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Burton
We are pleased to be mounting renown New York painter Richmond Burton's first solo show in Los Angeles in 20 years. Burton recently gave up his residence in The Hamptons, the former studio home of Elaine DeKooning, and moved to Santa Monica. He took a studio a few blocks from the beach and the effect on his work has been significant. The ongoing LA series has all the expansiveness and brilliant light of his new environment. Burton's painting is represented in the collections of fifteen American museums including the Metropolitan, MOMA, MOCA, The Art Institute of Chicago and The Fogg. He has eleven paintings in the Eli Broad Foundation collection. He was the inaugural show at Mathew Marks Gallery and showed for almost nine years at Cheim and Read before stepping aside from the New York scene to set his own course. Burton is a painter of great integrity and inventiveness and Los Angeles is all the richer for having him here.
 
We are pleased to be giving our third show (and the first in our new Los Angeles space) to New York-based photographer Susan MIkula, selections from her cycle, American Bond, which chronicles industrial sites along the Gulf, Southwestern Coast and Eastern Seaboard. These pigment prints from Polaroid originals were shot with an SX-70 Alpha 1 camera using expired film procured on the secondary market. The faded dyes and stressed surfaces give Mikula the ideal medium for capturing a fading aspect of a bygone era. A 145 page book with 60 color reproductions and text by Jill McDonough accompanies the exhibition.
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Postcard Image Exhibition 26 marks the return of Los Angeles painter Marie Thibeault with six new works. Thibeault's long-time investigation of the wake of natural and man-made disaster finds deeper expression and a broader point of reference in these latest paintings, drawing as they do less on specific source imagery as on accumulated impressions from her environment and her exposure to the media. That she treats chaos so adeptly in paint is an accomplishment, but her truly inspired achievement is to find resolution in the midst of that very turbulence. A professor of color theory at Cal State Long Beach, Thibeault could easily fall back on her academic understanding of chromatic dissonance and harmony; instead, she paints like a suicide bomber, literally crashing color and line together, with her sensibility lashed to the resulting skew. These paintings loop in on themselves in a perpetual cycle of destruction and renewal, showcasing the best of what the medium can do.

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For exhibition 26, Susan Mikula's second solo here, we are presenting selections from a group of photographs that extends her study of the vestigial landscape of American industry. The American Device series, shown here last year in exhibit 15, concentrated on crane-laden ports and industrialized water fronts. The current leg of this exploration, American Vale, takes her vision inland. As in the previous series, Mikula works from Polaroid originals, exploiting the diminished color range and surface incident of images taken with film that has long outlived its recommended shelf life. She then digitally scans her originals for print with archival inks on rag paper affixed to aluminum panels and sealed with a matte varnish. The resulting image is as obdurately physical as her subject matter. There is something leveling and radically democratic in the filter of Mikula's treatment of her motif, as if nature were reclaiming neglected engineering, the rusted I-beams, corrugated sheathing and metal roofs turning green again. And there is something stubborn in her presentation of an image, the prodigal equilibrium of things as they are.

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For exhibit 25 we are showing recent paintings of San Francisco artist Ward Schumaker, selections from his ongoing series on the composers. Schumaker's painting combines elements of illustration and design with improvised gesture and a repertory cast of personal icons and poetic text. This is his second solo show here. In his own words:

"I frequently ask myself, what is the difference between design and art, between illustration and painting? For this series, I created work inspired by posters in the 2009 Contemporary Jewish Museum show of Russian Jewish Theater, employing the names of classical composers whose work I admire. In the 1970s, Ray Johnson of the NY Correspondence School (see the movie, How to Draw a Bunny) had sent me art work with letterforms that looked a bit Russian, cyrillic-like, and I liked that connection with the posters at the CJM, so I decided to use my variation of it. My first pieces (Stravinsky, Prokofiev) ended up quite poster-like, with large letterforms of the composers’ names cut from paper. Later, in some (Bartok, Stockhausen, Andriessen) the names disappeared under layers of paint. In others, (Janacek, Dodge, Byars, Weill, Gorecki) words appear which derive from descriptions of the composers’ works. And in some pieces (Copland, Satie, Berg) I included recognizable images, drawn simply and hearkening back to graphic design and illustration. Design or art? I felt I had come full circle."

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For exhibition 25, we are showing the recent work of Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based photographer Tama Hochbaum, an artist who seems to capture the image of continually coming home in her work, the loop of her earliest memories melding with her most recent sensory experiences. In a series of modestly-scaled black and white photographs the quick, peripheral reflection of a passed tree off the car windshield might share the time/space continuum with the image of her father as a little boy holding a piece of chalk, all of a piece. In her own words:

"...an unfolding of time, a story told, the figure, the natural world, combined, juxtaposed, all pushed together in a very personal picture plane."

Hochbaum, who studied with Stanley Hayter at the famous Atlier 17 in Paris in the ‘70s, has enjoyed an active exhibition schedule over the past few years. This is her third solo show with the gallery since inaugurating the program in 2008.

Postcard Image For exhibition 24 we are showing for the first time selected acrylic paintings of German artist Stephan Fritsch, whose work first came to my attention in a group show of abstract paintings here at Meridian Gallery a year or so ago. Fritsch, who is currently living and working in Salzburg, employs an open, gestural stroke and strident color that seems barely contained by the confines of the canvas. In many of his exhibitions he has explored free-standing panels and painting directly on the wall, as if to underscore this restless aspect of his work. In this sense his paintings remind me of rearing horses. He is at his best, however, when this dynamism is harnessed in the service of what Brice Marden calls, the “Plane Image,” when the conventions and voluntary constraints of the painted canvas serve as a yoke to temper and guide the impact of his composition, drawing and color. That Fritsch holds the reins of this harness quite deftly, without sacrificing speed, is confirmed by the immediacy of the work on display.
Postcard Image I was visiting Roger Herman a few months ago in his Echo Park studio during one of his typically feverish periods of full tilt production, and was struck by how the finished pieces and works in progress climbed up the high walls like ivy as they accumulated, spreading out and eventually crowding in the turp splattered arena he managed to keep tentatively cleared for the act of painting. It was formidable, this flock of canvases, and I suddenly felt a bit like Alice, all but swamped in a hailstorm of heart-suited playing cards. I asked Roger how he would feel about doing an installation that was atypical for my gallery, and hanging a wall somewhat in the style of the old French salons, with the works tiered up to the ceiling. He loved the idea. We decided to coincide the show with his exhibition in Los Angeles at Tom Jancar's gallery. The result for exhibition 24 is a wall of paintings, Roger Herman's second show here—all work from this year, modestly scaled by his standards, recycling favorite motifs and introducing new ones, and as always, imbued with the unchecked energy and the sheer joy of painting we've come to expect from this generous artist.