Art review: Ellsworth Kelly at Matthew Marks


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Last week, venerable New York gallery Matthew Marks opened its first Los Angeles outpost in a sleek, brand-new building designed by local architect Peter Zellner. In creating the space, Zellner collaborated with painter Ellsworth Kelly, the subject of the gallery’s inaugural exhibition. Kelly came up with a sculpture for the building’s façade: a single black bar spanning the top of the pure white, nearly square structure. It’s part of the show but will remain a permanent feature of the building.

Inside are six recent “relief” paintings, Kelly’s trademark clean geometries and snappy colors executed as two-panel pieces, with a “foreground” solid-color canvas actually layered on top of the “background.” This technique works especially well in the piece “Black Relief With White,” in which an insouciant white curve is layered over a black triangle. As the piece on top, the white casts a shadow that throws the usual black-on-white relationship into doubt.


It’s not the most exciting exhibition, but Kelly is nothing if not consistent. The show also features a small collection of collages from the 1950s as well as the 1966 painting “Black Over White,” which inspired the building’s façade. Executed with the same proportions — a black bar on top of a white rectangle — its presence turns the building into something of a painting itself.


Ellsworth Kelly makes a ‘shop sign’ for Matthew Marks Gallery

More art reviews from the Los Angeles Times

-- Sharon Mizota

Matthew Marks Gallery, 1062 N. Orange Grove, L.A., through April 7. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Photos, from top: Installation view from ‘Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles’ at Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles. Credit: © Ellsworth Kelly. Photographed by Joshua White, from Matthew Marks Gallery. Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles. Sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly. Credit: Architecture by Peter
Zellner, photographed by Joshua White. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.