Los Angeles

Ben Sakoguchi

Ceeje Gallery

Sakoguchi’s etchings combine an indiscriminate farrago of images inspired by “Pop,” advertising, technical drawings, the grotesques of art history, circus posters, old masters, sports magazines, mystic cults, child doodlings, balletomania, and movie clips with a 19th-century illustrational technique. This mixture at times results in an over-all design of some total impact (“What Will It Really Be Like At My House,” for example, is a print that more or less holds together), but his multiple-choice approach to organization usually makes it difficult for the viewer to do more than “read” the separate parts of his compositions according to an arbitrarily imposed sequential pattern. At this anecdotal level, the images, cribbed and original, can be pleasantly amusing, intricate in detail, and waywardly bizarre. When Sakoguchi simplifies his composition, however, faults in drawing obtrude; an uneasy sketchiness weakens his larger figures, a hesitancy which is carried over to the quality of his borrowings from earlier art and commercial iconography. A swashbuckling, hairy-chested bravado is further revealed as 98 pound weakling in the skittish treatment of dirty words. The imaginativeness of the proliferating detail in these etchings would be enhanced by more inspired (or no) titles.

Nancy Marmer