LATimes reviews: Miller, Pittman, MacConnel, Masullo

“Allison Miller,” Acme,Los Angeles, CA. Through Oct. 20. David Pagel reports: “As Miller’s lines accumulate, almost always by following alongside one another, they form concentric triangles, diamonds and other shapes. They recall cross sections of tree trunks, pebbles splashing in ponds and sound waves echoing toward infinity. The oddness of Miller’s shapes increases as incidental details grow into substantial forms — like hard-to-break habits.” Read more.

“Lari Pittman,”Regen Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Through Oct. 20. David Pagel: “The written messages that once spun Pittman’s stories in many directions have become an unintelligible babble, a mixed-up m�lange of letters and syllables, in Cyrillic and English and gibberish, that makes easy reading impossible. If a story co-written by the Brothers Grimm and Fyodor Dostoevsky were illustrated by Charles Demuth, it might resemble these melancholic paintings….In a sense, Pittman has turned his back on the age of instantaneous communication and gone underground, making haunted pictures of a netherworld. But he is no backwoods mystic. Simplicity is nowhere to be found in his ruminative paintings. Neither is the angry bitterness that often accompanies reactionary rejections of modern life.” Read more.

“Kim MacConnel,”Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA. Through Oct. 6. David Pagel: “MacConnel makes what historians call radical revisionism look easy. Each of his 4-foot-square panels seems to have been made by someone without a worry in the world — and even less concern for established canons of taste. His colors are garish and wonderfully vulgar: Screaming yellow, blazing tangerine, mint green, electric lavender and luxurious turquoise slam against one another as they slip up against such standard tints as red, white and blue. Black is thrown in to mediate the chaos, and a few shards of white provide just a crack of open space. MacConnel’s colors may not be subtle. But what he does with them is sophisticated. Transforming jarring messes into jazzy symphonies, he makes color sing.” Read more.

“Andrew Masullo: Paintings 1992-2007,” Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Through Oct. 13. David Pagel: “There’s more to Masullo’s paintings than cheerfulness. Their gleefulness is complicated by their equal and opposite familiarity with failure, regret, sadness. The overall impression they make is not of an avant-garde artist going out of his way to break rules, like many self-conscious careerists, but of a passionate tinkerer trying to hold it together long enough to get the job done. That combination of humility and ambition is profoundly human, and it gives Masullo’s paintings their poignancy.”Read more.

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