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In a city, and an art world, without seasons, the summer group show becomes as reliable as the changing of the leaves—if not as captivating. At Michael Benevento, instead of a mish-mash of cognitive dissonance from the gallery’s storage room, we are treated to three artists, divided over four rooms, each cordoned off in their own viewing spaces, each represented with a spare catalogue of 3-4 works.
Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s work is our introduction—small-scale, semi-vernacular assemblages that call to mind the mythic and often obscure imagery of folktales or religious visionaries. A sort of visual equivalent to the oral tradition, Rodriguez’s Bright Dark (2017) in particular resembles a florid retelling of an airplane crash. Egretta’s (2017) patterned perspective drives our view toward a pearl-like object at its center—explicit meaning taking a back seat to pure reverence. In a subsequent room, three sculptures by Ann Greene Kelly refer to structure (brick) and design (chairs) fed through a warping subconscious. The emerging result is both deformed and tempered: “wheels” constructed of rings of chairs, and covered completely in an organic, moss-like pattern of brick.
Milano Chow’s works emphasize the rationalization of the human hand through draftsmanship, in contrast to Rodriguez’s tight, hand-hewn assemblages and Kelly’s imperfect, odd objects. Two of Chow’s three pieces here render a formidable, semi-classical architectural facade through which we catch occasional glimpses of tiny, tony inhabitants and spare interiors. The works are impeccable, but stiff (and more so in Chow’s proximity to Rodriguez and Kelly’s odd, organic objects).
When I was a teenager, I used to play a daily radio contest after school called “My Three Songs” in which you had to guess the common thread between three songs. I even won a few times (just saying!). It would be remiss to argue in service of a common thread between these three artists where there isn’t one—association, and grouping are, nevertheless, stubborn features of the human mind. The flat lack of affect in the Benevento galleries—natural lighting, minimal staging, an overall air of the unadorned—works to narrow our focus upon each encounter with the artworks on display. Quiet contemplation is favored over the vaporous curatorial conceits that often, nominally, hold the summer group show together.
Milano Chow, Ann Greene Kelly, and Daniel Rios Rodriguez runs July 15–August 31, 2017 at Michael Benevento (3712 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004).