Ryan Perez | Notes on Looking

Zack Paul in SB; Abstraction at MOLAA: Lisa, Fernández and Maggi; Ryan Perez’s Arrival; Juan Martin del Campo Jr. in “Finds! The Unusual Object”

There is so much art making going on in Los Angeles that sometimes it’s easy to forget that our neighbors just next door are also making some very good art.  I recently attended two shows in Santa Barbara featuring the work by Argentine painter Zack Paul.  His first solo-show Inside Out is now on exhibit at Sullivan Goss in downtown SB.  Paul, who has been living in the US for ten years, has clearly been influenced by the Southern Californian sunshine.  As you enter the gallery space, the first thing you will notice is the rich vocabulary of color, lines and space in his abstract paintings.  His palette is inspired by the Pacific Ocean’s marine life; sand, ocean, kelp, rocks, moss, oxide, coral, stones, seaweed also appear in the paintings titles.  Paul explained how he mixes these colors with man made architectural objects, creating an interesting dialogue and relationship.   Within these hard-edged paintings, ideas are repeated, as are his colors, systems and forms. Paul explained that he takes photographs of complicated architectural shapes and forms, redraws them and then brings out the natural element using his carefully selected colors.  Then the magic begins: There is an illusion of depth as he plays with the ambiguity of three-dimensionality and then makes us begin to wonder if the constructions are sheltering or inhibiting.  The paintings are double edged and inside out.  In the series Commonplace Interior Shapes, Exterior Colors (No. 1-3) he has taken a photograph of the interior of his house and of a corner which he often looks at in his studio. In these paintings, routine and repetition are...

ALAC, Callejón Herrón, Saving our Murals in LA, and Remembering Ronald Lopez

After a couple of weeks of some really great moments and some not so great moments in the LA art scene, I’ve finally decided to take this opportunity to stop “looking” and start “telling”. Upon walking into Art Los Angeles Contemporary a couple of weeks ago, I luckily found Mark Verabioff performing his version of Little Boxes.  This song, originally written by Malvina Reynolds in the 60s about suburban tract housing, was a perfect way to describe the spectacle of the art fair “all made of ticky-tacky” and which “all look just the same”.  Verabioff walked on speakers attached to his shoes, while he performed in front of the Night Gallery’s “little box”.  As he chanted, he snorted and dropped his pages of lyrics to the floor.  The tone was perfectly set for me, as this was the beginning of my weekend of art fairs.  I have to thank Verabioff for this as my intention for coming was to discover new Latino galleries or Latino artists…Unfortunately I found too many white (literally) “little boxes” which “all look just the same”. HOWEVER, I did find one gallery from Mexico City, Yautepec Gallery, showing young, emerging Mexican and international artists, such as Ryan Perez, Ciler, Anibal Catalan, Misael Torres, Txema Novelo and Morgan Manduley. While at the fair, I was fortunately able to meet and talk to Morgan Manduley, who had driven up from San Diego.  Manduley’s father is Cuban and his mother is the daughter of a cowboy from Oklahoma.  In his work you can definitely see how his mixed background plays a role.  His paintings seem to have a...