« Previous | Culture Monster Home | Next »

Review: Sush Machida Gaikotsu at Western Project

January 15, 2009 |  1:30 pm


Sush Machida Gaikotsu has emptied his mural-scale paintings of substance, eliminating everything except the contours of frothy waves and the silhouettes of puffy clouds from panels that have been spray-painted shimmering silver, creamy white or velvety black. It’s a rare instance of less-is-more magic, when a strictly limited number of judicious decisions intensifies the effect of the whole. Pop art never looked more scorchingly gorgeous or wickedly Zen.

In two of the Japan-born, Las Vegas-based painter’s five pictures at Western Project, the metallic backgrounds fade to gray or blue, like the skies in Ed Ruscha’s famous paintings of the Hollywood sign. The grounds of the other three are monochromatic, but their colors change as you move around them, the metallic surfaces reflecting and absorbing light so that they sometimes appear to be the lightest of dove grays and at others as dark as dusk, well after sunset.

All of the colors Gaikotsu uses are confined to the serpentine lines that describe the sea’s turbulent surface and the sky’s fluffy clouds. They are doozies and come in a rainbow of sizzling tints, including supercharged fuchsia, dazzling azure, anti-freeze green and screaming yellow. Imagine a coloring book in which the black outlines have been replaced with a Day-Glo palette and you’ll have an idea of the fresh, uncluttered vitality of Gaikotsu’s crisp paintings.

The four that cover the four walls of the boxy gallery envelop visitors in a wraparound world of sensual abandon, where water dances and clouds drift to their own dreamy rhythms.

— David Pagel

Western Project, 3830 Main St., Culver City, (310) 838-0609, through Feb. 7. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Above: Sush Machida Gaikotsu's "Glamo" (2008), acrylic on wood panels. Credit: Western Project

Comments () | Archives (5)

This is a stunning piece, very evocative of a Japanese woodcut, but with added psychadelia.

Lots of filler, would be nice as a neon work outside a neo Japanese diner. Its just making a few stylized waves, and fill in the rest with unrelated lines. No melody, no harmony, no rhythm. In other words, a dork work. Two left feet or in this case, two right thumbs. Maybe as a sign over a DanceDance machine.

OMG! Great painting! I love it!

Beautiful!! Love it!

I am astonished by this painting. It reflects the Zen wonderment of this modern master's brain. This painting makes me feel the passion of it's creator. As for the individual who left the negative comment, remember: Art is but a reflection of the viewer. GO SMG GO!!!


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.