reviews

  • Vanessa Maltese, Rigmarole, 2018, oil on panel in powder-coated steel frame with magnets, 52 × 41".

    Vanessa Maltese, Rigmarole, 2018, oil on panel in powder-coated steel frame with magnets, 52 × 41".

    Vanessa Maltese

    Night Gallery

    For a 2016 show at Cooper Cole in her native Toronto, Vanessa Maltese referenced the story of Zeuxis, painter of grapes so luscious that birds were wont to peck at them. At Night Gallery, for her first solo show in Los Angeles, she continued the theme with Duped by the grapes (all works 2018), a wryly fragmented scene that exuberantly plays up the fruit’s fictive status. As in the other six flatly graphic geometric oil paintings on view that evoked the bright, interlocking compositions of Memphis design, she employed trompe l’oeil drop shadows and visual cues for recession (space in her work is

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  • View of “Sadie Barnette,” 2018. All works untitled, 2018.

    View of “Sadie Barnette,” 2018. All works untitled, 2018.

    Sadie Barnette

    Charlie James Gallery

    In Sadie Barnette’s photographic collage Untitled (Pink Diamond/ Jump), 2016, the gleaming facets of a pink diamond adjoin the upper torso of a young black girl playing in a bounce house. Part of the artist’s recent solo presentation, evocatively titled “Black Sky,” this image contains references to stereotypical girl culture and class aspiration, both of which were consistently and vibrantly invoked throughout Barnette’s expansive, multiroom installation. The upper gallery featured paintings, photographs, collages, and light boxes, while the lower space, set up to function as a living room or

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  • Devin Troy Strother, Mandy Harris Williams, and Alima Lee, the worst witch, 2018, two-channel video, color, sound, 8 minutes 6 seconds.

    Devin Troy Strother, Mandy Harris Williams, and Alima Lee, the worst witch, 2018, two-channel video, color, sound, 8 minutes 6 seconds.

    Devin Troy Strother

    Shoot The Lobster | Los Angeles

    Inside the witch’s lair, the walls were black and the windows darkened. A small stream of light glowed from the bulbs lining the edge of her vanity mirror, the shelf of which was littered with burnt-down candles and talismans of Baphomet, a writhing snake, and an ankh. Opposite stood a black-tiled portal. Strewn elsewhere were less sorcerous decorations, including family photos and houseplants. This installation was not just the theatricalized den of a witch, the interior of her home, but was what the artist Devin Troy Strother conceptualized as the metaphoric space of her inner psyche—a privileged

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  • Jennifer Bolande, Image Tomb (with skeletons), 2014, newspapers, Plexiglas, wood, 43 × 13 × 13".

    Jennifer Bolande, Image Tomb (with skeletons), 2014, newspapers, Plexiglas, wood, 43 × 13 × 13".

    Jennifer Bolande

    Pio Pico

    The stack of newspapers at the corner stand was once replenished regularly. The local bulletin board has lately stood bereft of announcements. Neither one has quite disappeared, but neither one accumulates or announces with the same sense of urgency. Jennifer Bolande meditated with subtle conceptual rigor on these two aging formats of communication in her latest exhibition. She avoided a polemic against erosion and erasure, offering instead an elegy on diminishing material forms. In the nearly forty-nine-minute video from which the exhibition took its title, The Composition of Decomposition,

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