Monique van Genderen
C.O.L.A at Japanese American Museum
Today, I want to bring to your attention two artists - a photographer and a painter, though, ironically, Jody Zellen doesn't use a camera to make her photos and Monique van Genderen manages quite well without paintbrushes.
Eight photographs by Jody Zellen at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery are intriguing combinations of a nostalgic look at urban life, but the tools and means employed by the artist are thoroughly contemporary. Known for her skills as a website designer, Jody Zellen has been making her montages by incorporating found photos, which she digitally manipulates until satisfied with what she sees on the computer screen. Then she prints the image on photo paper as a unique image, not an edition. Though she works with found, anonymous photographs, in the end the final image is completely hers. Her kaleidoscopic portraits of a city - could it be L.A.? - are wistful, nostalgic takes on city life which is reflected in the show's title: "The Life and Death of Buildings." Stepping out of the gallery, located on Wilshire Blvd. along Miracle Mile, you will be confronted with a street scene quite different from the poetic, slightly melancholic version created by Jody Zellen.
Going west toward the ocean, stop at Sandroni Ray Gallery on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice. L.A. based Monique van Genderen exhibits there her new paintings and drawings. At first glance, large and small compositions on canvas look like colorful abstract paintings with jagged shapes, as if computer generated. Actually, the artist uses translucent and reflective vinyl film, which she cuts and lays on panels painted with light monochromatic color. Monique van Genderen graduated from the same avante garde art school as Jody Zellen. Both make art with the inescapable influence of advanced technology, but Monique van Genderen is more forthcoming in her declaration of love for the artistic traditions of the past. Her abstractions have a glossy feel and jazzy energy, they even glow in the dark. No, I am not joking. The reflective vinyl film, which is primarily used for outdoor commercial signs, gives her paintings a totally new feel when bright gallery lights are switched off, which you have to ask for.
At the end, let's go downtown to the Japanese American National Museum to see 14 prominent local artists who were chosen by L.A. Cultural Affairs Department as recipients of special grants.
Most are mid-career artists, well respected and comfortably employed as teachers at various art schools. The choice of recipients is so safe it becomes boring. The exhibited works are far from the best these artists are known for. The only jolt of energy I got was from Daniel Wheeler's floor sprawling sculptural installation made out of industrial flooring materials, which made me think of a puzzle assembled from colorful ready made elements.
The best surprise was Frederic Fisher's exquisite old-fashioned architectural drawings, done by hand. Who could believe that among today's architects, so heavily dependent on computer graphics, there is still one who knows how to draw and does it so well.
For more information:
"The Life and Death of Buildings"
April 27-May 25, 2002
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
5363 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Monique van Genderen
April 18-June 1, 2002
1224 Abbot Kinney
Venice, CA 90291
"C.O.L.A. 2002: Individual Artist Fellowships"
May 3-June 30, 2002
Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012