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Art review: Robert Lazzarini at Honor Fraser

April 26, 2010 |  9:45 pm
300.brassknucklesiRL300dpi Robert Lazzarini’s sculptures-cum-weapons at Honor Fraser do their best to look like paintings. The wall-mounted guns, knives and brass knuckles — meticulously constructed out of the same materials as their real-world counterparts — appear stretched, squeezed and twisted as if they had been drawn on the wall in distorted perspective, or copied from reflections in a fun-house mirror. They are marvelously engineered three-dimensional illusions.

The walls of the gallery have also been dramatically slanted from floor to ceiling, an effect that both enhances the works’ vertiginous angles and reinforces their solidity; you’re likely to stub your toe on the wall trying to get a closer look. Adding to the realism, visitors must sign a disclaimer before entering the gallery — the knives, apparently, are very sharp.

300.gunivRL300dpi The sculptures’ extreme distortion suggests guns pointing every which way in a frenetic movie shootout, or a rain of knives in a “Tom and Jerry” cartoon. Isolated on the wall, they are engrossing little meditations on the line between representation and reality, laced with the threat of actual harm. This idea comes across best in the simpler pieces. Other works, in which two guns are conjoined or brass knuckles twine together in golden clumps are sometimes lovely but too abstract to, ahem, trigger the recognition that representations may also be weapons.

– Sharon Mizota

Honor Fraser, 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A., (310) 837-0191, through May 8. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Images: "Brass knuckles, (i)," 2010, top, and "Gun (iv)," 2009. Courtesy of Honor Fraser. Photo Credit: Josh White.