Dodgers
Plaschke: Vin Scully is a voice for the ages
CULTURE MONSTER

Review: Kota Ezawa filters big events through a deadpan aesthetic

Kota Ezawa’s re-creations of photographic images in flat, solid areas of color look as though they were run through a Photoshop filter, à la Shepard Fairey. This expressionless, deadpan aesthetic, evoking fashionable illustration techniques, has become a signature for the Japanese German artist. It might feel like a formula if it weren’t so effective.

Ezawa’s success owes in large part to his judicious choice of subjects, which in the past have included the Kennedy assassination and the O.J. Simpson trial. The current exhibition at Christopher Grimes, which features paintings and a single animated video, includes images of a sailing ship, a South Pole expedition and a disaster scene reminiscent of post-tsunami Japan.

Ezawa’s graphic flattening renders dramatic scenes banal, but it also creates archetypes at once familiar and otherworldly. These qualities are especially striking in a decidedly non-idyllic painting of surfers bobbing on the waves and in what is perhaps the most boring image ever created of the desert bacchanal, Burning Man. 

CRITICS' PICKS: What to watch, where to go, what to eat

The works’ refusal of specifics suggests how certain images are burned into our collective consciousness. We don’t need to be told that the disaster is in Tohoku to recognize it. At the same time, Ezawa’s works make those images strange. Like an afterimage or a fuzzy memory, they’re an experience we’re not quite sure we had.

Christopher Grimes Gallery, 916 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 587-3373, through March 8. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.cgrimes.com

ALSO:

Hollywood Bowl 2014 lineup

Huntington president to retire in 2015

Jackson Pollock's 20-foot "Mural" to go on view

MORE

PHOTOS: Hollywood stars on stage

CHEAT SHEET: Spring arts preview 2014

PHOTOS: Arts and culture in pictures

   

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
85°