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Enter the rainbow: Inside artist Mindy Shapero's mind-bending room

Enter the rainbow: Inside artist Mindy Shapero's mind-bending room
Mindy Shapero, “Second Sleep” installation view, The Pit II, Glendale. (Jeff McLane)

In L.A. artist Mindy Shapero’s installation “Second Sleep,” the boldly painted walls, sculptures and floor make you feel woozy while never letting you forget that art works in mysterious ways — just like a dream, except that you’re wide awake.

In the far left corner of the compact gallery known as the Pit II, Shapero has painted a bright dot. And a circle around it. And another. And so forth. Until just about every square inch of the walls and ceiling has been covered with a DayGlo rainbow that circles back on itself.

The colors buzz. The circles throb. And the walls and ceiling seem to be out of whack — like the facial features in a portrait painted by Picasso.

Mindy Shapero
Mindy Shapero, “Second Sleep” installation view, The Pit II, Glendale. Jeff McLane

To step onto the mirrored Mylar that covers the floor is to feel as if the room is convulsing — not spastically, but more than enough to make you feel as if you’re in a boat on the sea in a storm.

Shapero’s three sculptures are islands of respite. Their matte black sections anchor your perceptions, absorbing the chaos so your eyes don’t have to.

But escape from the optical overload ends in a whirlpool of conceptual turbulence. Emotional ambivalence follows hot on its heels.

“Fool With Two Ear Socks” and “Lover With Two Ear Socks” resemble supersized kachinas, lightweight traffic bollards, fallen piñatas, malformed cartoon characters and mutant sock monkeys. Mixing metaphors and references from different times and various places, they make the mind reel.

If Shapero’s wickedly decentered exhibition has a talisman, it’s “Broken Head From the Other Side.” The gold-leafed sculpture, lying facedown on the floor, suggests that somewhere, somehow, the face has fallen off a monumental portrait.

Mindy Shapero
Mindy Shapero, “Broken Head From the Other Side,” 2018, fiberglass, resin, acrylic paint, felt and gold leaf, 48 x 38 x 29 inches. Jeff McLane
Mindy Shapero
Mindy Shapero, “Broken Head From the Other Side,” 2018, fiberglass, resin, acrylic paint, felt and gold leaf, 48 x 38 x 29 inches. Jeff McLane

But that sculpture’s bad luck is each visitor’s good fortune. The bowl-shaped backside of the fallen face is covered with patterns more elaborate and fanciful than the one on the walls and ceiling.

You’re right back in the hallucinatory stew of pulsating circles, eye-popping hijinks and mind-bending conundrums. In the face of art, time and space don’t stand a chance.

The Pit II, 918 Ruberta Ave., Glendale. Through June 10; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. (747) 273-8240, www.the-pit.la

See all of our latest arts news and reviews at latimes.com/arts.

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