Reviews by David Pagel (D.P.) and Leah Ollman (L.O.). Compiled by Grace Krilanovich.
Nathan Redwood: Altered Atmospheres Everything is at loose ends in Redwood’s paintings except for the artist’s own sturdy and enthralling talent. His work has huge surface appeal: he paints in thinned acrylic in a palette of metal, wood, dirt and water, erosion, poison and rust. His colossal snaky brush strokes wind across the canvas and double back upon themselves like the labyrinthine path of intestines. Redwood’s world churns with complexity. Playfulness and provocation chase each other’s tails. Trauma shadows ebullience (L.O.). Michael Kohn Gallery, 8071 Beverly Blvd., L.A. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; ends May 8. (323) 658-8088.
Albert Contreras The artist’s exuberant works mash painting and language into a rich mix that leaves neither the same and both better for it. In terms of materials, Contreras is anything but sting, piling his specially mixed acrylics on wood panels the same way my three-year-old puts cream cheese and jelly on a bagel: until both jars are empty. In terms of language, Contreras is a less-is-more Minimalist. His “X” paintings make Samuel Beckett look verbose and Georges Perec seem undisciplined (D.P.). Peter Mendenhall Gallery, 6150 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; ends May 1. (323) 936-0061.
Andreas Gursky Size matters and looking important trumps all. The German photographer has been making grandiose art for years, and his most recent work inaugurates the newly expanded Gagosian Gallery with predictable pomposity. Each of the five huge pictures in the “Ocean” series is made of combined satellite images of water and land masses. Detachment is common to Gursky’s work, but even more extreme in these photographs, which feel entirely divested of emotion. In spite of their stunning size and the amazing technical engineering that produced them, they feel bland (L.O.). Gagosian Gallery, 456 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; ends May 1. (310) 271-9400.
Channa Horwitz: Sequences & Systems This terrific two-part show skims across 40 years of visual investigation by the L.A. artist. Her work falls somewhere between game and exercise, mathematics and music. Its key ingredients are rhythm, pattern and repetition, its precursors the minimal, serial art of the ‘60s. Horwitz has developed multiple methods of articulating space, typically in ink on paper, using the orderly rigor of predetermined systems. Often the austerity of those systems gives way to sensual ebullience, and the images, however prescribed, feel immediate and fresh (L.O.). SolwayJones, 990 N. Hill St. No. 180, L.A. and kunsthalle L.A., 932 Chung King Rd., L.A. Wed.-Sat, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. noon-6 p.m.; ends April 25. (323) 223-0224.
Dennis Oppenheim: Early Works The exhibition takes visitors back to the early 1970’s, when art was an open-ended experiment capable of just about anything and, at the same time, nothing special, just another part of life’s unpredictable thrills and pitfalls. A sense of Everyman accessibility and see-for-yourself inquisitiveness is palpable in this optimistic era of heady integrity, when curiosity and communication were what art was all about, and showing off, by showing others up, had not yet become a profitable entertainment or national pastime (D.P.). Thomas Solomon Gallery, 427 Bernard St., L.A . Wed.-Sat., noon-6 p.m.; ends May 1. (323) 275-1687.