los-angeles

Ivan Morley

Patrick Painter, Inc

While Ivan Morley has often included hand-lettered “anecdotes”—textual cocktails of oddball California lore and fantasies dreamed up by the artist—as nebulous primers and legends to his disparate work, no such guides were present in his recent show, leaving viewers to fend for themselves. But four works here, made in 2005 and 2006, all titled Tehachepi (sic) (a folksy misspelling of the name of the mountains that separate the Los Angeles basin from California’s Central Valley), make Morley’s modus operandi clear.

One Tehachepi (sic), in oil on canvas, is an allover composition packed with hard-outlined cartoonlike blossoms, each inlaid with a pastel shade, that intermingle to create shiftingly mottled blocks of color—imagine a symbolist/pointillist/Orientalist Pattern and Decoration Pop Rothko. Another, in oil and gold leaf on glass, is iconic, depicting a skull and crossbones adorned with

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