Critics’ Picks

View of “Eden Eden Eden,” 2015.

Los Angeles

Juliette Blightman

Karma International | Los Angeles
4619 West Washington Blvd
March 4–March 27

Beneath the long fronds of a potted houseplant, a sizeable black speaker rumbles like a distant party. The noise haunts or taunts, beckons or repulses, depending perhaps on whether you’re invited. From Juliette Blightman, an artist best known for her short films and installations, this suite of gouaches, graphite works, oils, and acrylics picture tangled naked men at a 5 AM party, women with their backs turned, often looking at art (sometimes noted as from the “Hair and Arse” series, 2014), women frolicking by the seaside, and clusters of friends. Interiors and trains, grand museums, fireworks at a grandmother’s funeral—the pictures come from Bregenz and Zurich, Surrey and Berlin, London, and Istanbul.

The colors of these simple, bright compositions veil and unfurl, revealing an interlocking set of humans to which you may or may not belong, of lives lived and reported (even from afar) with a gentle lyricism and a licentious charm. The first exhibition of a potentially yearlong outpost of the Zurich gallery Karma International, these pictures bespeak a group of extended friends with the mixed privilege of precarious international fluidity. The sense of inclusion and exclusion built into these kinds of communities and pictures is willfully acknowledged by the artist, both in an interview in the press release and in the title of one of the included series of numbered works, “Exclusivities” (on the checklist as No. 1 and No. 2, both 2015). Do you feel excluded? Included? When you hear the sound of the distant party, do you kvetch at the noise, smile at the faraway dancing with shimmying memories, or, with license one can only grant to oneself, do you say fuck it and crash? Or perhaps, best yet: Inspired, do you just start your own?