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Art review: 'Rob Forbes Selects' at Frank Lloyd

August 19, 2011 |  6:00 am

Chris Gustin, "Vessel With Dimple"  Before founding Design Within Reach, Rob Forbes was a ceramic artist and teacher. As guest curator of Frank Lloyd’s summer group show, Forbes deftly braids his various skills and missions, selecting (and contributing to) a handsome assembly of objects and producing a sprightly, primer-like catalogue.

The 10 artists in the show come from California, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, England, Canada and Japan. Only Goro Suzuki will be familiar to gallery regulars. Unfamiliarity should pose no challenge, however, not only because all of the work is easily accessible and wonderfully vibrant, but because Forbes’ text guides us through the encounter, telling us what to look for (symmetry, contrasts, humor, texture, pattern and so on) in order to truly put the objects’ design within reach.

Painterly approaches to surface abound — in the jaunty, repeated shapes of Mark Pharis; Robert Brady’s bowl with a gestural swoop; Forbes’ own vessel awash in emerald streaks — as do bold assertions of texture, most notably in a lidded box by Bruce Cochrane that looks like a corroded metal relic. In terms of pure sensuality, the show  peaks at Chris Gustin’s “Vessel With Dimple,” a voluptuous, twisted torso about 3 feet high, milky, fleshy and gorgeous. Also included are works by Svend Bayer, Wayne Branum, Jan McKeachie-Johnston and Sandy Simon.

-- Leah Ollman

Frank Lloyd Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 264-3866, through Saturday.

Image: Chris Gustin, "Vessel With Dimple." From Dean Powell