A little to the south and west, at the end of the 133, the Laguna Art Museum is featuring the first solo museum installation by Irvine-born foam-core and tape maven Stephen Hendee. Expatriate (Jersey) member of the L.A. Extruded Polystyrene installation school that includes Jason Rogenes, Gordon Haines and Shirley Tse, Hendee has been a busy bee in the last year or two, erecting complex Styrofoam hives within the existing architecture of innumerable gallery spaces. Hendee‘s ephemeral, theatrical displays consist of backlit, taped-together shards of dissected foam sheets that transform any given white cube into a lo-fi Star Trek grotto. In the lower level at Laguna, Hendee has enclosed the annoying central ceiling hole with a glowing crystalline matrix of geodesic fragments. The chilly, amniotic vibe of the spatial modifications is overlaid with a graphic network of linear mark-making that is as formally indebted to Zen sumi drawings and Dada mechanical diagrams as it is to computer draftsmanship. The result is curiously human, like a future inversion of the Lascaux cave, or a set from Dr. Who. After visiting Laguna, you may also want to view Hendee’s concurrent drawing show at Mark Moore Gallery at Bergamot.
North on the 405 to Venice . . . Ken Price is certainly the most reliable aesthete from the Ferus Gallery days, regularly producing bodies of sumptuous, globular ceramic sculptures, thick with sensual immediacy and Finish-Fetish cachet. Long bookmarked as a signal figure in the disruption of craftart prejudices, Price‘s once-revolutionary use of acrylic paints on fired ceramic-art surfaces has since become standard potter vocabulary, with significantly lesser results. This show of relatively large works, apparently based on longtime surfer Price’s observations of ocean waves, weds simple, self-contained tongues of clay to psychedelically mottled surfaces like the bitchenest $45,000 bongs in creation. The lichenlike indeterminacy and fractal depth of the surfaces of works such as The Hunchback of Venice and the totally Rastafarian Pacific are a tribute to Price‘s gift as a master contemporary colorist, as functional as anyone dirtying a canvas these days. But the sizzling ultrasmooth surfaces of his lava-lamp dollops also envelop a dark existential vacuum, resulting in an unusually tactile take on sunshinenoir California dialectics.”