Los Angeles

William Tunberg, Laddie Dill, Allan McCollum, Andrea Brown and Mary Kutila

California State College

The “Venice, California” exhibition has been organized by Josine lanco, ex-director of the late Lytton Center of the Visual Arts. William Tunberg is a fetish builder, combining sexual funk and other odd bits of urban detritus, fake fruit, eggs, shoes, etc., etc., within boxes of “display stands” finished in the true hot rod manner with silky smooth pearlescent surfaces. Tunberg’s work relates to both San Francisco and Los Angeles esthetics, but has never been very well received here. His craftsmanship is impeccable and he is perhaps most successful in the pieces which do not emphasize either the human condition nor human sexual adornment, but Surrealistically examine old objects in new ways.

Laddie Dill works with gas discharge tubes (neon), a fact I found difficult to acknowledge without boredom, but Dill, who will be exhibiting next spring in New York at Sonnabend, has, fortunately, made nothing with his lighted tubes. He works with single lengths of high voltage gas discharge tube, usually about twelve feet long. Each tube is assembled from short, straight pieces of tubing, perhaps six or eight inches in length. These short pieces are usually coated on the inside with fluorescent materials, although Dill also uses clear or colored tubing without a fluorescent coating. These short lengths are made up of about four to six color variations which might range in contrast from extremely subtle to very abrupt relationships of hue and intensity. These variations are then repeated several times in a modular order across the length of the piece. The single tube thus makes changes of color and light intensity, changes which repeat themselves several times within the tube, and in a more subtle glow on the wall.

Allan McCollum works reductively, dying unbleached muslin a deep blue-gray, then applying masking tape to the surfaces and selectively bleaching the exposed colored areas back to the original fabric. At the present time the tape is laid on in long horizontal registers and around the edges of the canvas, preserving the colored edge, and with it a sense of image, even though the horizontal striations may be bleached out to the point where geometry all but vanishes, leaving a suggestion of a curious almost sumi-e calligraphy. Unlike most of current painterly abstraction however, McCollum’s work is austere and introverted; albeit elegant.

Andrea Brown is a manipulator of video and of simultaneous experience on several levels. Unlike Keith Sonnier, whose recent Los Angeles television piece dealt with perception within the closed confines of the gallery, Brown projects events on three television screens mounted one above the other. On the middle screen is a little “drama,” a videotaped trip by car around Los Angeles shot by a time lapse TV camera; one hurtles from morning to evening at a frantic pace. The uppermost screen shows the viewers looking at the piece, but doesn’t show the piece itself, and the lower screen shows the piece—all three screens—with a camera equipped with a zoom lens which moves in on the middle screen, moving that image to the lower screen, then moving back to include all three screens and the viewers assembled in front of them.

Mary Kutila is the soul of plastic wit. Her piece Dotted Swiss is a bit of transparent vacuum-formed plastic, molded into a pair of flapping window curtains which are then conspicuously hand-painted with pink and blue polka dots. The piece is more clever than profound. It’s an object that didn’t attempt much and achieved its goal perfectly.

Thomas H. Garver