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Objects of Affection

Lynn Aldrich, Starting Over: Neo-Atlantis (2008)

Nobuhito Nishigawara and Hiromi Takizawa, Japanese artists living and working in the Southland, both manifest their sense of distance from cultural roots in their craft-rooted sculpture. Nishigawara fashions his figures out of clay, and here he pairs two disparate subjects to mock — and thus exalt — ritual and custom. The dignified object is a modern-day haniwa, a burial figure commonly found in the graves of noblemen predating the introduction of Buddhism. Opposite the stylized warrior, an even more stylized animal, apparently a donkey, lies on its back, licking its belly. Gesture and figurine alike come right out of the kawaii tendency in Japanese culture, but Nishigawara's self-kissing ass is no Hello Kitty. It's much more sophisticated, and much more endearing. Takizawa's giant blown-glass teeth — some clear, some sandblasted, all in a pile — go back to her memory of her grandmother's cremation, and the ritual the artist enacted of collecting the deceased's nonflammable body parts. It must seem to Takizawa that only the most durable stuff survives the jump across the pond. Maybe she's right.Lynn Aldrich manifests alienation amid an all-too-familiar culture. Her assemblages — bricolages, really, combining store-bought rather than discarded material — wallow in the visual and formal excesses to which consumer goods are subject aesthetically. Aldrich delights especially in the riot of color provided by kitchen objects, which she arrays into extravagant bouquets. But she also likes to keep things simple — and thus mock minimalism. Aldrich has been practicing her Home Depot Pop for a long while now, and it just keeps getting more and more poetic.

Nobuhito Nishigawara and Hiromi Takizawa at See Line, 1812 Berkeley St., Santa Monica; Wed.-Sat. noon-6 p.m. (310) 829-1727. Lynn Aldrich at Carl Berg, 6018 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (323) 931-6060.

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