instead. In any case, Higgins has worked on this subject exclusively for the past two years. (An iterative body of work from 2019 focused

  • Franklin Williams, Dissimilar Enough to Require Each Other, 1975, acrylic, paper, vinyl, and crochet thread on canvas, 62 1⁄2 × 59".

    Franklin Williams

    “Meditative Spectacle: Paintings 1974–76” picked up where Parker Gallery’s 2017 show on Franklin Williams’s earlier career left off, with the artist, now ensconced in Petaluma, California, honing his richly patterned and labor-intensive constructions in willful disregard of the contemporary scene despite his proximity to it. The prior installment included works Williams made during his student years at San Francisco’s California College of Arts and Crafts—now known as California College of the Arts—when visiting instructor John Coplans disabused him of painting in an Abstract Expressionist key,

  • Alexis Smith, The American Way, 1980, mixed-media collage, 16 × 52".

    Alexis Smith

    “Alexis Smith: The American Way” is the Los Angeles artist’s first retrospective in three decades, comprising early artist books made in the 1970s, room-size installations from the 1980s, and more recent mixed-media collages that extend into the 2010s. A proper, well-structured presentation of some fifty works, it nevertheless maintains a sense of intimacy, like a love letter from the show’s curator, Anthony Graham. Smith is everywhere and nowhere here; her variously mediated presence is rendered structural to the work and its staging, beginning with the first gallery’s spotlighting of Your Name

  • Beatrice Wood, Untitled (Head in Abstraction), 1996, pencil and colored pencil on paper, 10 1⁄4 × 13 1⁄4".

    Beatrice Wood

    Beatrice Wood died in 1998 at the age of 105. Her life was fantastic, if implausible in the details that made it so, seemingly even to her (she titled her 1985 autobiography I Shock Myself). While she was dubbed the Mama of Dada for her involvement with Henri-Pierre Roché and Marcel Duchamp—with whom she formed the Society of Independent Artists and published the journal The Blind Man—it was nevertheless the ceramics she made beginning in the 1930s, after moving to Los Angeles in 1926, that have been the subject of more recent recuperation. Featuring iridescent puckered lusterware skins, these

  • Lavialle Campbell, Target, 2022, cotton quilt, 9 1⁄2 × 9 1⁄2". From “The Sum of the Parts: Dimensions in Quilting.”

    “The Sum of the Parts: Dimensions in Quilting”

    This year marks the twentieth anniversary of “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend,” an epic exhibition that opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and traveled for four years. The show helped to reframe its titular objects—made exclusively by Black women in rural Alabama—as modernist artworks. Writing about the presentation when it was on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art for the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman was palpably enthused, finding in the quilts’ ingenious geometries “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced,” noting the formal apposition of the designs

  • Victoria Gitman, Untitled, 2021, oil on board, 9 1⁄4 × 7 3⁄4".

    Victoria Gitman

    The press release for Victoria Gitman’s master class of a retrospective “Everything Is Surface: Twenty Years of Painting” shares that the show owed its title to a line from John Ashbery’s 1974 poem, “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.” Ashbery’s text is also an homage—the title was borrowed from a sixteenth-century tondo painted by Italian Mannerist Parmigianino, an image the poet first encountered in reproduction. Parmigianino’s work is remarkable for how he depicted himself: His reflection is distorted by the curvature of the titular looking glass, but the panel on which the image was created

  • Jordan Nassar, O Moon!, 2022, cotton thread on cotton, artist frame, 43 × 54 1⁄2".

    Jordan Nassar

    For his Los Angeles debut at Anat Ebgi in 2017, Jordan Nassar presented a selection of small cotton-on-canvas panels featuring silhouetted embroidered images of swelling, often mountainous terrain. Each thread painting offered a complex and surprisingly tender evocation of a landscape receding into pictorial space, seemingly predicated on a structuring of distance: These environments were simultaneously close but inaccessible, formal yet geopolitical. Much of this effect stemmed from Nassar’s use of Palestinian tatreez embroidery, a form of traditional hand stitching used by women to decorate

  • Cameron Martin, Deluge, 2021, triptych, acrylic on canvas, each panel 66 × 53".


    A DECADE AGO, painter Cameron Martin abandoned full-bleed compositions and the “inherent illusionism” (as he explained it at the time) of motifs that spread edge to edge across the support. He began to bracket selected details of his source images—natural environments appropriated from found photos and his own snapshots—within increasingly emphatic framing devices. The paintings remain recognizable as landscapes, if mediated by redoubled borders and geometric overlays. Their blanched geographies, rendered in gray scale, are cropped, as if to emphasize the genre’s ever-encroaching gaze, its wanton

  • Sylvia Snowden, Betty, 1974, oil on canvas, 80 × 60 1⁄4".

    Sylvia Snowden

    “Sylvia Snowden: Select Works, 1966–2020” was the eighty-year-old artist’s first show at Parrasch Heijnen gallery in Los Angeles. Making up for lost time, this historical (but not chronological) survey of expressively rendered canvases with thickly encrusted surfaces—the paint troweled and visibly mixed in the act of conjuring bodies from the obdurate material—was a contrast to the more focused “Sylvia Snowden: The M Street Series, 1982–1988,” which was concurrently on display for her debut presentation at New York’s Franklin Parrasch Gallery. The latter’s tight grouping featured portrayals of

  • Francesco Clemente, Two Trees, 2001, fresco (traditional pigments on honey comb panel plastered with fresh lime), 9' 10'' × 19' 8''.

    Francesco Clemente

    “Twenty Years of Painting: 2001–2021” was the first show of Francesco Clemente’s work in Los Angeles in almost two decades. (The artist’s last outing, an elegiac 2003 Gagosian presentation that spanned New York and LA, offered a selection of then-recent works that conspicuously absented the human figure—a resonant meditation on loss.) Here, in a decommissioned and vacated Depression-era post office in Santa Monica, thirty pieces were spread across some fifteen thousand square feet of exhibition space. The spare Moderne interior, all rose marble and stained wood, supplied a surprisingly pitch-perfect

  • Lee Bontecou, Untitled, ca. 1982–87, graphite on graph paper, 8 1⁄2 × 11".

    Lee Bontecou

    Although Lee Bontecou remains better known for her sculptures—such as the bulbous, seamed, and multipaneled wall reliefs organized around a central cavity, or the chitinous insectoid objects that hang from ceilings—her career-spanning works on paper have generated due attention in the past few years, most notably in the 2014 exhibition “Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds” at Houston’s Menil Collection, curated by Michelle White. The Menil show spanned fifty years and presented drawings done in soot—a welding-torch by-product the artist discovered while on a Fulbright Fellowship in Rome in 1957 and used

  • Susan Silton, We See It Differently, You and I, 2020, photo intaglio print on paper, 14 1⁄2 × 18". From the sixteen-part suite We See It Differently, You and I, 2020.

    Susan Silton

    “We,” Susan Silton’s first solo show with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, featured a suite of sixteen photographic prints of the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Northern California. Each black-and-white work presents two nearly identical views of coastal redwoods, resolutely earthbound trunks emerging from the grassy floor. Silton shot them on her iPhone; vantages capture clearings and the receding spaces of deep, dense groves that eschew the aperture of sky. She subjected the snaps to Apple filters (more limited than what is currently available, because she made the images between 2014