This is N.Y. artist Bjorn Copeland’s first solo show on the West Coast. Copeland creates hypnotic collages in which images are juxtaposed and turned into geometric landscapes and kaleidoscopic patterns. Obviously influenced by psychedelia and Pop art, Copeland adds hand-painted or drawn elements to some works, while in others he transforms everyday objects such as a box of corn flakes to create optical illusions. James Rosenquist comes to mind, but Copeland’s images feel like they could be taken from early psychological tests, government codes or symbols from a secret society. The show includes a sculpture featuring a 3-D Jesus coffee mug sitting on a checkered plinth, enshrouded in a gigantic black-and-white cloud or thought bubble made of tiny round beads. It’s a great visual representation of what it feels like to stare at his collages for any extended period of time. Copeland is also a member of the band Black Dice.
933 Chung King Road, Chinatown | www.chinaartobjects.com | (213) 613-0384 | Through March 31
The dual role of artist and critic has always seemed a curse — it must be somewhat paralyzing — yet CalArts dean Thomas Lawson (author of the famed 1981 essay “Last Exit: Painting”) continues to both write and investigate painting. In this new body of work, he has painted large, subtly distorted maps that toy with our perception and play with the idea of meaning and representation. Here, blue no longer means water, and continents merge and drift to form entirely new lands. Shown along with the maps are smaller portraits in which some of the men are blindfolded. Together, a larger political narrative is implied, but somehow it continues to be as much about the politics of painting itself as it is about current events.
2640 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A. | www.laxart.org | (310) 962-0399 | Through April 28