Women on the Plinth Catherine Wagley
Us & Them, Now & Then:
Reconstituting Group Material
Travis Diehl
The Offerings of EJ Hill
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Interview with Jenni Sorkin Carmen Winant
Letter to the Editor Lady Parts, Lady Arts
Launch Party August 19th at Blum and Poe
Object Project
Featuring: Rebecca Morris,
Linda Stark, Alex Olson
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Photos by Jeff McClane
Reviews Mark Bradford
at the Venice Biennale
by Thomas Duncan

Broken Language
at Shulamiit Nazarian
by Angella d'Avignon

Artists of Color
at the Underground Museum
by Matt Stromberg

Anthony Lepore & Michael Henry Hayden
at Del Vaz Projects
by Aaron Horst

Home
at LACMA
by Simone Krug

Analia Saban at
Sprueth Magers
by Hana Cohn
Kanye Westworld Travis Diehl
@richardhawkins01 Thomas Duncan
Support Structures: Alice Könitz and LAMOA Catherine Wagley
Interview with Penny Slinger Eliza Swann
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
taisha paggett
Ashley Hunt
Young Chung
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Letter to the Editor
Launch Party
Reviews Alessandro Pessoli
by Jonathan Griffin

Jennie Jieun Lee
by Stuart Krimko

Trisha Baga
by Lindsay Preston Zappas

Jimmie Durham
by Molly Larkey

Parallel City
by Hana Cohn

Jason Rhodes
by Matt Stromberg
Generous
Structures
Catherine Wagley
Put on a Happy Face:
On Dynasty Handbag
Travis Diehl
The Limits of Animality:
Simone Forti at ISCP
(L.A. in N.Y.)
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
More Wound Than Ruin:
Evaluating the
"Human Condition"
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Brenna Youngblood
Todd Gray
Rafa Esparza
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Creature by Thomas Duncan
Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wachtler by Stuart Krimko
Karl Haendel by Aaron Horst
Wolfgang Tillmans by Eli Diner
Ma by Claire de Dobay Rifelj
The Rat Bastard Protective Association by Pablo Lopez
Kenneth Tam
's Basement
Travis Diehl
The Female
Cool School
Catherine Wagley
The Rise
of the L.A.
Art Witch
Amanda Yates Garcia
Interview with
Mernet Larsen
Julie Weitz
Agnes Martin
at LACMA
Jessica Simmons
Launch Party Carla Issue 6
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Analia Saban
Ry Rocklen
Sarah Cain
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews:
Made in L.A. 2016
Doug Aitken Electric Earth
Mertzbau

Jean-Pascal Flavian and Mika Tajima
Mark A. Rodruigez
The Weeping Line
Molly Larkey, Aaron Horst,
Keith J. Varadi, Katie Bode,
Stuart Krimko, Matt Stromberg
Non-Fiction
at The Underground Museum
Catherine Wagley
The Art of Birth Carmen Winant
Escape from Bunker Hill
John Knight
at REDCAT
Travis Diehl
Ed Boreal Speaks Benjamin Lord
Art Advice (from Men) Sarah Weber
Routine Pleasures
at the MAK Center
Jonathan Griffin
Launch Party Carla Issue 5
Exquisite L.A.
Featuring:
Fay Ray
John Baldessari
Claire Kennedy
Intro by Claressinka Anderson
Portraits by Joe Pugliese
Reviews Hana Cohn, Eli Diner,
Claire De Dobay Rifelj,
Katie Bode, Molly Larkey,
Keith J. Varadi
Moon, laub, and Love Catherine Wagley
Walk Artisanal Jonathan Griffin
Reconsidering
Marva Marrow's
Inside the L.A. Artist
Anthony Pearson
Mystery Science Thater
Diana Thater
at LACMA
Aaron Horst
Informal Feminisms Federica Bueti and Jan Verwoert
Marva Marrow Photographs
Lita Albuquerque
Launch Party Carla Issue 4
Interiors and Interiority:
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Char Jansen
Reviews Claire de Dobay Rifelj,
Matt Stromberg, Hana Cohn,
Lindsay Preston Zappas,
Simone Krug, Keith Vaughn,
Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi
Le Louvre, Las Vegas Evan Moffitt
iPhones, Flesh,
and the Word
F.B.I.
at Arturo Bandini
Lindsay Preston Zappas
Women Talking About Barney Catherine Wagley
Lingua Ignota
Faith Wilding
at The Armory Center
for the Arts
and LOUDHAILER
Benjamin Lord
A Conversation
with Amalia Ulman
Char Jansen
How We Practice Carmen Winant
Launch Party Carla Issue 3
Share Your Piece of the Puzzle Federica Bueti
Amanda Ross-Ho Photographs
Erik Frydenborg
Reviews Eli Diner, Jonathan Griffin,
Don Edler, Aaron Horst
Hot Tears Carmen Winant
Slow View:
Molly Larkey
Anna Breininger and Kate Whitlock
Americanicity's Paintings
Orion Martin
at Favorite Goods
Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal
Layers of Leimert Park Catherine Wagley
Junkspace Junk Food
Parker Ito
at Kaldi, Smart Objects,
White Cube, and
Château Shatto
Evan Moffitt
Melrose Hustle Keith Vaughn
Reviews Benjamin Lord, Aaron Horst, Stephen Kent
Top-Down Bottom-Up Jenny Gagalka
Snap Reviews Aaron Horst, Char Jansen, Randy Rice, Lindsay Preston Zappas
Max Maslansky Photographs
Monica Majoli
at the Tom of Finland Foundation
White Lee, Black Lee
William Pope.L’s Reenactor
Travis Diehl
Dora Budor Interview Char Jensen
MEAT PHYSICS/
Metaphysical L.A.
Travis Diehl
Art for Art’s Sake:
L.A. in the 1990s
Anthony Pearson
A Dialogue in Two
Synchronous Atmospheres
Erik Morse
with Alexandra Grant
SOGTFO
at François Ghebaly
Jonathan Griffin
#studio #visit
with #devin #kenny
@barnettcohen
Mateo Tannatt
Photographs
Jibade-Khalil Huffman
VESSEL // CINS and
VESSEL // PERF
Ben Medansky
I've been a lot of places,
seen so many faces
Nora Slade
Launch Party Carla Issue 1
Slow View:
Discussion on One Work
Anna Breininger
with Julian Rogers
Reviews Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal, Catherine Wagley, Keith Vaughn, Aaron Horst, Kate Wolf, Mateo Tannatt, Evan Moffitt, Cal Siegel
We’re in This Together Lauren Cherry & Max Springer
Distribution
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Ibid Gallery
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Nicodim Gallery
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Eastside
AWHRHWAR
67 Steps
ESXLA
Otherwild
SADE
Smart Objects
Skibum MacArthur
Westside
18th Street Arts
Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis 
College of Art and Design
Christopher Grimes Gallery
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The Armory Center for the Arts
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Elsewhere in CA
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Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library (New York, NY)
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Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, CA)
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Scholes Library, NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University (Alfred, NY)
Skowhegan Archives (New York, NY)
Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York, NY)
Telfair Museum (Savannah, GA)
USC Fisher Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library (New York, NY)
Yale University Library (New Haven, CT)

Mernet Larsen
at Various Small Fires

Mernet-3

Two perplexed parents with skin the color of Cover Girl’s “Warm Beige” makeup lean over an infant with heavy lids and unfocused eyes. The infant’s head is shaped like a cube because all Mernet Larsen’s figures are geometric in form. The stylization transports her figures into a video game-like alternate reality, only whatever game they’re in is more steeped in quirky feelings and understated power dynamics than The Sims ever was. Larsen’s exhibition Chainsawer, Bicyclist and Reading in Bed at Various Small Fires, her first in Los Angeles, was filled with angular figures and strangely compressed space, although up close the paintings were thicker and more worked-over than you might expect.

One interesting and challenging aspect about the recent success of Florida-based Larsen—who is seventy-five and has not exhibited very prominently since she began making art in the 1960s— is how well, in theory, her work fits into certain trends at a time when trendiness often gets discussed more intently than actual artworks. She’s gaining visibility when putting under-the-radar female artists on the radar seems all the rage. “[A]gain and again I have seen an eerily similar story structure parroted,” wrote Ashton Cooper recently, in her wry Hyperallergic article, The Problem of the Overlooked Female Artist. “Overlooked by the establishment for her entire life, she never stopped prodigiously toiling in obscurity and is finally being given her due.”[1]

 Larsen may have toiled and may well be getting her due. Interestingly, she also works in those spaces between abstraction / figuration and screen-like flatness / painterly roughness; spaces, that if gallery press releases are to be believed, we are currently obsessed with (“So much of the contemporary painting dialogue is dominated by a reductive abstract formalism,” claimed one recent announcement for a show featuring representational painting[2]). Larsen seems of the moment both because she’s receiving overdue attention and because she’s weirdly in-line with a more youthful zeitgeist. And while contemplating an artist’s work in terms of trendiness can be shortsighted, it can also be a rewarding effort.

Mernet1

For instance, it’s interesting to think about the recent upswing in attention that the 84-year-old Dorothy Iannone’s work has received, given that Iannone’s own rebelliousness initially prompted the same institutions now embracing her to reject her. In terms of the flatness/roughness conversation, Laura Owen’s recent abstractions—including those big fluorescent-colored paintings that launched the warehouse space 356 Mission two years ago—are worth thinking about in terms of the current marketability of “Internet-aware” painting. The paintings she made in the late 1990s had a quirky, hand-drawn quality, but the most expressive marks in this new work looks mediated, like she drew them in Photoshop first.

But even if Larsen’s paintings appear surprisingly hip at first glance, they quickly sidestep conversations about their own trendiness, mostly because thinking about the artist’s age or about “painting discourse” distracts from her meticulous portrayals of human behavior. In Handshake (2001), an unbelievably tall woman and man shake hands in an institutional hallway. The tension is palpable: maybe they’re professors, and one just got tenure while the other resents her for it?

In Explanation (2007), six figures sit at folding tables holding a meeting. The institutional green floor tiles appear to be overtaking the ceiling and walls, while a woman with a tight bun addresses the group, her lanky Pinocchio-like arm outstretched. Although the arm appears to be wooden, her hand is creased and plump in convincing places. You get the sense that she hasn’t figured out exactly what she means to say yet, and the others wait, listening politely.

Mernet2

Politeness was a pervasive theme in this show. Often Larsen’s figures seem to be reining their feelings in or behaving nicely for someone else’s sake. That said, politeness seemed to be missing in the exhibition’s namesake painting, Chainsawer and Bicyclist (2014). The bicyclist, recognizable as such mainly because he wears a helmet—his “bike” consists of an abstracted pole—rides forward towards a woman in a shapeless dress. She holds a chainsaw in her left hand and stares at him in a way that suggests he’s wronged her. The woman leans back as if the ground she’s on has tilted, muting her otherwise aggressive behavior. Many of the paintings have this kind of twisted De Chirico quality; space collapsing, and perspective twisting back on itself.

There’s enough angling, attitude, and playful art historical mimicry in Larsen’s world to engulf a viewer. And when you’re engulfed you don’t usually have the time or desire to ask, “How does this fit into the zeitgeist?”

[1] http://hyperallergic.com/173963/the-problem-of-the-overlooked-female-artist-an-argument-for-enlivening-a-stale-model-of-discussion/

[2] http://theproperty.gallery/

 

Originally Published in Carla Issue 1issue-1Purchase Issue 1