Mark Sheinkman's appealing drawings at Von Lintel Gallery were made through a subtractive, rather than additive process. In the late '90s, the New York-based artist shifted from laying down marks on paper to covering canvases with a white oil and alkyd base and a layer of powdered graphite, then creating lines and patterns through erasure.
The method yields inverted values: the drawings vaguely resemble photographic negatives, luminous tracery floating within dark fields.
Sheinkman's all-over lines are kin to Jackson Pollock's skeins of paint and Brice Marden's calligraphic lyricism, but they have a distinctive ephemeral quality, somewhere between wisps of smoke and the ghost-like traces on X-rays.
Translucent ribbons of light, they loop, swirl and curl, lines performing themselves in space. In one piece, smooth ropes gather in a jubilant jumble. In another, fibrous cords suggest a microscopic view of something biological or botanical. Others evoke tresses, bones, coral.
The pieces are uniformly pleasant, but not-so-pleasantly uniform. Sheinkman lapses in giving his lines fairly consistent tensile strength and density within each work as well as among them, whether a piece is an intimate 15-by-20 inches, or a more commanding 67-by-91.
It's as though he turned the volume to the middle of the dial and kept it there, where it couldn't disturb -- nor thrill, nor surprise.
Von Lintel Gallery, 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., (310) 559-5700, through June 21. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.vonlintel.com