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Art review: Daniel Zeller at Daniel Weinberg Gallery

February 5, 2010 |  2:50 pm

400.DZ_242_LAT A spectacle can be created from the most modest means; size doesn't matter, nor do the bells and whistles of advanced technology. Daniel Zeller manages with just pen and ink, and sometimes just pencil. His drawings at Daniel Weinberg, many the size of an ordinary sketchbook page, are pulse-quickening, reason-defying wonders, testaments to the boundless potential of the human mind and hand.

 Zeller's work maps a burgeoning circuitry that hints of biology, botany, topography and more. Minutely striated shapes bulge and pulse. Tendrils stretch to link one form to another. Corpuscles and tubes, internal mechanisms and futuristic settlements, aquatic organisms and geologic strata emerge and morph. The imagery repeats and deviates, multiplying into labyrinthine patterns that snare the eye and send it jittering across the page. There is something of science in these marvels, and also something of the logic-bending psychedelic. They look like the doodles of an obsessive savant.

 400.DZ_264_LAT Zeller has been at this for years (an artist's statement dated 2003 applies just as readily to the newest work) but continues to stretch and surprise. The most dazzling works turn out to be the most distilled, drawn only in black ink or graphite, rather than the New York-based artist's usual gem-like palette of gold, sapphire, emerald and ruby. "Elusive Confirmation" suggests both place and body, a relief map made of loose, wrinkled skin. "Operative Relay" brings to mind the aerial view of a landscape stitched in neat, careful strokes.

With a jeweler's intricacy, Zeller traces complexity itself, as a condition, a matter of connections, divergence, transitions and completions, the known and the imagined reconciled with extravagant finesse.

–Leah Ollman

Daniel Weinberg Gallery, 6148 Wilshire Blvd, (323) 954-8425, through Feb. 13. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.danielweinberg

Image: Agoric Blobulus, 2009 (top) and Impulse Rejection, 2008. Image courtesy Daniel Weinberg Gallery.