Review: Rough and tumble rambunctiousness at The Pit Gallery


Right now, there are two kinds of art getting made: carefully researched pieces cooked up by schemers who have surveyed art’s pecking order and want a seat at the table, and far less logical works made by artists who would do what they do even if they were the last persons on Earth.

That go-it-alone ethos and just-want-to-see-it spirit are the only features that unite the works in “When the Sun Hits,” a loose group of seven pieces by five artists at the Pit.

All are scrappy. Many are raw. Most are made from repurposed materials. Not one is a traditional painting, sculpture, print, piece of furniture, article of clothing or ceramic vessel.
Nevertheless, a sense of necessity drives each piece.

Such can’t-live-without-it resolve burbles up, as if out of primal soup, in Jennie Jieun Lee’s queasy masterpiece, “Sherbert in Emerson.” It drifts, like a desert wind, from Erin Morrison’s fossilized palm frond and post-apocalyptic mirage. Both suggest that Southern California is its own version of Pompeii.


Channing Hansen’s inside-out paintings lure viewers into a netherworld where things are just what they seem, only different. JPW3’s homemade, half-scale, orange-felt craps table delivers a similar sense of Alice in Wonderland weirdness. The same goes for his ghostly transfer print depicting folded hands. And it’s true of Miyoshi Barosh’s multicolor wall sculpture, which makes kindred spirits of Mike Kelley and Yayoi Kusama.

The rough-and-tumble rambunctiousness of “When the Sun Hits” makes you feel that you are in the presence of dyed-in-the-wool outsiders — willful misfits congenitally predisposed to do their own thing. That’s where all art starts, despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary.

The Pit, 918 Ruberta Ave., Glendale, (916) 849-2126, through Sept. 20. Open Sat. and Sun.