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Mary Weatherford, "City," 2017
Flashe and neon on linen; 117 x 234 x 4 3/4 inches
Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Photo by Fredrik Nilsen

If Mary Weatherford weren't such an accomplished painter, adding a thin strip of neon to her canvases would be a meaningless gimmick. Fortunately, she has the talent to combine these elements in ways that are mutually beneficial. Her show at David Kordansky Gallery, like the land loves the sea, proves her ability to push and stretch abstract painting to unexpected dimensions. Loosely based on the sort of color field paintings pioneered by Helen Frankenthaler, Weatherford splashes quantities of rich color across the surfaces of sizable canvases. Using the vinyl-based flashe, which can be controlled by mixing with water, layers of translucency alter with opacity. Some of the newest paintings, such as "City" (2017) are huge, almost ten feet tall and 20 feet long. They supercharge the margins of the viewing experience.

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Mary Weatherford, "emerald underwater," 2017
Flashe and neon on linen; 117 x 104 x 5 inches
Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Photo by Fredrik Nilsen

So why should Weatherford attach tubes of neon, letting the cords hang down to transformers resting on the floor below the painting? In a remarkable way, the electric light dramatizes the pulsing meld of blues, yellows and reds. Though drawn from views of nature and its traditional representation in art history, they imply that such a world is scarcely available today. It must always be affected by the invented, the mechanized, the digitized.

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Mary Weatherford, "Daisy," 2017
Flashe and neon on linen; 117 x 120 x 4 1/2 inches
Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Photo by Fredrik Nilsen

Yet, they are somehow made even more beautiful by their electrical interventions. I actually had a lovely dream about "Daisy," (2017) dreamt that I owned it, which I sadly do not. This vertical panel of yellow and ochre is bisected horizontally by a crooked yellow tube of light. Standing before it is like being soaked in the radiance of sunlight or surrounded by petals of sunflowers.

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Mary Weatherford, "Eden," 2017
Flashe and neon on linen; 117 x 234 x 4 3/4 inches
Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Photo by Fredrik Nilsen

Born in Ojai in 1969, with her MFA from Bard, Weatherford has become the JMW Turner of Southern California, finding transcendence in her 21st century methodology, expressing hope and continuity in times of tumultuous change. The show is on view through May 6. 

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Photo by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp

On another note, paintings worth tens of millions of dollars can be seen for the next few weeks at Christie's newly opened gallery in Beverly Hills, just south of Gagosian Gallery on Camden Drive. In the elegant, white two-story building designed by wHY architect Kulapat Yantrasat, exhibitions of May auction highlights include a small Francis Bacon triptych and pieces from the collection of classic film star Greta Garbo.

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Robert Delaunay, "Femme à l'ombrelle ou La Parisienne," 1913
Oil on canvas; 48 3/8 x 35 1/2"
Painted in Paris, 1913
Photo by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp

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