Critics’ Picks

Milano Chow, Mirror (Checkerboard), 2017, graphite, ink, vinyl paint, and photo transfer on paper, 20 x 15".

Los Angeles

Milano Chow, Ann Greene Kelly, Daniel Rios Rodriguez

Michael Benevento
3712 Beverly Boulevard
July 15 - August 31

Slumped over a table, a mysterious figure hidden behind a wide architectural facade peers out from an arched window. Milano Chow’s painstakingly rendered graphite drawings are meticulous studies of friezes, cornices, balustrades, and striated slats. The perspective the artist offers in Horizontal Exterior II (all works cited, 2017) is reminiscent of a voyeuristic glimpse into a neighbor’s apartment as one straightens the shades. When a character is suspended in an ornate frame—as with Mirror (Checkerboard), where a woman with a checkered umbrella descends a magically hovering staircase and appears to stride right off the bounds of the composition—Chow’s drawings become striking not simply for their trompe l’oeil effects but for their wink at the realm of the surreal.

The other works in this group show are more overt in their comedic bent. Ann Greene Kelly creates a domain of sculptures that, like furniture, would seem to be sympathetic to the shape of the body, even as they subtly betray it. Her Untitled (small circular bench) resembles a miniature Stonehenge as it plays ring-around-the-rosy with a kitsch mosaic garden bench. Kelly deconstructs the familiar, presenting conventional structures in oddly melted or lopsided forms. Untitled (hollow body shirt), for instance, is a cyborgian mannequin with looping tentacles composed of contorted window bars. You cannot help but laugh at the artist’s punch lines, even if one isn’t entirely sure one has understood the joke.

In another room, Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s painted sculptures flirt between two- and three-dimensionality. His bright and joyous wall hangings, made with wood, rope, and nails, are at once abstract altarpieces and dartboards with curves and angles gone haywire. Despite this trio’s disparate techniques and separate presentations, there is a quiet and intriguing overlap between each artist’s perception of the world.