reviews

  • Robert Therrien

    Ruth S. Schaffner Gallery

    My first reaction to Robert Therrien’s paintings was that I had stumbled on an exhibit of Polynesian or American Indian artifacts: shields, pictographs, sled runners, and canoe outriggers. But after a minute or two the artifacts began to look wrong. The shields were too Gothic and too big. The circular pictographs contained no pictures. The runners and outriggers never would have worked. Yet even after realizing that these objects were produced as art in downtown Los Angeles in the 1970s, it’s hard to erase the impression that they once served a functional purpose in a primitive society.

    Therrien’s

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  • David Mocarski

    Space

    David Mocarski’s recent show, “The American Life Ritual,” was a fascinating and complex exhibit. Mocarski describes it as “a body of work examining the educational process by which one internalizes a culture.” Like his 1976 show “Suburban Delusions,” “The American Life Ritual” dealt with concerns of sociology and behavioral psychology in an art context.

    The ten works in this installation, all completed in the past year and a half, ranged in complexity from a single, framed drawing of an electrical cord to a multi-media, room-size installation called House/Home dealing with the roles a woman may

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  • Don Bachardy

    Nicholas Wilder Gallery

    Although portrait painting is not quite a lost art—thanks to Andy Warhol, Alice Neel, and a few others—it has certainly become a neglected one. Photography has made the painted portrait unnecessary as a record, and the hack painters specializing in flattery have made most “serious” artists shy away from portraiture. Don Bachardy’s recent show of 32 portraits—15 drawings and 17 watercolors—offers ample proof, however, that when handled with skill and intelligence, the drawn or painted portrait offers pleasures the photographed one does not.

    Bachardy has always drawn people from life. Unlike his

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  • Guy De Cointet and Bob Wilhite

    California Institute Of Technology

    Guy De Cointet’s and Bob Wilhite’s third performance, Ramona, was about overlapping sensory perceptions. The eight actors “see” sounds, “hear” sights, and “taste” noises. De Cointet’s script attempts to create a world of carefree unreality and illogic somewhere between A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

    Although both de Cointet and Wilhite are essentially visual artists whose individual works have included performances where the conception was more important than the execution, in Ramona the reverse seems true. Here the play’s the thing. And a very conventional thing

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