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Katie Aliprando, Aline Cautis, Charles Irvin, Becky Kolsrud, Tala Madani, Orion Martin, Anna Mayer, Andy Roche. Organized by Josh Mannis.
In the way an art object’s visual code shifts according to its physical context, so might a space. LET LOVE BURN IN ALL THE LAMPS at Ms Barbers—a charming, one-room gallery wedged between a weave shop and a windowless furniture store—echoes the question posed in its press release: “What type of social environment is this?” While the title of this group show (which is organized by artist Josh Mannis) inspires images of inclusion and gathering, the effect is campy, with work that projects a kind of mysticism without fully embodying it. A concern for raw authenticity is evident but the informal methods used throughout betray years of formal training.
Vagabond (2016), by Katie Aliprando, features two rusted, dust-covered thermoses placed at the points of some invisible formation on the floor. On the wall, Becky Kolsrud’s Double Portrait with Palm Fronds (2016) uses watery brushstrokes to depict girlish visages sneaking glances as though from another dimension. In many ways the show works in the round, with We’ve We’re (2015) by Anna Mayer as the folksy sculptural centerpiece in a room full of totemic objects and mystical figures. Here, mantras are penned onto indefinable ceramic shapes that are hooked onto curled metal rods, pointing outward like fingers. Countering these simple gestures is Orion Martin’s Heino (Tiddle Bunk of Todgery) (2016), which shatters any illusion of naïve making—his painting is highly proficient and technically masterful.
Throughout LOVE BURN, a beat-poet-Dharma-Bums-ish energy is implied without any immediate resolve, and the casual transformation between “waste” and “found object” is more ideological than alchemical—a type of insider’s outsider art that winks at deskilled making. Dubious though is the expert posing as the amateur.
LET LOVE BURN IN ALL THE LAMPS runs July 9-August 6, 2016 at Ms. Barbers (5370 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016).