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The light gray painting hanging near the entrance to Jennifer Boysen’s current Cherry and Martin exhibition bulges in so many places. Whatever’s behind the canvas, painted in egg tempera (the most delicate of mediums), wants to come out.
L.A. based Boysen uses found objects and industrial material to make the frames for her monochromes, so that the canvas is actually covering assemblage sculptures we’ll never get to see. Minimalism as a cover-up feels about right, especially given that we were supposed to enter a risk-taking renaissance after the recent Great Recession. But instead, artists pulled back, going for a carefully controlled aesthetic. So when the art market resurged, it was hipster monochromes by, say, Jacob Kassay, that skyrocketed in value. There’s a lot of anxiety lurking beneath present-day obsessions with the pared-down, and Boysen gets that.
In this show, all her canvases are filled with earthy, neutral colors; they become objects like tight muscles. Some are five or six inches thick. Though, there’s something about the elegant way this small show is installed that does the work a disservice. The spacing between the five paintings is so art-world-savvy that Boysen’s work reads too quickly as trendily nice. It shouldn’t be nice—the best thing about her approach is the unruly aggression that burns beneath her controlled, meditative surfaces.
Jennifer Boysen runs June 13–July 11, 2015 at Cherry and Martin (2732 S. La Cienega, Los Angeles, CA 90034)