Critics’ Picks

Marina Pinsky, untitled, 2011, color photograph, 40 x 54”.

Marina Pinsky, untitled, 2011, color photograph, 40 x 54”.

Los Angeles

Marina Pinsky

2601 Pasadena Ave, Unit C
November 5–December 4, 2011

Photographer Marina Pinsky assembles her still lifes from broken-down and rarefied formal components of life in Los Angeles: construction materials, food, and light. Her latest pieces (all untitled and from 2011) are lit from a low angle, bathed in a contrasty glow reminiscent of Southern California in late afternoon. In one image, a pair of mason jars, one half full of raw rice and the other of cooked rice, perch on two blocks of lumber. Below, two slices of toast rest near a glass of water and a plaster mold of what appears to be the heels of a loaf of bread. These items could be a cheap artist’s meal, parts of the grind of process—but here they serve as a rich palette of browns, silver, and glinting glass within a tenuously balanced composition.

In the background of another work depicting concrete, bricks, a lightbulb, and a silver can, Pinsky stacks a precarious wall of bricks. Thin wires protruding from the concrete impale tiny printouts of steel cans. The everyday strangeness of these unframed prints threatens to collapse at any moment beneath the weight of simple objects. They seem raw and adrift, markedly papery and barely held together, like crumbling concrete hung from rods of rebar.

Photography, too, constructs the city; a further work incorporates snapshots of fan palms poking through a chain-link fence. The piece alludes to photographers like Mark Wyse and Judy Fiskin, for whom Los Angeles architecture ultimately resolves into formal arrangements of sun and shadow. Pinsky treats this history as just another brick. The largest print in the exhibition features a single lightbulb pinioned to a concrete block. Illuminated by only this source, the concrete sinks into a richly pockmarked topography, as if one could arrange the elements of a visual city until it settled, propped up on its own heaviness.