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Review

Aaron Curry's cosmic canvases: A trip through outer (and inner) space

In his latest exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery, Aaron Curry has taken his paintings intergalactic. Known for his freewheeling mash-ups of abstract painting tropes with references to the body and pop culture, Curry here applies the same logic to starbursts, aureoles and black voids. Executed on eccentrically shaped and layered canvases in a neon-hued 1980s palette, they fairly glow with cosmic energy.

The paintings are accompanied by a couple of all-black, steel sculptures of a scale an artist can afford to make only upon reaching some kind of career pinnacle. Curry is in consummate form, but I couldn’t help but miss the scrappiness of his earlier work.

Still, to be fair, both paintings and sculptures preserve some of this spirit. Several paintings depict biomorphic tubes that spew sparkly star juice, probing outer and inner spaces. There are some subtle pop culture references: This is definitely a planetarium laser show vision of outer space.

The sculptures have become more decorous, painted a flat, matte black. With dramatic, swooping curves and gravity-defying acts of balance, they engage with the “serious” sculptural legacies of Richard Serra and Alexander Calder. But there is still a Rube Goldbergian, comic sensibility and an unexpected lightness to these weird agglomerations of rocket shapes, tubes and balls. We can be thankful they still possess some silliness amid the bombast.

David Kordansky Gallery, 5130 W. Edgewood Place, Los Angeles, (323) 935-3030, reopening Jan. 5 and running through Jan. 16. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.davidkordanskygallery.com

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