A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#22 <previous/ next> Artletter index February 1, 1996

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Todd Ramsell at Lawndale	3/1

Comic books in art galleries always remind me of aging rock stars
composing symphonies, i.e. abandoning their talents for an ambition that is
dubious at best. "Low" art is better than "high" art anyway, which is why
the intelligensia has to denigrate it as "low" and the hoi polloi couldn't care
less. Which isn't to say that I didn't like Ramsell's work; it's inventive,
entertaining and weird, but I don't want to stand around Lawndale to read
it.- Mark Allen

Michael Kennaugh at Sally Sprout	2/24

It impossible not to see the strong influence of Cy Twombly in Mr.
Kennaugh's work. The best painting, Bubo, seems to be furthest from the
Twomblyesque grasp and shows something of a personal abstract dialog in
which the artist uses the formal language to create a visual diary. Chunky
yet fragile, a cloud of awkward black lines seems to speak with a somber,
melancholic tone. Bubo is the only painting which holds its raw canvas; in
other works the white spaces seem flat and incoherent. The show has an
overall freshness. -Louise Cranston

Hines and his Circle at Art of this Century, 414 W. Gray	2/26

Intensely relevant to life in 1996. These paintings use supergraphics (those
giant geometric stripes and  curves used to brighten up dull institutional
buildings; Kroger on Montrose has a beauty on its south wall) as a metaphor
for  the failure of the progressive, utopian ideals associated with abstract
art. Usually a gallery is a separate little world, but in this show what's
inside the gallery and what's outside on the street are the same; there is no
break in the continuity between the subject and it commentaries. Robert
Montgomery's giant watercolors on canvas fade romantically;  Jeff Elrod's
vicious older paintings amputate slices of giant curved stripes as if they
were seen in bad, close-cropped snapshots. Giovanni Garcia-Fenech's
brilliantly dull landscapes show the empty sky, anonymous buildings and
discouraged vegetation of urban scenes flattened into affectless pastel
abstractions. Accompanied by a good, informative low-budget catalog.- B.D.

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