Critics’ Picks

Linn Meyers, Every Now. And Again, 2011, acrylic ink on wall, dimensions variable.

Linn Meyers, Every Now. And Again, 2011, acrylic ink on wall, dimensions variable.

Los Angeles

Linn Meyers

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
May 7–November 6, 2011

Numerous site-specific works have graced the expansive wall that flanks the wide staircase leading up to the galleries of the Hammer Museum; Linn Meyers’s Every Now. And Again, 2011, a deep violet and pale yellow wall drawing of rolling swirls, constitutes one of the space’s quieter and yet more memorable pieces. Indeed, it speaks volumes for the rare but powerful use of subtle sensitivity that an artist can bring to bear in addressing a public space. Using a process that pulls equally from intuitive choice and rigorous focus, Meyers has painstakingly applied each line of butter-colored ink to a surface painted with two rich tones of purple.

The Washington, DC–based Meyers was inspired by the color and light of Los Angeles, where skies can take on otherworldly hues––one of the few benefits of smog––and sunshine is intimately tied to landscape. While the undulating pale yellow curves and teardrop shapes, each made up of multiple strokes, do evoke the waves and mountains around the city, they call more readily on ancient mysteries: creatures that lurk at the bottom of the sea, the cyclical patterns of nature, and the handiwork, also drawn on walls, of prehistoric humans.

More recently than that, of course, artists have invoked the drawn line to depict or honor natural rhythms; Meyers’s endeavor aligns in particular with Vija Celmins’s intricate etchings of webs and water and Nancy Riegelman’s powerful paintings mapping her breath. Similarly, Meyers’s drawing magnifies the scope and intensity of singular marks through expansive patternmaking; taken together, the lines appear to pulsate, embodying both the physicality of her process and that of the space. Seen from the street, through the glass front of the museum, it connects inside to outside, enlivening the surrounding area and metaphorically embracing the city beyond.