Analia Saban at Sprueth Magers

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If, when you walk into Analia Saban’s new exhibition at Sprueth Magers Gallery in the mid-Wilshire district, you thought about earthquakes, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Among the first sculptures that you see in her show, Folds and Faults, are indeed folded slabs of concrete lying on wooden pallets.

Analia Saban, "Folded Concrete (Gate Fold)"
Overall Dimensions: 33 x 127 x 94 cm
Photography by Brian Forrest

The rubble of an earthquake or a construction site comes to mind along with references to Minimalist artists of the 1960s who worked with building materials. On closer inspection, however, you find that one is made as a spiral fold while another is an accordion fold, a third is a gate fold. These are not random arrangements. They are carefully conceptualized and realized, relating to the way that the more malleable material of paper is bound into books. Each palette is made of walnut, not some cheap disposable wood. Immediately, you sense the slippage between a rough first impression and the more time consuming enterprise of prolonged perception.

Analia Saban, "Draped Concrete (26.25 sq ft)," 2016
Four concrete slabs on wooden sawhorse
41 1/4 x 192 x 16 7/8 inches (104,8 x 487,7 x 42,9 cm)
Photography by Brian Forrest

Such issues have long preoccupied Saban. Born in Argentina, the artist is a 2005 graduate of the UCLA new genres graduate program where she studied with John Baldessari, who has remained a mentor. She works in his former studio in Ocean Park.

Analia Saban, "Woven Collapsible Gate, Expanded (Black)," 2017
Acrylic paint woven through linen canvas on panel
36 1/4 x 40 1/16 x 1 3/4 inches (92,1 x 101,8 x 4,4 cm)
Photography by Brian Forrest

Saban has steadfastly explored notional boundaries between what is defined as art, architecture, objects or materials. She has been particularly astute in drawing from domestic space and objects and this exhibition is no exception.

Analia Saban, "Pleated Ink, Window with Collapsible Gate," 2017
Laser-sculpted paper on ink on wood panel
60 x 40 x 2 1/16 inches (152,4 x 101,6 x 5,2 cm)
Photography by Brian Forrest

In some paintings, Saban uses a loom to weave black acrylic into patterns of buff linen. A canvas can be read as both geometric abstraction and the outline of a folding gate. Another painting, "Pleated Ink, Window with Collapsible Gate" (2017), similarly plays with the appearance of the diagonal lines of the white gate painted across a textured and tarry black field. The gate as actual, metaphorical and perceptual divide is referenced in sculpture and two different series of paintings. Saban has a real talent for such poetic multiplicity of meaning and that gift is abundantly on view in this show.

Analia Saban, "Threadbare (16 Steps)," 2017
Pigmented ink print on acrylic paint 16 works: 60 1/2 x 41 3/4 inches each (153,7 x 106 cm each)
Photography by Brian Forrest

Saban has experimented with trompe l’oeil, tricking the eye, for many years but her effort in the upstairs gallery is a singular accomplishment: "Threadbare (16 Steps) (2017)." What appear to be 16 sheets of linen decompose sequentially as though documenting the passage of time. Except that they aren’t sheets of linen. They are photographs printed on thin sheets of dried white acrylic paint. It looks as though you could pick up any of the loose threads of the fabric but it is entirely illusion. They are representations of what they appear to be. The entire series is a single, unique work of art embodying ideas about duration, survival and fragility. These are thoughts that come to mind regularly when living in an earthquake zone like LA.

The show continues through August 19.