The way we live now is not the way we lived then, because it never is. Time and circumstance change.
But in a group show called “The Way We Live Now” at Gallery Luisotti, shadowy or invisible forces seemingly beyond our immediate reckoning are pegged as establishing the woeful situation in which American society finds itself today. Once upon a time, unfathomable gods and goddesses might have been the likely culprits, but in this exhibition powerful technology and surveillance are among the agents of discomfort.
New York-based painter and guest curator
PHOTOS: Arts and culture in pictures by The Times
Irons’ own canvas, a loving little still life of a compact fluorescent light bulb, is typical of work that eschews simple posturing. Looking like a science-fiction robot, the swirly white bulb casts a purple shadow against a queasy green wall, inserting the illumination of energy-conscious efficiency within a painfully bruised context.
Jane Dickson paints suburban houses on carpet samples, the domestic image crusted and muddied by the soft, indulgent pile. Susan Willmarth’s “Heart Hut” looks like an oversize house from a Monopoly game, hewn from a hefty chunk of golden beeswax but caked with a layer of grime.
For “Zap,” an enlarged still from the famous
David Deutsch’s grid of 24 black-and-white nighttime photographs of trash-strewn backyards and alleyways spotlighted from above put us in the prurient position of a police helicopter patrolling the ruined landscape below. Lucia Love stapled a digitally disintegrating photograph of Chelsea art galleries on a paint-slathered scrap of wood, as if both were broken remnants left behind by a super-storm.
Finally, a slight but revealing disjunction is conveyed by the subtle juxtapositions of old Neoclassical and Victorian houses from an upstate New York village with their brand-new doppelgangers from the master-planned community of
Gallery Luisotti, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 453-0043, through Sept. 7. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.galleryluisotti.comhttp://www.galleryluisotti.com/