ART PICKS OF THE WEEK

UNDEREXPOSED, SCREENING SPACE

The purpose of "Underexposed" was to flush out less prominent local artists working in less traditional media. What came to the surface was then picked over by the four jurors. Claire Aguilar stuck with only two installation artists, the poetical, introspective Soo Jin Kim and the politically pointed gay-militant Ming-Yuen Ma. Likewise, Louise Steinman confined her selections to two performers, Melinda Ring and Barbara Romain, whose actions are concise and potentially revelatory. Joe Smoke, on the other hand, chose almost 50 "photo-driven" pieces, ranging from the jejune to the inspired, and from traditional black-and-white camera images to large constructions that happen to have photographs somewhere in them. Highlights of this group include Sant Khaisa's eco-alter, Wojciech Szaazor's pyramid of books, metal wall assemblages by Michele Oglivia and Betty McDonald, Paul Pitsker's witty photocopy transfer to plywood, and powerful and poignant triptychs by Nancy Floyd and Dauna Whitehead. In choosing computer art, Jonathan Green virtually overlapped Smoke's domain, as most of his sixteen artists engage photo imagery and/or technology. The difference, of course, is computer involvement, and the outstanding digital imagists here, Victor Acevedo, Dona Geib and Lisa Bloomfield, are already prominent in L.A. art's computer cabal. The video section is the liveliest (if longest) part of "Underexposed." Claire Aguilar has assembled two to three hours of footage by 13 videastes; along the tapes not to miss are Lauren Rothstein's beautiful abstract-impressionist essay and sweetly clever autobiographical piece of Martha Wilson

If the artworks in "Screening Space" are by and large more oblique than in "Underexposed," the little show curated by Charles LaBelle proffers a unity of theme and purpose, i.e. "Reflections On Cinema In Recent L.A. Art." The objects in the show, like Jody Zellen, Bruce and Norman Yonomoto, Carter Potter, Kevin White, Mary Parker and Labelle himself are especially engaging in their curious presence and frequent, almost satirical pretense at functionality. But the mystery in Brad Dunning's painting noir and the knowingly glossy dumbness of Cindy Bernard's photographs and Chris Komster's montages may be even closer to the cinematic aura, and to its hold on the 20th-century imagination.

"Underexposed" at Municipal Gallery, Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blve.; thru Aug. 21. (Melinda Ring's Explanation 31 presented Sat., Aug 13, 12:30-4 p.m.), "Screening Space" at Jan Kesner, 184 N. La Brea Ave; thru Aug. 20.

--Peter Frank


124 LA WEEKLY AUGUST 12-AUGUST 18, 1994