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Art review: 'Ingrid Calame' at Susanne Vielmetter

January 13, 2012 |  5:45 pm

 Ingrid Calame
In the 1960s, Sol LeWitt did his part to invent conceptual art by giving assistants simple directions that instructed them to draw complex networks of lines on gallery walls. Ingrid Calame does something similar but different. At Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, the results of her labors are out-of-this-world beautiful and anyone-could-do-it easy.

Rather than making up arbitrary instructions, Calame chooses two or three locations that strike her fancy. Her first L.A. solo show in 10 years, “From the LA River to Lackawanna,” features the concrete expanse of the Los Angeles River and, from Lackawanna, N.Y., an empty wading pool and the loading dock of the steel mill where her father once worked.

Calame sent groups of assistants, armed with pencils and huge rolls of paper, to all three locations. They traced every line, crack, stain, spill and chip of paint on the ground. The contours recall the lines police once drew around crime scene corpses, only far more elaborate.

Back in the studio, Calame selected sections from various locations and, assigning a color to each type of mark or its place in the composition, transferred it to a sheet of Mylar. Some of her drawings focus on a single location. Others overlay sections from paired locations. The show’s drop-dead centerpiece is a 50-foot mural Calame has drawn in raw pigment on the gallery wall.

The variety of shapes in all of her drawings is infinite. The uniqueness of snowflakes comes to mind, the miracle of endless difference all the more stunning for its origin in the grubby residue underfoot.

More art reviews from the Los Angeles Times.

-- David Pagel

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 837-2117, through Feb. 11. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Image: Ingrid Calame, "#346 Drawing (Tracing from the Perry Street Project Wading Pool, Buffalo, NY)," 2011. Credit: From Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.