The Big Picture, and the Small
Think of it as a kind of backdoor homage to the Constable show that just opened at the Huntington: a raft of landscapes from the past hundred years, mostly American, the selection hardly a complete compendium of Modernists (much less postmodernists), but juicy nonetheless. The Oscar Bluemner drawings, strange and brittle renditions of early-20th-century suburbia, make the show a must-see all by themselves, but Feininger and Weber, Dasburg and Dove, Lozowick and Cramer give the show a post-Stieglitz glitz, and a strong French contingent — Cubists Auguste Herbin and André Lhote, neo-Barbizonistes Ludovic Pissarro and Maximilien Luce — adds some class from Montparnasse. The latter-day landscapists, almost all in the Forum Gallery’s stable, show big paintings that dwarf the older work physically but not aesthetically; however, many play the pre-war work to a tie. If you’ve a jones for broad, open scapes, check out William Beckman’s and James Butler’s farmlands and Linden Frederick’s nocturnal view of a town; Anthony Mitri, Bernardo Siciliano, Bill Vuksanovich and Stephen Brown provide similarly expansive city scenes.
The bag is similarly mixed in the aptly titled “Open End,” although here too a certain unity of attitude and subject prevails. This is a collection of smallish work, abstract, ruminative, hermetic, intricate and gnarled — perfect Steve Roden conditions, of course, but New Yorker Andrew Masullo’s small, bright paintings of eccentric curvilinear shapes fit the description, as do Dan Devening’s luminous ribbonlike cascades. Organized by David McDonald, who’s best known as a sculptor, the show at Kinkead features 3-D stuff as well, assemblage-y concoctions by B. Wurtz and Tam Van Tran that stand up nicely amid the painterly bustling. “Modern and Contemporary Landscapes” at Forum Gallery, 8069 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 24. (323) 655-1550. “Open End” at Kinkead Contemporary, 6029 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; thru Feb. 17. (310) 838-7400.
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