Monday, March 8, 2010

Chinatown, thank you for not disappointing me.

Chung King Rd. is more like an old wooden roller coaster. There is a constant creaking fear of what you will be seeing in the next gallery. Overall, you get a fairly uneventful and disappointing experience, a sort of "Eh, I just came on the ride to see what all the fuss was about". However, you do get to experience the much anticipated excitement while you're at the top of the hills. The names of these peaks are Robert Mallary, Kathrin Burmester, and Travis Somerville.

Robert Mallary's sculptures are quite exciting, especially his more figurative work. His mid-century pieces create a strong visceral experience that straddle the line between the grotesque and the beautiful, reminiscent of Louise Bourgeois's work.
Crucifix, 1962
The Cliffhangers, 1963-4
Nosedive, 1962

Ballerina, 1960

Kathrin Burmester's large-scale, pixelated digital prints of baseboards were a very pleasant inclusion in the Jancar Gallery. Her utilization of photography is quite smart and places the work in the context of painting, the abstract, and the banal, among other intriguing discourses.

White over Blue, Red, Yellow, Green and White on Blue (Baseboard), 2010

White over Brown over Spirals (Baseboard), 2010

Beige and Beige over Brown (Baseboard), 2010

Travis Somerville explicitly deals with race relations throughout the nation's history. Because of the time-specific imagery appropriated in his mixed media collages, he confronts the viewer with seemingly antiquated images and forces the viewer to consider them in the context of the contemporary moment. This work was by far the most powerful and most politically charged of the work exhibited on Chung King Rd., especially considering the recent events at UCSD.

Unfortunately there aren't many images of his work on the net...

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