ENTERTAINMENT ARTS & CULTURE

What is the 'women's aesthetic'? The gallery show '3 Women' offers some answers

“3 Women” at the Landing features works by Lenore Tawney, Tanya Aguiñiga and Loie Hollowell, who are all invested in something of a “women’s aesthetic.” Dating to the early days of feminist art, this approach is exemplified by strong, symmetrical, abstract forms, references to the body, and craft practices such as weaving and sewing.

This exhibition hews to these tenets so closely it might make your ovaries ache — in a good way. The legacy of feminist art, it seems, is more than secure.

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Lenore Tawney, Untitled, 1972.
Lenore Tawney, Untitled, 1972. (Joshua White, JW Pictures / The Landing)

The standout works actually date from the 1970s. Tawney, who passed away in 2007, began weaving and drawing in the 1950s and was a friend and contemporary of Agnes Martin. The delicate, wavering lines of Tawney’s elongated, free-hanging textiles and intimate, moon-like drawings reflect that aesthetic kinship. The works possess an understated elegance that obliterates the line between art and craft.

Works by Hollowell and Aguiñiga are from the present but hark to the ’70s. Hollowell’s modestly scaled paintings are all color variations on the same form: a tiny, sinuously curved central nodule from which thick, interlocking lines in bright gradations emerge. They are obviously indebted to the hard-edged works of Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, perhaps too much so.

Loie Hollowell's "Stacked Lingam in Red, Green," 2016.
Loie Hollowell's "Stacked Lingam in Red, Green," 2016. (Courtesy of Loie Hollowell and Feuer/Mesler, New York)

Aguiñiga’s contribution is an array of fleshy forms, many dotted or covered with hair, suspended on rope hammocks. The forms are whimsical, grotesque and thoroughly surreal, like indeterminate body parts crudely butchered and strung up like hams. Despite their debt to artists like Louise Bourgeois and Senga Nengudi, the works possess a creepy charm all their own.

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The Landing, 5118 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles. Through Sept. 17; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. (323) 272-3194, www.thelandinggallery.com

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