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"Venice Then and Now"
Beyond Baroque, Mike Kelley Gallery, Venice, California
Recommendation by Genie Davis

Rena Small, “Larry Bell for Artists’ Grid Continuum,” 2010, photograph.

Continuing through September 9, 2017

“Venice Then & Now”
 presents a sampling of works by a variety of artists who have either lived or worked in the beach community. Curated by Juri Koll, the show features two works from each artist: one from early in the artist’s career, and one current piece. The before and after effect transfers to the evolution of Venice itself over the last half-century. Artists include Koll himself, Martha Alf, John Baldessari, Bob Branaman, Jean Edelstein, Doug Edge, Ned Evans, Scott Grieger, Victor Henderson, Ann McCoy, Catherine Ruane and Rena Small. 


Of course, the artists have changed as the city itself has evolved, and the juxtapositions can be fascinating. Ruane’s current intensely realistic graphite drawing poses a striking contrast to her earlier abstract, colored image. What hasn’t changed is her dedication to precise form. Evans’ colorful abstract work has also changed, though less radically. Individual works also stand out, such as  Edge’s “Presidential Suite #3.” (1994), an epoxy and acrylic painted wood piece that is a dazzling hit of color. Shark-like images dance against watery forms, evoking images of surfboards and the sense of a wide-eyed, wild beach scene. From the same year, Baldessari’s color lithograph “One and Three Persons,” with its unusual geometric shape and images both figurative and abstract, captures the feeling of the area’s early transition and change. From Small’s haunting photographic images, to Scott Greiger’s pointed, funny word art, to Jean Edelstein’s gracious figures and forms, the exhibition engages both historically and aesthetically 

Beyond Baroque, Mike Kelley Gallery

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