Critics’ Picks

View of “Bloopers II,” 2013–14.

Los Angeles

Asha Schechter

The Finley
4627 Finley Avenue
October 18–January 4

Asha Schechter’s Bloopers II, 2013, would almost pass for a bottled water ad were it stuck on a gas station; here, though, gracing the front of a stuccoed apartment building, this uncanny triptych of vinyl window graphics jostles with the surrounding perennials. Each pane depicts two 3-D-modeled bottles tumbling across computer-enhanced mountains, desert, or foothills. The horizon lines of each image nearly match up, suggesting a panoramic scan of a barren digital planet. From the gallery’s concrete viewing staircase, each clear volume can be seen to contain a microverse of tiny readymades: strawberries, a pair of Crocs, and a set of colored pencils float through the leftmost, for example. The unreal bottles are harmless litter on pristine landscapes—a desktop or a 2-D nowhere—as if pollution could be option-Z’d away. Up close, though, the graphics dissolve into the vinyl’s loose perforations; their weightless, imaginary scenes make a clunky landing in physical space, showing torn edges and grime. Unlike the quirks and glitches of digital models, this IRL roughness evokes the sobering realities of disposability and waste, and the physical fallout of nothingness.

At night, the bright gallery interior overpowers and erases the mesh; small stickers of other “stock” objects—a Fudgesicle, a Windows smartphone, a leaf—appear on the white walls of a stairwell landing. These throwaway images join the actual texture of the Los Feliz Villas, while the building echoes the empty space of the bottle models. Schechter’s piece may not sell any water, but it nonetheless promotes a perverse plasticity. All this is exacerbated by the fact that vinyl ad solutions, sometimes billed as nontoxic, are notoriously toxic.