Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) was variously described during his lifetime as a Minimalist sculptor, emphasizing anonymity and structure rather than expressive autobiography as art’s linchpin, and a Conceptual artist for whom an idea mattered more than a physical gesture. Minimalism and Conceptualism are revered ancestors of much — maybe most — current art.
At Honor Fraser Gallery, “Conceptual Feedback” brings together paintings, sculptures, drawings, video and mixed media works by 11 artists who, in one way or another, start with a LeWitt-type aesthetic and then jam the circuits. Emily Gonzalez-Jarrett has put together a mostly engaging if somewhat uneven group show.
It starts with six marvelous LeWitt sculptures and two drawings spanning 1966 to 2000. They are all variations on an open cube — geometric drawings in space whose acute, orderly logic gets visually confounded.
Brenna Youngblood gets the “conceptual feedback” going in a painting in which an orderly grid of squares has morphed into beat-up chain-link fencing, the fractured acrylic lines of color apparently squeezed straight from the tube. The image forms a battered physical screen, through which fragments of metallic color — green, crimson, silver — flicker beneath a field of mottled gray.
“Three Steel Beams” by Kaz Oshiro are piled on the floor like pick-up sticks. Only when you walk around them do you discover that this brute, anti-illusionist Minimal sculpture is in reality a delicate, illusionistic painting in three dimensions: I-beams fabricated from stretcher bars and canvas painted steel gray.
A lovely abstract tapestry by Rachel DuVall puts a loose, fine-spun weave of natural and indigo-dyed linen at the service of a strict, geometric pattern of beige rectangles and mottled color bars. Long fringe hanging across the bottom is like an unraveling marker of temporal fragility.
A suite of nine Vincent Ramos drawings takes the organizing principal of a list — here, titles of 1960s and ’70s pop songs categorized by subjects like “love” or “colors and numbers,” which he’s casually jotted onto lined notebook paper — and frames it within a jarring political context. The remembered songs, from frivolous to emotionally resonant, are favorites solicited from Vietnam veterans.
Eleven works by Sarah Cain, Kate Costello, Victoria Fu, Sherin Guirguis, Tarrah Krajnak, Dan Levenson and Glen Wilson are also included.
The ensemble is a bit too small for the three reasonable curatorial categories that have been fashioned as a format — echoes of the square, “overloaded” Minimalism and picturing Minimalism — to be meaningful. Better to have chosen one and filled it out, assuming the category is cogent. But the classic LeWitt sculptures, in addition to individual works, make the show worth seeing.
Honor Fraser Gallery, 2622 S. La Cienega Ave., Culver City. Through April 7; closed Sundays and Mondays. (310) 837-0191, www.honorfraser.com