Entries in Los Angeles Times (4)


ARTE: Suné Woods LA Times Review

Los Angeles Times review of To Sleep With Terra:

A melancholic sense of fragmentation runs through 13 recent mixed-media collages by Suné Woods. Ire rumbles just beneath the graceful surface.

At Papillion Gallery, “Human Achievements in Limbo” is emblematic. Two modest slips of paper, both parts of pages torn from a book, are casually tacked to the wall, side by side.

One shows a West Indian woman entering the Guinness Book of World Records for doing a seemingly impossible dance maneuver, sliding her supple body beneath a limbo pole barely 6 1/2 inches off the ground.


The other displays an Apollo rocket — symbol of soaring human achievement — plus a luminous quasar, a remote celestial object that even the most advanced rocket cannot reach.

Collaged onto that faraway, unreachable quasar, a black woman’s finger seems to be scratching through its surface, like a chick attempting to emerge from a distant egg. The carefully considered juxtaposition with the black dancer is heartbreakingly lovely — and bitter, too, given the uncertainty and suspension of triumph associated with a state of limbo.

An otherwise invisible undercurrent of racial and gender suppression — of grand ambition thwarted and held in check — pushes into the foreground. Woods coaxes layers of resonance from very simple means, a key to a powerful collage.

The remaining works, two nearly 5 feet on each side, elaborate similar themes, sometimes in more abstract ways. Likewise, fleeting images of solitary, fragmented existence mark a short, two-channel video projection.

The looped video, “A Feeling Like Chaos,” is punctuated by a sudden, brief shot of a woman dressed in finery and reclining on top of a sidewalk retaining wall. She is laughing madly, but her glee seems less an expression of authentic joy than a clamoring hedge against alienation and anguish.

By Christopher Knight for the Los Angeles Times Arts & Culture section



LA Times gave Andre D. Wagner a favorable review!

By Leah Ollman

Andre D. Wagner is a young photographer with an old soul. He shoots black-and-white film and prints his pictures, by his own hand, on a scale (11 x 14 and 16 x 20 inches) that, these days, is conspicuous in its modesty.

The intimate size matters. It matches the tenderness of his approach toward his subjects, mostly fellow residents of Brooklyn. Wagner practices a quiet, lyrical kind of humanism that comes straight out of the traditions of mid-20th-century street photography and the social documentary photo-essay. "Tell It Like It Is," his show at L.A.'s Papillion, is invigorating.

Photography excels at showing us what we can't see -- motion too fast, views too distant or specimens too small for the eye to perceive -- but it also shows us what we don't see, realities made invisible by familiarity, veiled by bias or strategically suppressed.

Wagner's work comes out of his respect -- awe, even -- for the value of ordinary lives playing out in ordinary ways. His focus on African Americans in his community affirms that value, pithily summed up by the meme Black Lives Matter. Wagner's pictures help correct the record, flesh it out. They serve as counterbalance, antidote to injustices perpetrated in the realm of representation.

He shows us older women out shopping, little girls having a laugh on a stoop and little boys in playful camaraderie, mothers with their kids on the bus, a shoeshine man on a break. Nothing of conventional consequence happens during these interstitial moments, but meaning is vested in them and Wagner's keen eye seizes upon the rich, spontaneous choreography of gestures, shadows and signage perpetually staged on city streets.

He homes in on the exquisite visual dynamism energizing even the quietest of scenes.

Consider his picture of three young boys sharing two seats on the subway. The station is a blur out the window, and fragments of bodies on either side frame these innocent souls in their gleaming white T-shirts, hands folded on their laps. Two succumb to motion-induced slumber and the third sits silently observing. Their heads align like adjacent frames in a stop-motion photograph. Wagner edits out all but the bottom word, "History," in the poster mounted above them, as if to acknowledge the ever-present bearing of the past on their unknown future.

American flags crop up everywhere in these pictures -- on shirts and patches, in the hand of a pensive girl at a meat counter, on the exterior of a subway car whose window frames the sober, level gaze of a black passenger, echoing Robert Frank's powerful photograph of a segregated trolley in the '50s. Along with the lucid beauty and honesty of work by Roy DeCarava, Helen Levitt and Gordon Parks, Frank's "The Americans" is a clear antecedent to Wagner's work.

Wagner hasn't so much "sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film," as Jack Kerouac wrote of Frank, but his everyday epic, too, is dense and necessary, an affirmation that everything -- and everyone -- matters.


ARTE: I Remember Paradise - LA Times Review

The Los Angeles Times review of Lakwena Maciever's I REMEMBER PARADISE solo exhibition.

The sense of adventure in Lakwena Maciver's universe

by Christopher Knight

Seven recent paintings by London-based artist Lakwena Maciver, who often goes by just her first name, fairly shout. They’re homemade street signs, a deft cross between commercial logos and personal emblems.

Lakwena paints in flat colors on wood panels. The hues are as bright as a Technicolor rainbow.

They’re applied as stripes, checkerboards, targets, giraffe-like squiggles, lightning bolts and zigzags. One painting -- the largest, 16 feet wide and composed from six panels that happily overwhelm the small room -- is adorned with big, dangling sequins. Their shimmer and shine are animated by a pair of electric fans that create an artificial breeze.

Each painting carries a text in raised letters. What links them is their future orientation.

“Imagine eternity.” “Build to last.” “The best is yet to come.” “Faded glory.” “Wake me up.” “I repeat.” In Lakwena’s visually excited paintings, the present urges looking toward tomorrow.

“Just passing through,” blares the big sequined painting in trumpeted lettering. Indeed, we are -- both at the gallery and in life.

These big, jaunty paintings couldn’t be happier or more enthusiastic about the prospect. At a time when so much else seems fraught and troubled, Lakwena’s welcome art advocates for an insistent sense of open-eyed adventure. 


ARTE: LA Times Feature!!!

Thank you Los Angeles Times for the prominent feature in today's Business section!  The story speaks about our perspective and vision on Leimert Park and how we think art can transform the community. Peep the Noah Davis "Temptations" painting and the Lisa C Soto sculpture, the photo was taken in our private upstairs gallery :-) Click the CONTACT tab to inquire about these available works.