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
Slapstick gibes (the Donald Judd–like configurations of Kleenex boxes) and subtle detail (the pitch-perfect potted plant) abound in the furnishings, which manage to successfully update and politicize the hand-painted pop sculptures of Oldenburg et al. — but The Loneliness Clinic hits its stride with its marriage of masterful paint handling and textual content. The waiting area is supplied with a superabundance of reading material, including an unopened bundle of clam-adorned Feminist New Englander magazine and two large racks displaying titles like Modern Careers ("Six Simple Steps To Enjoying Your Job" over a six-pack of Coors Light) and Gourmet("Sexy Dinners" over a praying mantis eating her mate). The good doctor’s office is well-stocked with more books and periodicals (The Moral Life: Loopholes, Exemptions and Dodges; Making Court-Ordered Community Service a Full-time Job) and an impressive array of framed certificates, which on close inspection range from a DMV revocation of driver’s-license suspension (much fancier than the one I got) to a document declaring the absent physician a winner in the Lawry’s 5-lbs. Challenge.
But the literary strain takes its strongest and funniest turn in a mini tour de force in the rear gallery. Across the surface of 20 sculpted "pads" of yellow legal notepaper, Lowe draws a scathing portrait of the blithely narcissistic analyst with notes like "10/12: Pt. appears agitated, unkempt. Expresses suicidal ideation. Talked about feeling depressed and wanting to ‘end it all.’ (I’m tempted to help her if she keeps scratching my Le Corbusier.)" You don’t need to know that this work was inspired by rummaging through the effects of Lowe’s late father — a shrink, of course — to appreciate the complex narrative interplay encoded in its visually sumptuous paint-handling and subversive artsy-craftsy sculptural tropes. What takes Lowe’s work to a new level in The Loneliness Clinic is the use of an absent fictional protagonist to tie together the artist’s wide-ranging literary, visual, environmental and sociopolitical concerns into a persuasive and entertaining whole. And it’s good for you.
MARK DUTCHER: After the Fall | At SOLWAY-JONES, 5377 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles | Through December 30 | (323) 937-7354
JEAN LOWE: The Loneliness Clinic| At ROSAMUND FELSEN GALLERY, Bergamot Station B5, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica Through December 24 | (310) 828-8488