August 6, 2010 | LA Times | Leah Ollman
Kerry James Marshall titled the group show he guest-curated for Koplin Del Rio “Hangin’ Together” to suggest the mood of an end-of-summer reverie, a “relaxed, easygoing social gathering.” He invited six artists to the conversation, making sure the mix was aesthetically and generationally diverse, “unburdened by a weighty theme.” The exhibition isn’t all small talk, however, more like a sequence of brief, variably engaging monologues, touching on a range of concerns, among them sex, religion, race and the beauty of nature.
Stacy Mohammed’s reductive paintings of Christian icons have an immediacy and sobriety that is deeply affecting. At the other end of the spectrum, David Lozano’s large, flamboyant, mixed-media canvases overstate their case, piling on sequins and gloss to heighten their erotic allure. Candida Alvarez’s drawn and painted abstractions exude a jaunty, sensual sense of humor, and Luis Serrano’s pencil and gouache renderings of dense woods are gorgeously realized, detailed but not fussy.
Robert Pruitt and Suné Woods are both represented by works that sustain long, fruitful eavesdropping. Pruitt riffs on power’s different manifestations in his handsomely drawn charcoal and conte portraits, adopting a straightforward style but injecting enough discordant notes to give the work a compelling bite. In a series of staged photographs by Woods, the same eyelet dress appears worn by a young woman lying on a dirt path in one image, and by a bearded man on a rocky hillside in another. Each narrative fragment intrigues on its own, and together the scenes begin to spell out something rich and complex about black identity.
-- Leah Ollman
Koplin Del Rio Gallery, 6031 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 836-9055, through Sept. 4. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.koplindelrio.com