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Michael Beck
at Lora Schlesinger Gallery, Santa Monica, California
Recommendation by Marlena Donohue


Continuing through July 28, 2012

Several things attract us to the works of Michael Beck: First, no matter how much we know art is not equal to technique, we are still captivated when a liquid like colored pigment can be made to look like life. Second, there is here the seduction of sight, of displaying those things from the everyday and making them visually compelling. Finally, there is Beck’s sensitivity to complex ideas about identity, gender, memory, the not-so-simple objects of childhood that stealthily transmit states of being. From this you might gather, accurately, that Beck turns out astoundingly well executed images.

There's the pink tricycle isolated n the most dramatic, expertly handled light. A boyhood two wheeler is “tricked out” with a big tire in front and a little one in back that apes those crazy chopped Harleys. You can smell the age of a hobby horse, the sort from the '30s made of faceted timber and wood wheels. A teeny blue antique iron sitting on a conspicuously pink shelf is called “Cinderella’s Dream.”

Titled "Notes to Self," this show ruminates with some nostalgia on the way in which the things we see, use, use and do not notice make our memories and builds our selves. Sometimes these subtexts work against each other. Calling a pink bike “She’s Going Places,” or suggesting via a toy rocket in “Off. . .To My Future,” that gender destinies must include muscle pumping or housework gets too obvious. One wonders if these lovely works would leave needed room for speculation if they were left untitled.


Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2012

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