Margaux Ogden’s L.A. debut is a pleasure to visit. Although it consists of only seven paintings, there’s plenty to look at and even more to ponder.
It’s difficult to make short work of the Brooklyn-based artist’s acrylics on canvas at ltd/los angeles: they keep drawing you in for second looks. More often than not, you see different things. More important, you see things differently.
What’s most exciting is that that process continues on third and fourth viewings. Ogden’s unassuming works build slowly and burn brightly, deepening and intensifying and making for experiences that feel new every time.
No single component stands up and delivers a knockout punch. Instead, various elements lay back and play off of one another.
The tension between palette and line — or color and drawing — gets everything going. The colors Ogden uses — crème-de-menthe greens, highlighter-bright burgundies and screaming tangerines — are atmospheric, their borders ordinarily blurring into the haze.
But she reins them into crisp shapes, their laser-sharp edges abuzz with enough visual dissonance to make you squint.
Ogden’s compositions seem both slapdash and surgical. The eccentric shapes that make up the architecture of her paintings recall doodles — hardly the serious stuff on which heavy-duty abstraction is based. Many resemble stained glass windows that have shattered and been put back together with no regard for the original configuration. Whiplash vitality and plodding stubbornness tug against each other.
Short phrases occasionally pop out. Like overheard fragments of conversations, Ogden’s non sequiturs evoke more than they reveal: “relationship saboteurs,” “cursed from the start” and “call back Tarot” as well as “tomorrow, today,” “start west” and “love your pathological narcissism.”
There’s more to Ogden’s paintings than immediately meets the eye. But that’s enough to get you going with works that are in it for the long haul.
ltd/los angeles, 7561 Sunset Blvd., #103, (323) 378-6842, through Sept. 12. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.ltdlosangeles.com