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Installation shot of "A Painted Horse by Joe Sola (with Matthew Chambers, Sayre Gomez, and Rudy K Slobeck)"
Photo: Clarke Henry / Courtesy of  TIF SIGFRIDS

Unable to deny my passion for paintings and ponies, I was eager to see Joe Sola's exhibition at TIF SIGFRIDS in Hollywood. I was not disappointed. Sola has had the gallery decorated as the dining room of a fictional art collector with big abstract paintings by Matthew Chambers, Sayre Gomez, Ruby K. Slobeck and others hung on rather improbably painted black walls. But everything in this show is improbable. The antiqued book case contains big fat generic art books while a streamlined black dining table and chairs center the room. And walking around, looking pretty comfortable, is a minature horse named Riba.

Riba was painted by Sola in geometric patterns of magenta and orange and yellow. It's a little hard to tell the original colors now since the harmless vegetable dyes have rubbed off on the hands and clothes of Riba's many admirers. This is not a cause for alarm. Riba's handler is on hand and viewing hours are limited. Appointments are suggested. Riba was looking pretty pleased about the arrangement when I visited, especially after I gave her a few baby carrots. Even miniature horses, with adorable little hooves, need a change of pace now and then and art critics certainly do.

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Sayre Gomez, "Untitled Painting in Cerulean over Indigo with Trompe L’oeil Brush Stroke," 2015
Oil and acrylic on canvas over panel, 40 x 30 inches
Photo: Clarke Henry / Courtesy of the artist and TIF SIGFRIDS

Earlier this summer, Arte Povera artist Jannis Kounellis re-created his 1969 installation, 12 Horses, at Gavin Brown's Enterprise in New York. It was, as it sounds, a dozen horses tethered in the gallery space. Observers praised it as the art of a time when commerce was not so closely connected with art.

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Matthew Chambers, "Without Me Nothing Laughs," 2015
Acrylic, enamel based adhesive and nylon fiber on canvas in artist’s walnut frame
Each panel: 98 x 50 inches
Photo: Clarke Henry / Courtesy of  the artist and TIF SIGFRIDS

A similar, if more absurdist, approach is being made by Sola, who seems determined to make the oddest of paintings. His last exhibition involved paintings so tiny, they fit into the ear of his art dealer, Tif Sigfrids. You can't purchase the lovely Riba, but Sola did take a series of color photographs of her posing in the posh homes of various local art collectors. The juxtaposition can prod us to think about the ways in which a domestic living space can transform art (and vice versa). They are intriguing as documents but nothing like the first-hand experience of nuzzling with Riba. But what could be? On view through August 8.

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Rudy K. Slobeck, "The Collectors," 2015
Oil on canvas, artists frame, 15.75 x 12.5 inches
Photo: Clarke Henry / Courtesy of the artist and TIF SIGFRIDS