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Art review: Lavi Daniel, Grant Mudford at Rosamund Felsen Gallery

July 26, 2011 |  1:58 pm

Lavi Daniel I Want to WonderIf you look at the art in the exhibitions you visit before reading the wall labels, you will probably think that the show at Rosamund Felsen Gallery is a three-artist effort. Its paintings, sculptures and photographs do not resemble one another. Made of different materials, in distinct manners and far-flung attitudes, each seems committed to goals all its own.

But individual pieces speak to each other. With a little patience you sense that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A quick glance at the wall labels adds a curious ripple: the exhibition presents works by only two artists.

The entryway and two east galleries are occupied by 12 intimately scaled paintings and five tabletop sculptures by Lavi Daniel. His oils on canvas and linen are the best he has made. Solid, muscular and brushed into existence with a perfunctory, get-it-done-quickly vigor, each is also dreamy and elusive: a lovely symphony of subtly modulated organic tints quietly electrified by otherworldly light.

Daniel’s sculptures are crusty lumps, patiently built from blobs of paint scraped from his studio floor over the last seven years. Think of a haystack in a painting by Monet rendered in 3-D by a ham-fisted model-builder.

Grant Mudford In the west gallery, medium-size photographs by Grant Mudford fill your eyes with highly controlled explosions of color, texture and shape. These exquisitely printed pictures of the small garden surrounding Daniel’s studio stop time and expand space. Each intensifies the visual deliciousness of every detail, celebrating the singular beauty of each leaf, frond and blossom; branch, blade and petal; plank, tile and pebble.

Mudford’s photographs function as stepping stones between Daniel’s paintings and sculptures. Together, the three bodies of work take you on a trip that is not very long yet filled with endless possibility.

-- David Pagel

"Lavi Daniel: Paintings and Sculptures," "Grant Mudford: Photographs" Rosamund Felsen Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, (310) 828-8488, through Aug. 13. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

 Images, from top: Lavi Daniel, "I Wanted to Wonder..." 2010-11; Grant Mudford, "Garden 5," 2011. Credit: Rosamund Felsen Gallery