LA CIENEGA AREA
The juice has gone out of Craig Kauffman’s paintings but he packs a lot of provocative content into parched canvases. He once reveled in the sheer elegance of pigment on silk and carried on a droll commentary about the structure of painted objects by depicting stretcher bars. Now he typically sets forth four separate objects on an open ground and lets them rattle around or play against each other. They are transparent volumes, constructed of thick lines with dark, radiating edges.
One work, “Disconnected,” seems to label the prevailing mood here. The objects--lamps, stools, ‘50s ashtrays, boxes of Japanese food--appear wan, adrift and deserted. Human presence is reduced to hairless heads, robots or the suggestion of recent absence, as when cigarettes are left smoking. Occasionally an object sets off a shudder: for example, a little blue church that looks like those roadside shrines that dot rural roads of Greece. Death is in the air all right, but it’s usually presented obliquely, as dry disenchantment.
We may mourn the days when Kauffman’s art pulsed with life, wit and optimism, but we can’t deny his continuing power to evoke feelings and trigger a reaction. (Asher/Faure, 612 N. Almont Drive, to Oct. 5.)--S.M.