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Art Review: 'will be home...' at Ambach & Rice

August 25, 2011 |  3:15 pm

Willbehome 
Ambach & Rice has moved from Seattle to Los Angeles. Its inaugural exhibition, “will be home…,” features works by 11 gallery artists. The ensemble holds together nicely, neither shoehorning misfits into restrictive categories nor leaving so many loose ends that you wonder how it fits together.

Nearly every piece conveys a sense of not being at home with itself — of doubting, almost existentially, its wholeness, coherence and groundedness in the world.

Roy McMakin’s three pieces of furniture look as if they’re too unstable to function on a day-to-day basis. But his chairs are as comfortable as traditionally designed ones, and far more intellectually stimulating. Along with a small pedestal table, they drive a wedge between comfort and complacency, uniting bodies and minds in sympathetic endeavors.

Martina Sauter’s three collaged photographs and Abigail Reynolds’ four collages do something similar with found and fabricated images. Each cuts and pastes together parts so that it’s hard to know where one scenario ends and another begins. The slippery relationship between pictures and things also takes playful shape in “Bulwark,” Ron van der Ende’s abstract wall-relief made of salvaged wood.

The question of what’s real and what’s fake animates Ellen Lesperance’s bittersweet diptych, Jeffry Mitchell’s pair of ceramic figurines and Karen Sargsyan’s two paper sculptures, whose silly realism is timely.

Visual conundrums energize Pablo Pijnappel’s illogical photographs, Alon Levin’s stacked sculpture and Grant Barnhart’s two paintings, “Nonsense No Longer Breeds Pink Concrete” and “Tolerable Garden Strap.”

Eric Yahnker’s two big drawings pay cheeky homage to many precedents, including William Burroughs, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Peter Alexander and Joe Goode. Yahnker’s homemade pictures marry snide skepticism and hometown favoritism, a loaded mix that is not unique to Los Angeles but at home the world over.

-- David Pagel

Ambach & Rice, 6148 Wilshire Blvd., (323) 965-5500, www.ambachandrice.com, ends Sat.

Image: Installation view of 'will be home...,' with work by Roy McMakin, Martina Sauter, and Ron van der Ende. Credit: Ambach & Rice 

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