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Several older buildings in downtown L.A. showcase travertine accents. A false travertine, that is: the product of concrete and a fizzing agent rather than a limestone quarry. Symbolically, this is part and parcel of the LA mirage: our city’s shallow history and its attempted bypass of the sedimentary accrual of time through forces (aspiration, appearance) of a more igneous cast.
Less self-consciously deceptive than carbonated concrete are Christopher Füllemann and Daniel V. Keller’s bronzes: false bronzes, that is, of a more-false falsehood than downtown’s “travertine.” Themes of liquidity and material mimicry run throughout Suddenly I See Crystal Clear, the product of the couple’s first (co-)conception, currently on view at VACANCY.
Reality Status, a high-res vinyl print of a low-res, crater-y waterfall directly figures and subtly disfigures its object, perhaps no more or less than the digital-oceanic uniform indigo of the gallery floor. The Late Reflection series of “bronzes” capture loose cityscapes caught between rising out of or pooling on to the floor. Their deceptive patina references an expensive, weightily historic material, and is underpinned by cheaper fluid media (paint, gypsum cement, cast foam).
As a primordial touchstone, liquid consistently evokes transformation. As such a pervasive figuration, allusions to it easily wobble between fascinating and tedious, with an extra chromosome of irony in drought-stricken L.A.. Keller and Füllemann’s work similarly veers between the beguiling and the half-baked, the latter most in terms of craft. The lived-in-ness of the work distracts: Reality Status’s multiple, uneven surface cuts around services (gas line, electrical box), for example, or the rickety joints of I Am Walking Down The Street And My Heart Goes Boom. The latter nonetheless is a powerfully anemic geometry, a structured flow offset by blurred, amorphous neighbors.
Suddenly I See Crystal Clear runs September 4–October 9,2015 at VACANCY (2524 1/2 James M Wood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90006)