Los Angeles

View of “Dan Finsel,” 2013.

View of “Dan Finsel,” 2013.

Dan Finsel

Richard Telles Fine Art

View of “Dan Finsel,” 2013.

Art therapy may be good therapy; it may or may not be good art. “E-thay Inward-yay Ourney-jay,” Los Angeles artist Dan Finsel’s recent solo show at Richard Telles, was a perverse gray mix of both. Extruding himself through exercises in Margaret Frings Keyes’s 1974 The Inward Journey: Art as Therapy for You, a self-help book he found at his parents’ house, the artist produced intestinal mandalas and absurd furniture, photocollages and mannerist self-portraits, all purporting to externalize an interior life. But rather than earnest psychoanalysis, this show was more accurately a backdoor act of seduction, via which the artist charmed the viewer into caring for Finsel—both the artist and the character featured in his work.

At Telles, sitting on the floor was a kind of shoe box with a coffin’s proportions—Self Box #2 (all works 2013, unless otherwise noted)—covered with

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