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The Date Farmers
at Ace Gallery Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Recommendation by Michael Shaw

Continuing through February 26, 2011

The Date Farmers - Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez - are an Indio-originated duo who implement Pop, graffiti, and Mexican folk art iconography to fresh and defiantly un-slick effect. Working primarily on found metal panels, often signs that they've rescued on road trips to Mexicali and Oaxaca, Lerma and Ramirez demonstrate an impressive knack for scavenging, and marry their own gestures to the finds with a deft touch that harnesses Manuel Ocampo, Margaret Kilgallen, Barry McGee, and graphic Mexican sign painting in roughly equal measures. At their best, they take the most profoundly mysterious, tossed off signage and somehow find a way to amp up its potency. And yet, their best works seem to be the least folksy. A series of portraits that are also included, on metal and wood panel, the most memorable of which, "Children of God (3 of 3)," features a spectrum of plastic cigarette lighters glued to its base, each with its own streak of burnt residue. The Date Farmers have so well-digested their sources that, in several works, they manage to exhume their own found icons.

Ace Gallery Los Angeles

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