Los Angeles

View of “Body by Body/Odilon Redon,” 2014. Foreground: Body by Body and Odilon Redon, Doghouse I, 2014. Background: Body by Body, Psycho Tango Gum Happy Life Sun Live Electricity Bubble, 2014.

View of “Body by Body/Odilon Redon,” 2014. Foreground: Body by Body and Odilon Redon, Doghouse I, 2014. Background: Body by Body, Psycho Tango Gum Happy Life Sun Live Electricity Bubble, 2014.

Body by Body/Odilon Redon

Château Shatto

View of “Body by Body/Odilon Redon,” 2014. Foreground: Body by Body and Odilon Redon, Doghouse I, 2014. Background: Body by Body, Psycho Tango Gum Happy Life Sun Live Electricity Bubble, 2014.

Without a hiccup, the Los Angeles–based entity Body by Body—artists Melissa Sachs and Cameron Soren, whose joint efforts constitute a single practice—digested Chateau Shatto’s curatorial imposition of four black-and-white lithographs by French Symbolist Odilon Redon. If this pairing seemed capricious, it also happened to reflect, amid the infinite, Tumblr-like scroll of the duo’s research, Body by Body’s prior interest in Redon. For all its glutted culture-jamming, the exhibition “Education Pig” conformed to a beaux-arts structure of sorts, with floor and wall works arrayed beneath a frieze. Indeed, while the show’s aggregated cast of characters—goofy animals, aliens, and monsters jostling with mansions, dishes, and smart cars—mirrored the searched, cut, and, pasted collages of the Web, Body by Body’s practice is as much sketchbook as Internet-based; the sculptural forms on display were less ends in themselves than substrates for the bountiful garbage/gold of their drawings. Wall works, floor works, and frieze existed in illogical symbiosis with the imagery piled on their every surface.

Flanking the gallery’s entrance on opposing walls was a pair of Redon’s prints in black frames: densely lined lithographs taken from the artist’s fin-de-siècle illustrations for Flaubert’s Temptation of Saint Anthony and for the Book of Revelation. A hand was rendered as gesture; figures were over-inked into shadows. Across the gallery, Body by Body’s sculpture Doghouse I (all works by Body by Body, 2014), one of three doghouses in the show, sported NuAlum (a plywood and aluminum composite) laminated with prints of brickwork. One wall of the structure featured a surrealist blend of a female face and freeway interchanges, the looping roads recalling the stringy muscles that move eyeballs in their orbits. A Redon lithographed profile straddled the doghouse on a powder-coated steel armature, its two cartoonish feet screwed to the floor; underneath it, a photograph of a painting of Sachs’s parents on their wedding night covered half the sculpture’s roof. Above the arched door, like the name of a mutt, SPACE X was scrawled in digital airbrush.

Brandishing its Redon, Doghouse I, together with the lithographs, primed the viewer to consider Body by Body’s wall works—seven big, mostly monochromatic polyethylene reliefs, caged by rounded bars and sculptural in their initial effect—as drawings. Each piece, carved from plastic in a range of bold Fisher-Price colors, contains a decadent mash-up of figures infused with SoCal clichés. South Beach Diet & Trident Milkshakes shows two women necking in front of a window, the word LOVERS above them in a gently psychedelic font. These wall works, produced with CNC-routing technology, at once referenced and clumsily updated the lithographic technique of the prints they surrounded. Both, after all, were created via drawing techniques, and are several degrees removed from the handmade, and both were made via processes first developed for commercial reproduction. But Body by Body’s “plates” were uninked, barred off, and depicted not sketched fantasies, but chopped and sutured figuration. In Los Angeles God (Forage, Fair Trade, @#@*), a string of doodles (tree, flower, alien, boy with spray can) has been transferred by hand onto the bottom margin of the “plate.” Above this band of icons, a speech bubble emanates from the machine-carved head of a wizened goblin, topping a marbled female torso, containing the words LOS ANGELES.

Around the gallery’s border ran a band of alternating wheat-pasted posters, Wheatpasta’d frieze. While most of the works in “Education Pig” sustained only oblique relationships with Body by Body’s source material, these posters, capping the show’s unorthodox mix of street-art flash and reverence for classical tropes, clearly depicted Sachs and Cameron: Sachs dangling an octopus tentacle in her mouth, Cameron in a Prius with door ajar. The self-portraits, grubby flash-lit party pics, desaturated and reprinted with the show’s scratched-in title, made Body by Body’s authorship clear; its makers’ faces marked the limits of what might otherwise appear an unattenuated gastronomic practice, engorged on its own references. On the gallery’s Website, the exhibition’s works, with their multiple disjuncts and diffusions, flattened to reveal a discrete sensibility. The cheerful monkeys and parrots of Zoonosis (Concrete Jungle) cut to, a few yards away, the milky girl-on-girl love scene, with the casual causality with which a Web search for, say, “Body by Body” slips from fitness to soft-core.

Travis Diehl