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Art review: Gustavo Perez at Frank Lloyd

March 31, 2011 |  8:00 pm


"Triangulo," a stunning installation by Gustavo Pérez, is maximal minimalism, the reductive and spare replicated until optically lush. On a low platform, Pérez has arranged roughly 500 short, graphite-glazed ceramic cylinders cut on the diagonal in rows of alternating direction, altogether forming a triangle more than 7 feet long on one side. Leaning one way, then the other, the modular, sculptural hatch marks unite into a dynamic, undulating field that shifts as you circle it. Round loops become ellipses; the rhythmic pulse intensifies then eases.

The installation, part of a tremendous 15-year survey at Frank Lloyd, stands out among Pérez’s work for its scale, but such physical and graphic immediacy is a constant throughout the show, as is the witty, elegant interplay of line, pattern, surface and mass. Pérez, who lives in Xalapa, Mexico, makes vessels in stoneware with walls that bulge and ripple and fold in on themselves, limpid, sensuous objects with a distant echo of Ken Price.

He also makes forms with more rigid walls that he incises with a sharp blade, drawing fine lines and delicate constellations across their surfaces. The skin of each vessel gently parts where cut, especially at intersections, which open slightly, like buds, breathing outward. Pérez glazes where he cuts, setting the dark linear patterns off from the pale natural tones of the unglazed stoneware, like ink on paper, he says. Contrasts between matte, unglazed areas and sections of glossy coppery brown or slate blue-gray give the work textural contrast as well as visual punch. Pérez’s technical versatility is matched only by his expressive range. This rich and thoroughly enjoyable show is a generous gathering of tipsy grids, fleshy orifices, austere elegance and musical whimsy.

-- Leah Ollman

Frank Lloyd Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 264-3866, through April 23. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Images: Gustavo Perez's "Triangulo," top, and "Vaso." Credit: Frank Lloyd Gallery