A couple of weeks ago, just before I went to DC, I was in Culver City looking at art. There were a couple of interesting shows, such as Andrea Cohen at Walter Maciel and Soo Kim at Sandroni Rey. But everything else....wow. Boring-ass, half finished, sloppy painting carried the day. Even Takashi Murakami at Blum & Poe seemed repetitive and so-what after the MOCA extravaganza this fall. So I finished that afternoon feeling profoundly bored with art and wondering if my own work is similarly blah (not a good feeling with a couple more shows in the pipeline).
But yesterday, gallery-going and looking at paintings were redeemed for me. I went to Kristi Engle Gallery in Highland Park to catch the tail end of Mary Addison Hackett's solo show there. This time....Wow! I could feel from looking at these paintings that Hackett was really going for it; they glowed with her joy in their making. I got up close to study these paintings, and I felt like each one held a hundred little lessons on how to paint: here's how to make crisp linear marks but not make it over-labored; this is how you paint things out and make it look like you meant to; here's how to smoosh one color into another; this is a good way to reference another painter (Phillip Guston, in this case); fluorescent paints open up whole new worlds of color. Rock on!
Tomorrow, June 7, is the last day of this show. Go check it out!