Loading...

Shape Shifters 

Sam Francis, Shauna Peck, Melinda Smith Altshuler

Wednesday, Apr 30 2008

Everybody loves Sam Francis’ work for its riotous, flowers-abloom palette. But Francis, steeped in Zen as well as painting, knew that nothing was more colorful than black and white. Furthermore, when Francis worked in the gray ranges, the rigor as well as the exuberance of his forms emerged like an overshadowed younger sibling. To see so many monochromatic works amassed here, free of their more extravagant relatives, reveals that the master dripper was in fact a master shaper, one who reveled in triangles and squares and spirals and crosshatches, and rendered them as both strict geometric shapes and loci for far more characteristic smears and splatters. These, refreshingly, are not just pretty pictures. But they’re pretty powerful. Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, 357 N. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; thru May 3. (323) 938-5222.

Sam Francis, Untitled (1976)

Shauna Peck’s pictures and objects are also pretty powerful, not least in their almost-iconic concentration on single images. Whether painted in a gritty, cloudy encaustic or hewn in encaustic-enhanced bronze, Peck’s works reveal a similar pathos in the commonplace and the dramatic. In her hands, a chair or ladder can be as visceral and ominous and plaintive as a bone or plant; all seem to bear the imprint of use — not abuse, just the erosion of time and employment that seems to soften the hardest things.

Melinda Smith Altshuler has a similar feel for objects but a slightly more distanced, contemplative appreciation for far less likely subjects of contemplation — houses, furniture — and a rather more peculiar way of manifesting that appreciation. Altshuler’s appropriated real estate images seem to decay before one’s eyes, and her odd transformations of ordinary storage bins and midcentury furnishings are enfolded in a ghostly minimalism. Bandini Art, 2635 S. Fairfax Ave., Culver City; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; thru May 3. (310) 837-6230.

click to enlarge Sam Francis, Untitled (1976)
  • Sam Francis, Untitled (1976)

Related Stories

  • Sam Francis, Shauna Peck, Melinda Smith Altshuler

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Ringo Starr's #PeaceRocks Birthday Party
    Ringo Starr's 74th Birthday celebration was held at Capitol Records Monday. The birthday boy, along with fashion designer John Varvatos, launched the #peacerocks campaign to raise funds for Starr's Peace & Love fund, which is a part of David Lynch's non-profit organization. Starr's wife Barbara, and countless musician friends, showed up to support Starr and his fundraiser by posting selfies galore on social media with #peacerocks hashtags, raising $1 per hit. After blowing out candles and greeting fans, Starr handed out bracelets and cupcakes for all to join his celebration. All photos by Michele McManmon.
  • Moon Crisis: A Sailor Moon Tribute Art Show
    Rothick Art Haus opened the Moon Crisis Art Show, curated by Katie McAtee, Stephanie Ignacio Han and Jane Kim Estantino, on Saturday night, and the superfans lined up to celebrate all things Sailor Moon. The event featured artwork by Miss Kika, Greg DeStefano, Jamie Meckel Tablason, Creature of Habit, Carlton, Elizabeth Beals, Aimee Steinberger, The Quarter House and more. All photos by Shannon Cottrell.
  • TwentyWonder @ The Doll Factory
    TwentyWonder celebrated its fifth year of wonderment by taking over the L.A. Derby Dolls' home at the Doll Factory on July 13th. TwentyWonder, run by Jim Hodgson (brother of MST3K's Joel Hodgson), is a one-of-a-kind, one-night only event featuring Roller Derby, Cirque Berzerk, H.R. Pufnstuf "Mayor of Living Island," Dengue Fever, The Lampshades and more. All proceeds benefit DSALA's efforts to support those born with Down syndrome in the greater Los Angeles area. All photos by Star Foreman.