11/07/2013 01:59 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Accidental Artist: This Artweek.LA (November 4, 2013)


Doug Edge: Let Me Explain | The art featured in this exhibition are not simply compelling pieces of abstract art - they are rich narratives, yielding to the careful observer the life-experience of a prolific and original American artist. Though most pieces in Let Me Explain are new, it could rightly be said they have been more than five decades in the making. Over his artistic career Doug Edge accumulated a bucket of plastic scraps, occasionally topping it up with leftover, catalysed resin. In 1998 the bucket was finally full. On a whim Edge decided to saw through the accumulated plastic and resin mass, revealing an intricate cross-section of flowing shapes and colors. Spurred on by this discovery he cut out slices of the resin and polished them to a sheen. As Edge puts it, this process revealed "a new kind of imagery, molecular in detail."

The artworks in Let Me Explain speaks volumes about the career and life of their creator. Edge didn't set out in life to become an artist, but found his way there through a series of similarly fortunate accidents. In 1962, an impulsive decision to abandon his studies in mechanical engineering at Valley State College and switch his major to art awoke in Edge a restless passion and curiosity.

Doug Edge: Let Me Explain opens November 9 at LAUNCH

Ellen Von Unwerth, Smoking in Bed, (Eva Herzigova), 1994, © Ellen von Unwerth, Courtesy of the Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Ellen von Unwerth: Made in America | The exhibition revels in the uniqueness and originality of Americana imagery by extolling the concept of Hollywood personalities and pop culture icons it has produced such as Marilyn Monroe, Lolita, Bettie Page, and even Barbie and Ken.

Crafting cinematic scenarios for her shoots, von Unwerth invites viewers to come along on a rollicking adventure. By furnishing each of her subjects with a new persona to inhabit for the day, she allows their inhibitions to melt away.

The exhibition showcases the starlets, musicians, and models making headlines today such as Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Evan Rachel Wood, Elizabeth Olsen, Paz de la Huerta, Madonna, Rihanna, and Kate Upton - all of whom have entrusted Ellen with the task of creating edgier, sexier images with unabashed confidence.

Ellen von Unwerth: Made in America opens November 7 at Fahey/Klein


Waltercio Caldas | Widely considered by critics, curators and writers to be one of the most important artists emerging from Brazil in the years following the Neo-Concrete movement of the early 1960s, Caldas is known for his rigorous formal concerns which arrive from investigations into human perception. For this exhibition, Caldas will present a series of new sculptures that address negative space. Frequently using forms that defy one's sense of volume and depth perception, viewers are often surprised by his objects, which reference architectural and perspectival space that is not wholly present. His materials - often stainless steel, thread, granite, ice or cloth - become secondary to the experience created or intimated. These materials suggest ephemerality, further confirming Caldas' desire to let the viewer's experience cultivate meaning in the work.

Waltercio Caldas opens November 9 at Christopher Grimes Gallery


Petra Cortwright: ✖✗✘ BLank BLANk bLANk •・∘ | This Los Angeles-based artist's first solo exhibition at the gallery features webcam videos, flash animations and paintings on aluminum, silk and polyester. Cortright created all of the works on her computer, which will be interspersed throughout the gallery. She has said that all she needs to make work is a computer and that all the tools and content she requires are available on the Internet. Whatever the program, she only uses the default settings, thereby avoiding invention while championing reuse.

Cortright's most recent works are paintings printed on three mediums--aluminum, silk and polyester. Using Photoshop, she has created fantasy landscapes on aluminum consisting of scores of layers. The imagery is developed through a wide range of actions, including hiding, erasing, mirroring, copying, pasting, inverting, blending, smudging, blurring and mixing. The paintings on silk are images of Cortright that were taken from her webcam video stills, while the thick polyester flags are like a contemporary sampler of paint effects.

Petra Cortwright: ✖✗✘ BLank BLANk bLANk •・∘ opens November 9 at Steve Turner Contemporary


Eric White: All Of This Has Not Occurred | His practice is centered around masterfully executed figurative painting, penetrated by tremors of traditional Surrealism. Inspired structurally and conceptually by John Martin's apocalyptic paintings, Eric White generates a world seen through the eyes of a quintessential watchman: anxious, hyper-alert, and secretly powerful. He becomes determined to push aside the thick veil of American media's technology of psychological manipulation by inhabiting the psyche of a brilliant, creative, and disturbed conspiracy theorist.

White's practice is centered around masterfully executed figurative painting, penetrated by tremors of traditional Surrealism. He has worked with film imagery for over two decades; not merely appropriating stills, he moves beyond the enchanting visual stratum to a new metaphysical level, employing a kind of schizophrenic dream logic. His paintings are derived from disrupted cinematic moments where actors tread the dangerously thin line between character immersion and audience interaction.

Eric White: All Of This Has Not Occurred opens November 9 at Martha Otero

For the most comprehensive calendar of art events throughout Los Angeles go to Artweek.LA.