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Art review: 'B. Wurtz & Co.' at Richard Telles Fine Art

March 29, 2012 |  5:40 pm

 B Wurtz sculpture
Good old American ingenuity doesn’t make the news these days. Nor does the attitude of can-do optimism, which seems to have been squashed by a rising tide of anger, disdain and bitter defeatism.

The spirit of DIY inventiveness lives on at Richard Telles Fine Art, where guest curator Matthew Higgs has brought together 26 works by 11 artists. Titled “B. Wurtz & Co.,” the quietly inspiring selection takes art back to the basics: individuals making things out of just about nothing.

In most religions, that’s a god’s job. But there’s nothing grandiose, overblown or entitled about the humble objects in this refreshing exhibition, which puts salt-of-the-earth honesty and homegrown improvisation front and center.

Most works are abstract, yet none disguises the materials it is made of. Scrap wood, plastic lids, bits of yarn, postal labels, coin wrappers and bottle caps are plainly visible in the casual yet composed pieces by Al Taylor, B. Wurtz, Judith Scott, Udomsak Krisanamis, Gabriel Kuri and Philadelphia Wire Man.

Collage predominates, its cut-and-paste aesthetic given sharp shape in subtly charged works by Richard Hawkins, Joe Fyfe and Vincent Fecteau. Doodling is a virtue in Martin Creed’s crisp compositions. And unsullied emptiness is filled with potential in Noam Rappaport’s clean canvases.

At “B. Wurtz & Co.,” imaginative handiwork never looked better, its democratic impulse a timely reminder of art’s place in everyday life.

-- David Pagel

More art reviews from the Los Angeles Times

Richard Telles Fine Art, 7380 Beverly Blvd., (323) 965-5578, through May 4. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.tellesfineart.com

 Image: B. Wurtz, "Untitled," 2009. Credit: Richard Telles Fine Art

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