los-angeles

Vija Celmins, Blackboard Tableau #9, 2007–15, wire, alkyd oil, acrylic, and pastel, wood, found blackboard, each 15 x 10".

Vija Celmins

Matthew Marks Gallery | 1062 N Orange Grove

Vija Celmins, Blackboard Tableau #9, 2007–15, wire, alkyd oil, acrylic, and pastel, wood, found blackboard, each 15 x 10".

Vija Celmins’s show at Matthew Marks Gallery was her first exhibition of new work in Los Angeles in more than forty years. It represented a kind of homecoming for an artist once closely identified with the University of California, Los Angeles, and the beaches of Venice, which she perennially alludes to in her transcriptions of water into the surface tension of untitled, placeless waves. All eighteen of the paintings, sculptures, and works on paper in the show were made in the past decade, and seven of them were also shown at the New York gallery last spring for her first presentation of new work in nearly seven years. The Los Angeles installation was tight and, as Celmins claimed, “severe,” though not in the sense of being cruel or unadorned; rather, it was acute and uncompromising. People tend to pin the time of Celmins’s toil to something like pictorial meaning. And indeed,

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