Los Angeles

Lecia Dole-Recio

Richard Telles Fine Art

In her third solo exhibition at Richard Telles Fine Art—six new works, all Untitled, 2005—Lecia Dole-Recio has aggressively built upon the foundations she laid down four years ago at the same gallery. The smallest of them, about a foot square, is unquestionably the most straightforward of Dole-Recio’s works to date and served as the show’s cornerstone. A collage of relentless diagonal strips of red and black paper, which are slightly at odds with a canted grid of squares cut from and returned to the surface, it suggests the propulsive dynamism—and palette—of El Lissitzky’s “Prouns” but might also be put to good use as a No Wave album cover. It’s a good example of the way in which Dole-Recio reconfigures the DNA strands of modernism, emphasizing the “new” in “renewal.”

The diagonal, as a building block of isometric spatial plasticity, structures every work in the show. All are constructed from combinations of paper, cardboard, vellum, glue, and tape intertwined with pencil drawing and painterly gouache passages in how-dare-she color assemblies of, among others, gray, red, salmon pink, purple, pumpkin, and tangerine. Reviewing Dole-Recio’s first solo exhibition in these pages, Bruce Hainley noted that “part of her project is a downshift in the acceleration of vision.” While the works here are still marked by an intricacy that demands sustained, patient looking, this deceleration is also complicated by Dole-Recio’s strategic new use of the diagonal (which, as any graphic designer will tell you, speeds up vision). The paradox seems intentional: Just as her overlapping grids and folding planes induce a vertiginous sense of space, the diagonal allows Dole-Recio to make good on the implications of progressing at multiple speeds simultaneously.

Confident enough to cross boundaries into painting and sculpture, yet modest enough to stand as works on paper, Dole-Recio’s larger efforts realize the full potential of their scale (unlike, say, Julie Mehretu’s slick, overinflated drawings-cum-paintings that fizzle out when seen from a distance). Here one was required to stand far away from both of the big works—the largest of which measures roughly eight by seven feet—in order to digest their orchestration of color and structure, as well as to apprehend evidence of a process that in some ways resembles film editing, cutting- and-splicing these temporal labyrinths into being.

Close up, one can easily get lost in Dole-Recio’s rich detail: More than a few moments recall the tender but transcendent figure/ground/shadow play—and material efficiency—found in the humblest shallow relief works of Richard Tuttle. But whereas Tuttle positions his work in tension with the architectural space of the gallery, Dole-Recio’s post-punk Prouns primarily rely on the context of their own complex pictorial infrastructure. That said, individual works played well off one another here, and the entire show had a sense of vibrant continuity. It is obvious that the artist had fun, surprising herself in order to surprise the viewer. Pleasure becomes an economy, with Dole-Recio affording nearly as much to the viewer as she receives herself.

Michael Ned Holte