THE BLOG
02/16/2011 10:44 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Gallery Rounds/Bergamot Station

We actually found quite a lot to like in the course of our afternoon at Bergamot Station late last week. (Bergamot, for readers unfamiliar with the topography of Los Angeles area galleries, is a former train station in Santa Monica, and has been a lively center for galleries and design studios for a number of years now. Soon, I have heard, the trains will be running through the station again. No idea how this will affect the galleries.) It has been too long since Ellie and I last made our gallery rounds, so it was a good moment for a catch-up. I mention here only a few of the highlights, with apologies to some good shows passed over and, to those mentioned, for the brevity of attention to work that deserves more than it gets here.
Our first stop was Shoshana Wayne Gallery, where we were astonished to find a painting depicting a session very much like one of our artists' groups, led by people who looked startlingly like Ellie and myself...
Group, 2010 Acrylic on canvas, 49" x 66"
(My i-phone snapshot)
... seen here at the far left. Brad Spence's paintings feature the kind of air-brushed haze with which we are familiar since Gerhard Richter opened up that possibility, so it was impossible to tell whether this particular painting was based on an actual photograph of one of our workshop sessions, but it sure looked like it. (We were with a handful of artists from our regular Tuesday group, who all agreed on the remarkable similarity; but we heard later from Shoshana herself, who had called the artist to ask, that he thought it was "some religious group"--unlikely to be us!) Spence's haze suggests an oneiric perception of reality...
Cocktail, 2010, Acrylic on canvas, 55" x 53"
(This and all images below courtesy of the gallery)
...where the absence of clear focus evokes the frailty of receding memory and the always questionable nature of reality itself.

I was intrigued by what Stephen Aldrich manages to do with cut-ups of Victorian etchings in his remarkable collages at Craig Krull Gallery. With meticulous precision that fools the eye into believing that it's looking at a singular image, Aldrich pieces together disparate images which, on closer examination, offer wonderfully surreal, often whimsical, sometimes even hilarious juxtapositions. Some of his collages create crazy, eye-catching architectural puzzles...
Point Counterpoint, 2010, collage, 18 x 24 in
Others, like the fabulous creatures invented by the appendage of one familiar animal or bird head to the body of another, content themselves with a simply visual pun...

Menagerie, 2011, Collage, 20 x 26 in

They tickle the imagination with mischievous humor and intriguing visual conundrums. Also at Craig Krull, there's a collection of exquisite, small-scale black and white photographs by Yamamoto Masao...