Art review: Kristin Calabrese and others at Susanne Vielmetter

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Kristin Calabrese, Monique van Genderen and Mindy Shapero make works that blur boundaries. The hard lines that divide comedy from tragedy, art from craft and corny from cool dissolve in their multilayered pieces, which skip across styles and subjects with panache and purpose.

In the first gallery at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, seven paintings by Calabrese play fast and loose with illusionism. Mixing signals like nobody’s business, her tromp l’oeil circle of Band-Aids and square of raw wood turn flat surfaces into mysterious spaces. Two self-portraits show Calabrese with spaghetti tangled in her hair and standing on one leg with a potted plant atop her head. Goofiness gives way to evocations of Medusa and ancient Egyptian goddesses while never leaving the nuttiness behind.


The next two galleries offer an impressive inventory of Van Genderen’s abstract paintings. On canvas, clear vinyl and glazed clay, the artist’s 15 small, large and installation-scale works combine the jaunty optimism of decorative abstraction with the grungy funkiness of repurposed objects. Visually, it’s a cocktail with a kick. And it sticks with you.

In the last gallery, Shapero’s three pieces look as if they were made by three different artists. Her delicately stenciled drawing, monstrous mosaic sculpture and loopy gold-leafed panel treat various media as switch-hitting team players who do double-duty as shape-shifting renegades.

The spirit of anything-goes ingenuity animates this triple-header of an exhibition, which delivers the goods on many levels.

-- David Pagel

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 837-2117, ends Saturday.