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Josh Reames and Jose Lérma
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Culver City
Recommendation by Michael Shaw


Josh Reames and Jose Lérma, “He Hath Founded it Upon the Seas I, Monument to Wilson and Kelling,” 2016.

Continuing through March 5, 2016

Josh Reames' crafty airbrushed and trump l'oeil-heavy paintings are given a healthy re-fresh through a collaboration with his friend and fellow painter Jose Lérma. Together they've created two mural-sized paintings (which were custom made to fill both long walls of the front gallery) dubbed "He Hath Founded It Upon The Seas (I and II)." They’re simultaneously cartoony and epic, replete with seafaring and island iconography and doodle-like caricatures of disembodied noses, colonizers hauling bowling ball/bombs and an immense sandal-clad leg stepping across the middle of the expanse. The palette is limited to black and white and just a touch of blue (for the cannons), which precludes Reames’ past tendencies to veer a little too heavily toward kitsch. The paintings, at about 24-feet-wide, so dominate the space that you’ll be more prone to view them section-by-section, rather than as a whole (indeed, it’s not possible to stand back far enough in the relatively narrow space; craning up at a movie screen from the first few rows comes to mind, though with the paintings it becomes an opportunity, not a deficit).

Individual paintings by the respective artists in the back gallery make it very clear just whose mark-making is whose, and Lerma makes a particularly strong impression with an orgy of heads limited to hair, beards, noses and mouths, set off intermittently by highly patterned black-and-white backgrounds. Their sculptural installation, "Monument to Wilson and Kelling," in which a door with a pocked mirrored surface hangs from a chain and spins off a motor, lit with a blue light filtered by cleaning products, is not without a modicum of ambition (it refers to the broken windows theory, in criminology, that curtailing minor crimes prevents the escalation of more serious crimes). However, here complexity comes off as completely out of context, and thus serves as no more than an afterthought.

Published Courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2016


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