Critics’ Picks

View of “Kill All Zombies,” 2015.

View of “Kill All Zombies,” 2015.

Los Angeles

“Kill All Zombies”

The Property Gallery
440 S Broadway 2nd Floor)
October 11–November 14, 2015

This playfully titled exhibition, “Kill All Zombies,” purports to take aim at the made-for-market abstract works that have recently infested the art world. The photographs in the show, for instance, could be discussed in terms of a new materiality; however, all three photographers depart from the sterile coolness of formal interrogations of medium to the weird and even biographical: In John Houck’s Decorated Shed, 2015, cheery yellow rubber duckies function metonymically for his youthful ambitions to be an architect, while referencing Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s demarcation between ducks and decorated sheds as ways to consider the division between modern and postmodern architecture.

Across the room, Cameron Crone’s color photograph Overlay 1, 2014, plays with the texture of kitty litter on a towel, highlighting how the eye has an almost haptic sense of material. We have seen profound shifts in photography of late, and the painting and sculpture shown here follows astride. Julia Haft-Candell’s Eye with Letter on Granite, 2015, combines materials such as ceramics, wood, and marble to evoke an animalistic and almost surgically constructed cyborg. Lilly Aldriedge’s painting Fan, 2015, is immediately alluring due to its danse macabre in layers of translucent sienna and umbers. Above all, though, this exhibition looks askance at our historical moment. Akin to the debate about buildings generating form-based or sign-based meaning in architecture, “Kill All Zombies” refutes the divisions between modern form as an aestheticization of the ordinary and the postmodern sign as skepticism of expression. Thus we are allowed a sincere look at abstraction as a kind of representation. Taking the ordinary, the expressive, and even the deconstructions of postmodernism as second nature, these works sidestep the fast frenzy of the mass market.