Review

Andrew Dadson: At its dark heart, pure spectacle

Despite regular declarations to the contrary, painting isn't dead, nor is it likely ever to die. It can, however, look pretty sickly. Andrew Dadson's grandiose canvases at David Kordansky warrant a discussion of mercy killing.

Each of the paintings (up to 12 feet wide) has a dark center, framed by thick pigment that tools and hands have swirled and streaked through. Even thicker paint curls like a wave along the bottom edge, forming a crusty overhang. The ground beneath the slathered black is silvery, and the sculpted areas along the sides have been spray-dusted in carnival-bright neons.

Dadson, based in Vancouver, Canada, claims a lineage among perfomative artists and action painters. He also nods to Jay DeFeo's most famous work of excess, "The Rose," by titling one of his pieces similarly. The association, however, doesn't redeem his own spectacle, which is audaciously empty.

Dadson also presents a curious installation of potted plants that he has painted matte black. Turning living matter into graphic silhouette is interesting, as is the strangely unnatural look of the shiny, vibrant green leaves that have emerged since the rest were painted.

The third component of the show is "Cuneiform," a grid of 160 photographs of the squiggles, dots and dashes of adhesive left on walls after street posters have been removed. There's a bit of found urban poetry here. It's not much, but it's a relief from the absurd too-much-ness of the rest.

David Kordansky Gallery, 5130 W. Edgewood Place, (323) 935-3030, through July 11. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.davidkordanskygallery.com

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