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Art review: Cannon Hudson at Las Cienegas Projects

May 13, 2010 |  4:36 pm

400.CannonHudson_controlroom1 Cannon Hudson makes paintings that think they’re sculptures and sculptures that think they’re paintings. A dozen fine recent works at Las Cienegas Projects establish a smart and quirky conversation between them.

“Brain Room” is a square, waist-high pedestal of black, polymer-coated steel that holds a gray step-pyramid aloft. Each of the five steps is crowned by a plexiglass vitrine; the art object protected by each step in this nesting structure is simply the next smallest, otherwise empty vitrine inside.

A physical hall of three-dimensional mirrors, it gets you examining things like the light glinting off beveled plexiglass edges, fabrication gaps between the pedestal and the pyramid, streaks in the industrial-strength polymer coating and other such unexpected or seemingly imperfect qualities. Hudson twists Minimalism’s famous notion of art as a “specific object,” from which all fictions must be banished in order to establish a supposedly truthful reality, making room for illusionism and human flaws.

The paintings accomplish something similar, while approaching from a different direction. Most show architectural interiors, typically painted a monochrome silver-gray or blue.

400.CannonHudson_brainroom_1 The interiors are articulated by doorways, windows or paintings hanging on the walls. (One houses an empty vitrine, another is enlivened by an internal storm of free-floating shapes.) These depicted objects imply openings onto other, hidden spaces beyond the observable picture plane, spaces currently closed off and inaccessible except to a wandering imagination.

Like the sculpture’s imperfections, however, a dribble of paint here or a smudge of paint there is enough to snap you back to attention. Another nice touch: Hudson encloses the large paintings in aluminum strip-frames. This simple, slightly old-fashioned device objectifies the painting as surely as the pedestals do the four free-standing sculptures in the center of the room.

Weirdly, the paintings’ pictorial illusions seem akin to those rainbows of light glinting off the nested Plexiglass vitrines. Other painted sculptures made from welded steel describe geometric structures whose evident internal logic needs propping up with wooden shims, inserted here and there.

Hudson paints the steel, leaving you to decide whether the not-quite-specific object is what you perceive it to be – a painting in three-dimensional space, perhaps? One sculpture is titled “Phantom Limb,” which pretty much seals the deal.

– Christopher Knight

Las Cienegas Projects, 2045 S. La Cienega Blvd., (213) 595-8017, through May 29. Closed Sun. through Tue. www.lascienegasprojects.wordpress.com

Images: "Control Room" (top) and "Brain Room." Courtesy of Las Cienegas Projects.

 
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