Review: Dimitri Kozyrev at Mark Moore Gallery

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To look at Dimitri Kozyrev’s five new paintings at the Mark Moore Gallery is to feel as if you’re sifting through the rubble of some cataclysm. It’s impossible to know if you’re looking at the blasted aftermath of a terrorist attack or simply staring at the screen of your laptop as its digital info convulses and freezes before crashing completely.

This whiplash shift from public tragedies to personal frustrations is Kozyrev’s specialty. His large-format canvases deliver it with aplomb by confusing the boundaries between feelings and facts. They also make paranoia appear to be a pretty sensible response to the newly global world, in which the horror of powerlessness takes ever-changing shape.


Each of Kozyrev’s predominantly abstract paintings splinters the picture-plane. Compositional unity is fractured into jagged fragments that provide faceted, often conflicting perspectives of a world without center.

Sometimes it seems as if you’re looking into a landscape dotted with barren trees. At others, your view seems to be interrupted by glitches in the transmission. In all of Kozyrev’s conflicted works, solid structures drift into focus only to disintegrate, leaving your desire to stand on terra firma maddeningly unsatisfied.

Each part of each painting is handled differently. Sometimes, the delicacy and detail of super-realistic watercolors predominate. At others, the rough-and-ready messiness of mortar-slathered bricks takes over. Everywhere, the jostling planes of Cubism meet the giddy instantaneousness of the Digital Age.

Kozyrev, currently based in Arizona, was born in 1967 in what used to be the Soviet Union and is now St. Petersburg, Russia. The sense of one system breaking down and another replacing it takes chilling shape in his vertiginous images of profound instability.

-- David Pagel

Mark Moore Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, (310) 453-3031, through March 28. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Above: Dimitri Kozyrev’s ‘Lost Edge #24’ (2008), oil and acrylic on canvas. Credit: Mark Moore Gallery