Mark Sheinkman's drawings made by erasure at Von Lintel Gallery

Mark Sheinkman's appealing drawings at Von Lintel Gallery evoke photographic negatives

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.

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