Review: Lisa Anne Auerbach’s barbed and cozy knits at Gavlak Gallery


In her first L.A. solo exhibition since 2007, Lisa Anne Auerbach takes her trademark knits to new levels of cheeky good humor.

Inspired largely by interactions with psychics — recorded assiduously in a larger than life zine — the show at Gavlak Gallery also features knitted “paintings,” clothing and works on paper.

The artist has always used language to reflect on contemporary culture with off-the-cuff irreverence, but this body of work feels more focused and cohesive.


The knitted works predominate: beige and black illustrations of book spines, text fragments and cats. Created on a knitting machine, the works are stitched onto linen panels and have a slightly pixilated feel.

They are simultaneously barbed and cozy, full of self-help, craft and fetish books, generic “psychic” musings and hashtags. Together, they form a cockeyed snapshot of mass psychology, trapped between the confessional and the cliché. Their form echoes this tension: machine knitting is the mass-produced version of more personal handicraft traditions.

The clothing, sized to the artist’s own frame, is even more idiosyncratic. Short-sleeved tops layered over long sleeves with pants, they are covered in books like library camouflage or feature cats clinging to each thigh.

Similarly, small gouache-on-paper works take traditional knitting patterns and skew them literally off the grid. Acknowledging the interplay of the public and the personal, Auerbach keeps confidently turning tradition to her own ends.

Gavlak Gallery, 1035 N. Highland Ave., (323) 467-5700, through Oct. 18. Closed Sundays and Mondays.