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Art review: Aaron Curry, Richard Hawkins at David Kordansky

November 17, 2011 |  5:30 pm

Aaron Curry and Richard Hawkins, "Cornfabulation" installation view at David Kordansky Gallery
At David Kordansky Gallery, Aaron Curry and Richard Hawkins have built a gallery-within-a-gallery. “Cornfabulation” is a work of art unto itself. It’s also many other things: a 3-D frame for 27 painted collages and nine collaged sculptures; a photographic backdrop for those same works; a stage on which visitors play out unscripted dramas; and the ground for individual flights of fancy, which take place in your imagination.

At its best, that’s what art does, even if it sounds corny. There’s nothing naive about Curry and Hawkins’ art, which has no illusions about life’s cruelties yet still makes room for dreaming.

Curry and Hawkins have covered the walls of their three-room museum with cardboard sheets they have silk-screened to resemble a cartoon version of the interior of a country bumpkin’s shack. The faux wood grain and nail heads drag the super-saturated palette of newfangled consumables into a world far away from life in the big city, where mom-and-pop shops have not yet been replaced by chain stores.

Their freestanding sculptures and wall-mounted collages are slapdash masterpieces that seem embarrassed by their own virtuosity. It is as if the artists want their pieces to disappear into the hyperactive camouflage of their DIY wallpaper.

But none is a wallflower. Each fails to fade into the background. This willful failure gives their loaded show the bittersweet twang of art that sticks in your memory.

-- David Pagel

David Kordansky Gallery, 3143 S. La Cienega Blvd., Unit A, (310) 558-3030, through Dec. 10. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.davidkordanskygallery.com

Image: Aaron Curry and Richard Hawkins, "Cornfabulation" installation view. David Kordansky Gallery

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