Critics’ Picks

Vespers Pageant, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 80".

New Orleans

Iva Gueorguieva

Heriard-Cimino Gallery
440 Julia Street
May 3–June 3

With Cy Twombly–esque energy and the mischievous lushness of Cecily Brown, Los Angeles–based artist Iva Gueorguieva launches into her canvases, and the results juxtapose curious, self-conscious markings and sweeping brushstrokes. In Vespers Pageant, 2007, both title and image indicate an elusive dichotomy. The artist offers seemingly innocent abstract fields of blue, green, and purple forms that are in fact inscribed with highly sexual contour line imagery. While evening church services often provide a theater for such pageantry, those conducting the vespers would probably not equate the secular and religious in this way. The wit and whimsy continues in Prolapse, 2008. A bubble-gum pink form arches across the foreground and dominates the left side of the canvas, beneath which lies a yellow-headed boxy female figure with a webbed foot. The fallen figure rests on a field of crisp cerulean blue underneath rolling cloud formations in the distance. Except for the intensifying pink on the inner rim of the arch that spurts into bloody reds, the overall lyricism and playfulness of the composition creates a humorous contrast with the notion of slippage and sinkage of bodily organs proffered by the title. Launching Decrepitus, 2004, completed in New Orleans before the artist’s move to Los Angeles in 2005, is one of the most engaging works in this show. A succession of four black-and-white trees recede into space, while thick, uneven black lines slash diagonally across the left side of the canvas, dramatically continuing the perspectival line of the trees. This earlier work is more focused on drawn line yet retains the control of exuberance and chaos evident in the more recent pieces; it provides an informative framework for the rest of the show.