Critics’ Picks

Linda Stark, Burr Weave, 2012, oil and burrs on canvas over panel, 13 x 14 x 2”.

Linda Stark, Burr Weave, 2012, oil and burrs on canvas over panel, 13 x 14 x 2”.

Los Angeles

“My most striking Feature is my Fist”

Karma International | Los Angeles
4619 West Washington Blvd
September 4–November 3, 2018

Thick waxy stripes of red paint intersect to form a gingham pattern in Linda Stark’s thirteen-by-fourteen-inch painting Burr Weave, 2012. The cheery design is disrupted at the bottom of the canvas as the pigment overruns the lower edge, the way a candy apple’s sticky coating pools around its base. This hanging sanguine excess reads as body matter, the stretched lining of an organ. Underneath the viscous skin, dozens of little burrs adhered to the canvas appear to be strange sharp-toothed bodies trapped in amber.

Stark’s painting, along with the other works in this titillating and quick-witted show, addresses the experience of living in a body, with its excesses and deviances, through a perverse use of materials and an unorderly aesthetic. Chloe Seibert’s pseudo-portraits of friends are ghoulish faces smeared into giant circles of wet plaster and adorned with piercings made of metal hardware and eyelashes made of nails. Bri Williams’s crude hive sculpture was built from layers of hygienic pink and yellow soap but is titled Kanker, a word suggestive of cancer and canker sores. Alake Shilling’s black-and-white paintings of anthropomorphized dogs, reminiscent of early cartoons, suggest parodic and menacing relationships to the human. Following Peggy Phelan’s prescient declaration that visibility is a trap, these artists have found ways to speak about the mess of human subjectivity by skirting its literal figuration and instead embracing its overflows and dissonances.