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La Cienega Area

In his first American exhibition Korean sculptor Jung Yong Chaing shows the human figure, nude and unadorned, dancing against the cutting restraint of a tightly wound cord. The small and beautifully proportioned female bodies cast in bronze are reminiscent of Robert Graham’s idealized nudes, but Chaing’s figures are more animated and alive. Figures such as “Dancing” don’t so much appear to balance on one foot as they seem to be doing a swift jig, gesturing with graceful fingers like Siva Nataraja, the Indian image of life as a dance in time and space.

While figures move in fleshy vibrancy against the tightness of a slim cord, Chaing’s solitary head sculptures are too often cold and studied. Instead of exuding life, they seem to merely describe an emotion and lack the vitality of the complete figures.

Most of the oil-on-linen still-life paintings of Roger Campbell are cool, spartan arrangements of small household appliances juxtaposed with single fruits or vegetables in a window niche. These contemporary genre paintings lovingly catch the bright flatness of California light at different times of day. This subtle passage of time, marked off by faint color changes on a wall just outside the window, unites the dissimilar man-made and natural props. It’s a delightful subtlety that would be welcome in paintings such as the heavily symbolic image of containment, “For the Roid.” (Koplin Gallery, 8225 1/2 Santa Monica Blvd., to April 15.)


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