los-angeles

Toba Khedoori

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)

It’s not often you run across an 11-by-25-foot painting that could be characterized as subtle, but that’s true of all five works in Toba Khedoori’s first solo museum show. Although Khedoori’s pieces are scaled to the wall, it’s hard to label her a muralist. Unlike the well-populated, briskly narrated wallscapes of, say, Nicole Eisenman and Lari Pittman, Khedoori’s paintings are devoid of human actors. In fact, the enormous fields she presents are mostly devoid of imagery.

Not that they’re blank. Khedoori tears sheets of paper torn from a six-foot-wide roll and covers them with a thin layer of wax. With a pencil she engraves a relatively small portion of this wax-coated surface; the precise, linear quality and nature of her imagery—a balcony, an apartment-building corridor, a chain-link fence—recall architectural drawings. Finally, most of the gouged lines, and some of the shapes they outline,

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