By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Just across Hill and around the corner of Bernard Street is AH (for Acuna-Hansen) gallery. Another relative newcomer, and physically isolated from the herd, former Rio Hondo College gallerist Chris Acuna-Hansen has commended himself admirably, presenting works by (among others) Dave Muller, Martin Kersels and Martin Durazo, as well as recently proffering the curiously unheralded solo return of Dani Tull, who has been missing in action for several years. For May 6, Acuna-Hansen will be showing “White Plastic,” an exhibition of Loren Sandvik’s monochrome vacuum-form wall pieces.
Rumors abound about who will open shop next, ranging from disgruntled Mid-Wilshire tenants to Austrian Kunsthall proprietors, and there is some nervousness that the scene may lose its true grit and begin to snowball into some kind of art-boutique strip mall. The symbiotic relationship between the galleries and the neighborhood is a precariously balanced ecology and could easily take on the ugly colonial edge of yuppification it has thus far successfully skirted. Unfortunately, such dilution and spoilage seems inevitable for any happening scene. Chinatown, with its unlikely grafting of contemporary gallery art with a dilapidated tourist quarter, may be gathering tremendous momentum, but it remains, for the time being, adventurous and unpredictable. The public is cordially invited to discover as much for itself the Saturday after Cinco de Mayo. Hope they‘re serving menudo.
Imparting a somewhat different spin on pedestrian activity and the visual arts, Ginny Bishton’s dynamic new body of work at Richard Telles has been in production for a while. Bishton initially gained attention for her tightly constructed abstract paintings on paper, built up into seething caterpillar shapes from thousands upon thousands of impossibly tiny purple and green brush strokes. The artist made her first foray into photocollage with her dazzling, untitled 1997 fruit-and-vegetable piece, which stretched across 13 feet of wall space, organizing painstakingly excised images of all the flora she‘d consumed over a designated period of time. Since then, she’s had only one piece in a group show: a faux-digital translation of one of her daily perambulations into an eye-boggling mosaic of tiny, circular photo samples. The piece was almost immediately acquired by LACMA. Her current show consists of five equally delightful works from the intervening period, all constructed from her skewed version of Landsat mapping.
A gardener and habitual walker, Bishton takes copious low-level aerial photographs of the landscape that already occupies so much of her attention. She then cuts and glues each detail of rocks or plants to the pristine paper surface, gradually building shapes and patterns reminiscent of both landscape-gardening plans and ornamental decorative traditions, achieving a kind of dappled-light-on-water dizziness. These reassuringly sensual touchstones are balanced by a dark, seething organicism that verges on the predatory. Some of the pieces seem to have shifted or grown when you look at them a second time from across the room. And the work involved is, frankly, the sort of activity Western Civilization was designed to eliminate, smacking a little of the obsessive-compulsive scratchings of Jess, Bruce Conner and genuine outsiders like Adolph Wolfli. Far from detracting, these patches of darkness only add an element of personal psychological depth to what is already a formally dazzling and conceptually innovative reordering of the landscape tradition.