Raul Guerrero speaks through both sides of the border. A microspective of Guerrero’s paintings and objects brims with a gently caustic wit, a willingness to lampoon Us, Them and the whole identity thing by aping the look of both Euro-American realism and Mexican folk art. Guerrero’s latest painting series is a sequence of “portraits,” rendered in a smooth Pop style and composed of fast-food orders arranged into crude faces. As the majority of the paintings are of Mexican dishes, Guerrero says in effect that the borders are already porous, and that we eat bilingually.
Hannah Wilke also approached her issues with humor. At times an angry feminist, Wilke refused to abandon the feminine. Many of the pieces in this show are from her photo-based work of the ’70s, where the model-svelte artist documented her body and what (and whom) she did with it. Wilke’s last show emphasized her later work, where she documented with bitter humor her cancer-ravaged body’s decline before her death in 1993. Now we see where she declined from — and how she almost knowingly set herself up for the irony.
Raul Guerrero at Billy Shire, 5790 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tues.-Sat., noon-6 p.m. (323) 297-0600. Hannah Wilke at Solway Jones, 5377 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (323) 937-7354. Both thru May 20.