ArtScene October 2013: Continuing and Reccomended: Mark Dean Veca

Mark Dean Veca: 20 Years - Selected Works from the New Monograph; September 2013

Mark Dean Veca’s lines squirm across the familiar image of the American icon in "Flag 2." It’s as though he squished a small intestine within the iconic symbol and allowed it to ooze and melt like cheese falling off the side of a toasted sandwich. While the exhibit is not large, this small survey of his work jumps off the walls. The exhibition was organized to celebrate a recent monograph published by Zero + Publishing. "Just Win" is one of the most impressive pieces. It’s a menagerie of iconic symbols that are tied together through an organic green cloud. In between this floating glob, we see cartoons, detached eyes, and a range of notable pop culture symbols. From the logo of the Oakland Raiders, whose late owner’s (Al Davis) motto for the team was “Just win baby,” to a radiant Rabbit sculpture in the center by Jeff Koons, who is best known for auction records. Mixing bright colors, excitable forms, and a knack for cultural touchstones, the result is a pop surrealism explosion that doesn’t disappoint (Western Project, Culver City). 


PHOTOGRAPH MAGAZINE Review of ARNE SVENSON: The Neighbors 02/01/2013

Arne Svenson: The NeighborsWestern Project, Los Angeles By Catherine Wagley 02/01/2013

See original artilce on PHOTOGRAPH website HERE

Arne Svenson The Neighbors #1, 2012, pigment print, 63 x 26 inches

In Rear Window, Hitchcock’s Cold War era film about a holed-up man who starts watching his neighbors because he can and then becomes too captivated and paranoid by what he sees to stop, it matters that Jimmy Stewart’s character is a photographer. He has an eye for looking already, and so the fact that his voyeurism is, from the film’s start to finish, aesthetically adept makes sense. The results of photographer Arne Svenson’s recent foray into voyeurism, on view through February 9 at Western Project in Culver City, are similarly adept, sometimes lyrical. They look the way a Milan Kundera novel sounds – removed and hazy, melancholically preoccupied with small moments.

In one image from his Neighbors series, The Neighbors #1, you see through rain and window glass the right forearm of a woman reaching forward for something. Her left arm in the background holds a pair of scissors, and the white curtain covers the top of her face. Her deliberate mouth isn’t smiling. Her dark sleeve becomes a block of color among the other blocks of brownish and greenish grays behind her and, in the foreground, the light gray exterior wall of the building she is inside. In other images, you see the torso of a pregnant woman in a striped shirt, the legs of a breakfasting couple, a forlorn looking dog appearing through the window panes.

The Neighbors #3, 2012, pigment print, 46 x 26 inches, edition of 5

Had you not read the press release, you might think these were film stills from some slow-moving art-house picture. But according to Svenson, they are what resulted when he acquired a telephoto lens from a friend, a birder who recently passed away, and turned that lens to the glass-walled apartment building across the street. When you know this, the images begin to make you slightly uncomfortable in the way seeing surreptitiously shot footage and pixelated stills from surveillance cameras wouldn’t. How are you supposed to react to stunning surveillance, moments that are stolen and then impressively crafted? Should knowing beauty has dubious origins make it less beautiful? Of course, these are questions Svenson’s project doesn’t even attempt to answer, but they’re there, hovering over the work.

— By Catherine Wagley 02/01/2013


Daniel Brice at Western Project Reviewed in the Los Angeles Times




Daniel Brice at Western Project  

April 14, 2011

By Christopher Knight

Abstract painting never looked more beat up, knocked down, abraded and used than it does in six otherwise eloquent new works by Daniel Brice. In all but one case, their simple Minimalist spatial geometry is enhanced by multiple panels which give material heft to the vaporously painted rectangular shapes.

The heavy burlap canvas glimpsed at the edges of these unframed works also adds to their rough-hewed quality.

Visually, predecessors of Brice's work at Western Project are as disparate as California's Richard Diebenkorn and Germany's Günther Förg, although Diebenkorn's origins in landscape and Förg's in Conceptual art don't seem to apply. Brice is a materialist.

"OX 5," a diptych with a layered, cobalt-blue rectangle slightly off-center, features a strip of white along the bottom and up one edge, and it's anything but pristine: The thin surface is dingy from under-paint. The crimson-and-white rectangular shapes in "OX 4" look to have been put through a ringer, while the edges of a thin blue stripe down the middle tell of masking tape gone awry.

It's as if abstraction, once enthroned on a critical Olympus, is hanging on by its fingernails -- and turns out lovelier for its tenacity. Painting's death has periodically (and even ritually) been claimed ever since the camera was invented more than 170 years ago. But Brice's work reminds us of the coincidence between that unfounded assertion of mortality and the slow, steady emergence of abstraction as something beyond the otherwise wondrous capacity of the lens.

Western Project, 2762 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-0609, through April 30. Closed Sunday and Monday.

See exhibition installation shots here

See the review on the Los Angeles Times website here