Loading...

Figures of Authority: Jean Conner, Jerome Witkin 

Works on view at Michael Kohn and Jack Rutberg galleries

Wednesday, Jul 2 2008

Jean Conner has long labored in the shadow of famed husband Bruce, but while she’s not the multimedial innovator he is, her intimate voice maintains the same rarefied sensibility. Conner’s crowded but coherent collages, in fact, maintain a tradition of poetic juxtaposition begun by the likes of Hannah Höch and Raoul Hausmann, refined by Max Ernst, and injected into the American art stream by the likes of Joseph Cornell and Jess. Heaven and hell converge in such ecstatic nightmaring, although Conner’s relatively gentle, and formally poised, approach goes easy on the apocalypse and stresses instead the charm of the unlikely, exploiting idiosyncratic jumps in scale and context. Some of her best pieces, in fact, attain an iconic gravity through a clarity and symmetry unusual to this normally tumultuous style. Conner always begins and ends with a sense of the image as a subject, a singular presence or place less confounding or confrontational than psychologically complementary: It’s somehow a version of you you’re looking at. Michael Kohn, 8071 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; thru July 9 in main gallery; on view into. August in smaller space during upcoming Warhol show. (323) 658-8088.

(Click to enlarge)

click to enlarge Jerome Witkin, Left Hand as Actor (1998)
  • Jerome Witkin, Left Hand as Actor (1998)

Related Stories

  • Better Weather

    This news is not going to knock anyone off their seat. But, yeah, L.A. County is home to the best warm weather places in the nation. At least that's the conclusion of personal finance site WalletHub, which this week named Glendale, Pasadena and Burbank as "cities with the best ... year-round...
  • L.A. Teens Fast For Central American Immigrants 2

    When you were a teenager you hung out at the mall, made mixtapes and ate McNuggets. These here L.A. kids are going without food this week to support the children coming to the United States illegally from Central America. The young people "will be drinking water only" through Friday, a...
  • We Wish We All Could Be Caprice's Kind of California Girl

    “This is myself with my best friend at the time, frying my skin," says the across-the-pond celebrity Caprice Bourret while looking at old photos, nibbling a scone at high tea at the Culver Hotel. "I used to be such a California girl. I used to fry. Hawaiian Tropic, no sunscreen at all."...
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 40th Anniversary

    @ Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theatre
  • Porn Flight 15

    California porn studio Kink.com, which last year came under scrutiny for a condom-free production in which a woman who afterward turned up HIV-positive had performed, said this week that it's opening facilities in Las Vegas. The company, which was investigated by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) following...

Jerome Witkin, Left Hand as Actor (1998)

For his part, Jerome Witkin may be the greatest figure painter working in America today. He’s certainly among the most virtuosic and dramatic — dramatic not because he’s virtuosic, but virtuosic because the drama he wreaks even from his landscapes demands a command of brush and pen and pencil that animates his subjects fervidly but credibly. The vigor Witkin injects into his portraits and street scenes is not quite hallucinatory, nor even quite caffeinated, but is definitely the result of a near-eruptive passion for seeing, a passion that can only infect the viewer if it is articulated masterfully. Witkin’s art is all about pathos, but as much about the pathos of the viewer as of the viewed. His drawings infer a narrative context but not a narrative per se; that’s for us to supply, which inculcates our own personal traumas. Those people Witkin draws might as well be us, and those city blocks our hometowns — which explains their riveting strangeness. Jack Rutberg, 357 N. La Brea Ave., L.A.; Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; thru July 31. (323) 938-5222.

  • Works on view at Michael Kohn and Jack Rutberg galleries

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Cowabunga! 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    The COWABUNGA! - 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tribute show opened Friday night at Iam8bit. Guests donned their beloved turtle graphic tees, onesies and a couple April O'Neils were there to report on all the mean, green, fighting machine action. Artist included Jude Buffum, Tony Mora, Nan Lawson, leesasaur, Jim Rucc, Mitch Ansara, Guin Thompson, Stratman, Gabe Swarr, Joseph Harmon, Alex Solis, Allison Hoffman, Jose Emroca Flores, Jack Teagle and more. All photos by Shannon Cottrell.
  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • Moonlight Rollerway Jubilee and Skate Party!
    Ambassador of Americana Charles Phoenix and Dominic's Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale hosted a jubilee featuring skating stars and world champions performing in a variety of costumed musical acts. The best part? An post-show all-skate party! All photos by Star Foreman.