Review: Jeff Colson, wizard of illusion, at Maloney Fine Art
The centerpiece of Jeff Colson’s small but mighty show at Maloney is an installation titled “Stacks.” A drop-leaf kitchen table stands alongside a two-drawer file cabinet, and the tops of both are heaped with paper: towering stacks, stray sheets, folded and wrinkled pieces.
A yellow milk crate beneath the table holds some overflow, and a few crumpled balls rest on the floor beside it.
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Colson, based in Pasadena, is a wizard at trompe l’oeil illusion (kin to Daniel Douke and Kaz Oshiro), and he folds back the curtain in places to reveal his own wizardry. He crafted this scene out of wood, resin, paint and urethane. This absurdist ode to paper contains none at all and is all the more resonant for the canny subversion.
What appears straightforward and direct derives its power from obliqueness. What registers as familiar turns out to be something unusual, idiosyncratic. What reads as a mundane mess is actually a metaphor.
The blank sheets, in a range of musty off-whites, invoke potential, but even more so a hapless obsolescence — paper as old-fashioned, quaint as the dated furniture it sits on.
When the Mariinsky Ballet performed “Cinderella” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Oct. 8, even the wondrous Diana Vishneva as Cinderella couldn’t bring unity to the movement, but she danced with flawless, fearless authority. Read more >>(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins leaves a rehearsal of his play “Appropriate,” opening Oct. 4 at the Mark Taper Forum, to eat first with a reporter, then later with his agent and some unspecified Hollywood people, who presumably hope to lure him away from the field and city where he has experienced meteoric success in the last five years. Read more >>(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Soprano Abigail Fischer performs Oct. 7 in the opera “Songs from the Uproar” at REDCAT in Los Angeles.(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Moisés Kaufman’s muscular revival of “Bent,” which played at the Mark Taper Forum, opening on July 26, renders what many had written off as a parochial drama about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany into a gripping tale of love, courage and identity. Read review >>(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Malaviki Sarukkai performing at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on July 19, 2015. Sarukkai is the best-known exponent of South Indian classical dance.(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Bramwell Tovey conducts the L.A. Phil with pianist Garrick Ohlsson in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at the Hollywood Bowl on July 14, 2015.(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
Argentine dancer Herman Cornejo performs in the West Coast premiere of “Tango y Yo” as part of the Latin portion of BalletNow.(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Jake Shears plays Greta in Martin Sherman’s play “Bent” at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles through Aug. 23, 2015.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Dancers rehearse a one-night-only performance choregraphed by Raiford Rogers, one of L.A.’s most-noted choreographers. This year the dance will be to a new original score by Czech composer Zbynek Mateju.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Mia Sinclair Jenness, left, Mabel Tyler and Gabby Gutierrez alternate playing the title role in the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” at the Ahmanson Theatre. The three are shown during a day at Santa Monica Pier on June 16, 2015.(Christina House / For The Times)
American Contemporary Ballet Company members Zsolt Banki and Cleo Magill perform a dance routine originally done by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. This performance was presented as part of “Music + Dance: L.A.” on Friday, June 19, 2015.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Miguel, a Grammy-winning guitarist, producer, singer and lyricist, is photographed in San Pedro on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. His new album “Wildheart,” explores L.A.’s “weird mix of hope and desperation.”(Christina House / For The Times)
Los Angeles-born artist Mark Bradford is photographed in front of “The Next Hot Line.” This piece is part of his show “Scorched Earth,” installed at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, June 11, 2015.(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
The Los Angeles Opera concluded its season with “The Marriage of Figaro,” with Roberto Tagliavini as Figaro and Pretty Yende as Susanna, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
“Trinket,” a monumental installation by Newark-born, Chicago-based artist William Pope.L, features an American flag that is 16 feet tall and 45 feet long. The work is on display at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA through June 28.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Alex Knox, from left, Carolyn Ratteray, Lynn Milgrim and Paige Lindsey White in “Pygmalion” in spring 2015 at the Pasadena Playhouse.(Mariah Tauger / For The Times)
On March 17, Google celebrated the addition of more than 5,000 images to its Google Street Art project with a launch party at the Container Yard in downtown Los Angeles.(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Ric Salinas, left, Herbert Siguenza and Richard Montoya, of the three-man Latino theater group Culture Clash, brought their “Chavez Ravine: An L.A. Revival” to the Kirk Douglas Theatre to mark the group’s 30th anniversary. The play ran from Feb. 4 through March 1.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
“Saturday Nigh Live” alum Darrell Hammond‘s one-man show, “The Darrell Hammond Project,” ran at the La Jolla Playhouse from Jan. 31 through March 8.(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Colson also has been making wall-mounted sculptural reliefs that pass as paintings, and four of the works in wood, fiberglass, steel and acrylic are on view. These, too, pay homage to paper, suggesting a collaged field of blank pages. Associations ripple outward, to monochrome painting, minimalist seriality, mid-20th-century design. The sheets of paper that Colson conjures throughout bear no writing, yet they serve as reminders, prompts to provocative self-reflexive questions.
Maloney Fine Art, 2680 S. La Cienega Blvd., (310) 570-6420, through Dec. 19. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.maloneyfineart.com
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