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Art review: 'Rogue Wave '09' at L.A. Louver Gallery

July 24, 2009 | 10:30 am

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The fourth installment of L.A. Louver Gallery’s biannual summer exhibition “Rogue Wave ’09: 10 Artists From Los Angeles” neither shoehorns art into a tidy, preconceived theme nor pretends that its diverse works don’t add up to something greater than their sum. Just the right touch of curatorial control is exercised. All of the emerging artists are given enough room to do their own thing, and visitors are trusted to intuit the connections that unfold among the highly accomplished paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, collages and videos.

Materials count, whether it’s the sound of bubble gum popping in Micol Hebron’s video installation; the flaccid strands of unwoven canvas in Dianna Molzan’s delicately desiccated abstract paintings; the slick surfaces of Tia Pulitzer’s monochrome statues; or the illusionistic blemishes meticulously manufactured in Kaz Oshiro’s otherwise mute abstractions.

Touch also matters. It runs the gamut from Richard Kraft’s lovingly abstracted comic strips to Annie Lapin’s explosive paintings of imploding landscapes to Fran Siegel’s gentle light-trap of a sculpture, carefully woven of wire, fishing line, scraps of film and fragments of porcelain.

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Scale is essential, particularly to Olga Koumoundouros’ “Trickle Down,” a 23-foot-long, toilet-paper-wrapped sculpture that resembles a mummified rain gutter from a 19th century home.

But color steals the show.

It turns Matt Wedel’s “flower tree,” a nearly 7-foot-tall bouquet of glazed clay, into a menacing, bollard-shaped monolith, its spiky petals both beautiful and threatening.

The same double-edged impact is delivered by Erin Cosgrove’s “Happy Am I,” a hilariously scathing animated digital video that, in less than five minutes, tells the story of life’s emergence on Earth, the development of the world’s religions and the apocalypse. The sing-songy tone of Cosgrove’s diabolically cheery “We Are the World” mockery captures the terrifying nuttiness of the present.

-- David Pagel

L.A. Louver Gallery, 45 N. Venice Blvd., (310) 822-4955, through Sept. 19. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Top: Erin Cosgrove"s "Happy Am I (video still)"; bottom: Richard Kraft's "Untitled (Kapitan Kloss #41)." Credit: L.A. Louver Gallery

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