Review

Voulkos and Kauffman close Frank Lloyd with a spark

The final show at Frank Lloyd exemplifies what the 19-year-old gallery did so thoughtfully and well, and why its presence and program will be so sorely missed.

The show pairs two stalwarts of the postwar California scene, Peter Voulkos and Craig Kauffman, representing one with a widely-spanned sampling, and the other with a tightly-focused selection.

From tame, early clay vessels of the '50s through punctured and torn plates from 1978-80, Voulkos emerges as the force of nature that he was, an artist of intense physicality and expressive abandon. An untitled stoneware plate from 2000, when he was in his late 70s (he died in 2002), teems with earthen energy. A thick and crusty circular slab formed, shattered and roughly rebuilt, it invokes a temporal cycle. It narrates, sculpturally, an essential tale of creation, destruction and renewal from the fragments.

Two sets of ink drawings by Kauffman complement each other dramatically, and are both appealing. In one, from 1958, Kauffman draws delicate weaves of horizontal bands and sinuous verticals in feathered lines reminiscent of those made by a pattern tracing wheel. The other series (1960-62) answers that quiet grace with assertive insistence, countering the light and lyrical designs with the raw, gestural spontaneity of Zen ink painting. Neither series has been exhibited before, making this show, like so many at Frank Lloyd over the years, an educational thrill as well as a sensory pleasure.

Frank Lloyd Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 264-3866, through Feb. 14. www.franklloyd.com

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