Ralph Waldo Emerson famously linked "foolish consistency" and "the hobgoblins of little minds," saying that such thinking was "adored by little statesmen and philosopher and divines." In his third solo show in Los Angeles, on view at Meliksetian Briggs, Tim Berresheim embraces inconsistency like nobody's business, along with a kind of foolishness that Emerson might have just liked.
Hobgoblins appear in the German artist's exhibition, titled, only somewhat tongue-in-cheekly, "New Strength from an Old Root." Taking the form of a geriatric lemon, a bell, a brick and a pair of disembodied eyeballs, Berresheim's hobgoblins could be the grandchildren of the cock-eyed characters in drawings by William Wiley and H.C. Westermann, by way of Southern California hot rod culture.
Nostalgia takes a curious turn in Berresheim's work, which includes carefully crafted etchings alongside 3-D wallpaper, a glow-in-the-dark poster, big digital prints — both figurative and abstract — as well as a display case filled with T-shirts, shopping bags, catalogs and CDs recorded by Berresheim's band, the Wait Watchers.
The trendiest feature of the oddball exhibition is an app you can download to your phone that allows you to watch the artist's abstract prints come to life — their geometric forms bounding around the picture plane while pixie dust, in a rainbow of colors, creates great atmospheric effects.
Playful but hardly naïve, "New Strength from an Old Root" conveys both a healthy disregard for convention and a deep suspicion of art's capacity to work wonders. Preferring little victories to game-changing transformations, Berresheim's whimsical mishmash of media does its own thing, on its own terms — with a whiff of optimism.
Where: Meliksetian Briggs, 313 N. Fairfax Ave., Beverly Grove, Los Angeles
When: Through Oct. 15