Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice: The Pleasure Is Mine

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Thank God, the week full of art fairs, with thousands of people fighting for a chance to have a glimpse of artworks, is behind us. I saw a lot of interesting art at the fairs, but I missed the opportunity to quietly interact with it for more than a few seconds. To recuperate from the noise and crowds, I chose to see some gallery exhibitions last weekend, where I could enjoy the artworks at my own pace.

Installation shot, Chuck Arnoldi, Then and Now, at Karma International. L: Impossible Knot, 2017. Acrylic and charcoal on canvas. R: Last Detail, 1987. Acrylic on plywood. Photo by Edward Goldman.

First, I stopped in Midtown at Karma International gallery to see a mini- retrospective of work by Chuck Arnoldi, one of the best-known Los Angeles artists. It was a pleasure to see his famous Chainsaw action paintings, where he attacks wood with a chainsaw to the most dramatic and satisfying effect.

Installation shot, Chuck Arnoldi, Then and Now, at Karma International. L: Headline, 2018. Oil on linen. R: Nine Lives, 1998. Cast bronze. Photo by Edward Goldman.

But, the biggest surprise for me was one of his latest paintings, which at first glance comes across as monochromatic blue. But, the longer you look at it, more colors slowly reveal themselves. This melancholic, moody, and profound artwork made me think of the influence of Mark Rothko’s art.

Installation shot. Tim Hawkinson. Orrery, 2018. Epoxy, fiberglass, urethane foam, motorized. Denk Gallery. Photo by Edward Goldman.

Driving further, towards downtown to the Arts District, I stopped at DENK Gallery to see the exhibition by Tim Hawkinson, one of the most adventurous and unpredictable artists one can encounter. If you didn’t know better, you might think the exhibition was a group show with works by a variety of artists. Some of his figurative sculptures incorporate motorized elements, like his life-size figure of a woman, with a baby rotating in her arms.

Installation shot. Tim Hawkinson. Diamonds (Knife). 2019. Mirrored mylar, polyester resin, paper egg cartons, enamel. Denk Gallery. Photo by Edward Goldman.

And, it’s impossible not to be seduced by a gigantic knife with a diamond encrusted handle, its blade plunged into the gallery floor. This is the first Tim Hawkinson solo show in almost a decade, and delightful “craziness” continues to be the trademark of his art.

Installation shot: Christ Engman: Refraction. Luis de Jesus Los Angeles. Photo by Edward Goldman.

In Culver City, I stopped by Luis de Jesus Los Angeles, to see the exhibition of Los Angeles photographer Chris Engman. The trademark of his art is fooling your eye not once, not twice, but many times. And the more his art fools you, the more pleasure it delivers. At the entrance to the gallery, you are confronted by a full-scale installation made out of several vinyl photographs that make you believe you are stepping into water, walking through a forest, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel…

Amoako Boafo. L: Krystal 1, 2018. Oil on paper. R: Blue Pullover, 2018. Oil on canvas. Roberts Projects. Photos courtesy Roberts Projects.

And now, my friends, be sure to catch the last few days of the amazing exhibition by Amoako Boafo at Roberts Projects. Amoako was born in Ghana and currently lives in Austria, where he studies at the Academy of Fine Art at Vienna. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the influence of Egon Schiele in his portraits. Young, smart people painted by Boafo quietly stare at us, and it’s impossible not to be intrigued by purposefully wild brushstrokes in Boafo’s portraits, giving his characters a particular vitality.



Kathleen Yore