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Art review: Kirsten Everberg at 1301PE

July 21, 2011 |  6:30 pm

Everberg Hotel RoyaleL.A.-based Kirsten Everberg gives intentionally deceptive titles to her new paintings at 1301PE, assigning multiple place names to views of the same site. One of her images based on the interior of the Bradbury Building downtown, for instance, goes by the title, “Military Hospital, Great Britain,” and another by “Hotel Royale, China.” The “subjectivity of memory and the unreliability and relativity of truth,” as the press release describes Everberg’s interests, are worthy, if familiar issues, but they amount to a weak subplot here.

The main attraction is not where history, fiction and representation intersect, but where glossy, viscous pigment meets prepared canvas. These paintings have more going on atop the surface than beneath it. Texturally rich and chromatically striking, they mix oil and enamel, matte and slick, to intriguing effect. The iron grillwork in the Bradbury-based interiors is evoked by webby strands and gooey swirls of paint. Puddles of enamel layer atop one another, cool next to warm, rendering each canvas a dynamic site in itself. Whether titled after Rio de Janeiro, the Congo, Burma or the Dutch East Indies, Everberg’s landscapes offer similar views into a lush, moist realm, where searing, yellow light buzzes against cool, gray-blue shadow. The drizzled paint swirls and marbles, invoking a fluidity that says more about uncertainty and tenuousness than any scaffold of words. The real slippage staged here occurs between the work’s perceptual richness and the pretentious conceptual shenanigans intended to bolster it.

-- Leah Ollman

1301PE, 6150 Wilshire Blvd., (323) 938-5822. Through Aug. 27. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Photo: Kirsten Everberg, "Hotel Royale, China." Credit 1301PE