Ronn Davis hurtles through numerous disciplines (paint­ing, sculpture, collage, as­sem­blage), subjects (water, insects, figures) and effects (textures, compositions, tones) with a virtuosity that seems at once spontaneous to the point of improvisation and deliberate to the point of crafted. There is a powerful pictorial logic at work, but Davis uses it not to explain things but to make things simply hang together, beyond explanation. Finally, though, it is Davis' superb craftsmanship that makes his wild experiments with scale and structure immediately appealing, and at the same time that much more disorienting.

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Ronn Davis, The Fly (2008)

Virginia Katz's paintings, including several paint-things hung directly on the wall, also play havoc with our sense of scale — and our sense of space as well. Katz's apparent abstractions are also just as apparently based on views of earthly topography from space, of oceanic swells, alluvial rills, brown land and green, and other terrain conjurations that double as fluid, painterly abstractions. If Katz has not in fact based her aqueous fantasies on satellite photographs, she succeeds impressively in the pretense. Janet Jenkins' scapes are considerably more earthbound, but obviously more imaginary than Katz's. Rendering foliage, branches and forests alike, as luminous silhouettes radiating a visual heat, Jenkins abstracts what is close to our eyes just as Katz abstracts what is far from them. Jenkins proffers a different kind of beauty from that which Katz — or, for that matter, Davis — does, but all these painters (or at least painterly sculptors) finally exercise similar levels of opulent imagination. Ronn Davis at LA Contemporary, 2634 S. La Cienega Blvd., Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; thru Feb. 23. (323) 559-6200 or Virginia Katz and Janet Jenkins at Jancar, 3875 Wilshire Blvd., Thurs.-Sat., noon-5 p.m.; thru Feb. 9. (213) 384-8077 or

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