Critics’ Picks

Yesim II, 2006.

Los Angeles

Dietmar Lutz

Karyn Lovegrove Gallery
6150 Wilshire Boulevard, #8
October 21–November 25

The paintings in German artist Dietmar Lutz’s solo exhibition are like blurry snapshots that linger along the edges of memories. The show consists of over a dozen large-scale paintings (with a few smaller works mixed in) of Lutz's friends and accomplices, caught sometimes at leisure, other times while at work in their studios. All have a quiet, intimate feel, which creates an interesting counterpoint to Lutz's work with the artist collective hobbypopMUSEUM, what with its overtly political subjects, among them the Baader-Meinhof gang. Leached of political content, these paintings seem fetching attempts to capture fleeting moments, retaining a soft-focus universality common to movie-star portraits of another era. Lutz’s bright treatment of his subjects plays with color and Pop figuration in a manner reminiscent of David Hockney. In one painting, a man—mimicking Pollock?—drips paint onto a large canvas; in a neighboring piece, he smiles, relaxed, as the same work hangs on the wall behind him. Walking into the downstairs gallery Lovegrove rented for the month to present Lutz’s large show, one is confronted with two different paintings of the same woman, large black glasses hiding her visage like a starlet. One extra-blurry picture seems like a toss-away copy of the other, but together they reveal a playfulness that succeeds by capturing the simple, luminous qualities of personal interaction. They remind me of a photograph found in the road, smudged with dirt, the people smiling at the camera, a lost memory so close in resemblance to my own that I wonder where I’ve seen them before.