Critics’ Picks

Marina Kappos, #144, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 25".

Los Angeles

Marina Kappos

China Art Objects Galleries
6337 Church Street
August 7 - May 7

Artist Marina Kappos, now based in Brooklyn, was born and bred in LA. She returns home with this exhibition, a follow up to her well-received 2008 show “Politicus,” which reflected pictorially on the Obama election. “Peep Show” reveals the continuing influence of Japanese graphic imagery and techniques on her work. It presents a sequence of works in various sizes built around a small nude painting that evokes Hokusai’s famous 1814 woodcut The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife. Putting to good use the cropped drama of what might be a manga-style storyboard, Kappos transforms the paraphenalia of pornographic movies––the curve of breasts, a smudge of pubic hair, an arc of yellow pee, the arch of a back in erotic pose––into a vivid, almost abstract interplay of shapes and colors.

These “self-portraits,” as she teasingly refers to them, are at once alluring and amusing. Although Kappos is known for displaying works as a single, block installation, here the paintings are composed and hung separately to allow for a freer association across the images. She uses a meticulous process involving cut paper, stencils, and brightly colored roller paint to build up each work. What at first looks flat and pristine gradually reveals an unexpected texture and dissonance. China Art Objects is featuring her work alongside two other solo shows by local LA artists, Paul Cherwick and David Korty, as the gallery consolidates a recent move from Chinatown to Culver City. Kappos has been given the smaller back room, lit with three old globe lights from the original (and much-missed) old location of the gallery, offering the perfect intimate environment for a charming and undeniably seductive set of works.