Review: Nikolas Gambaroff: Manipulating the ghostly remains of the day


Nikolas Gambaroff’s previous work was derived from the newspaper, exploring its gridded layout. His new exhibition at Overduin & Co. in Hollywood is similarly anchored in journalistic imagery, but looks more like painting. It’s an intriguing evolution, if not an entirely resolved one.

The majority of the works are monochromatic wall panels that flicker between prints and paintings. They were created through a complex process in which Gambaroff took newspaper images, blew them up and silkscreened them onto large glass plates. He then painted on these plates, overlaying the newspaper imagery with large gestural images of cartoony faces. From these, he made monoprints and mounted the paper on panels, some of which feature protruding shelves. Other prints cover a sofa-like sculpture and a box.

There is a tension in these works between the abstract, painted faces and the ghostly faces that remain from the newspaper photographs. Both are forms of abstraction, as newspapers themselves can be seen as condensations of daily events. Gambaroff’s evocations of furniture also seem to gesture, albeit weakly, toward real life.


More engaging is a video work on two screens. The artist has animated antique-looking bronze masks, floating on a black background, to ventriloquize lines that sound like speech exercises or recipes, or perhaps newspaper quotes. It doesn’t seem to matter what they say, however, and it feels like a missed opportunity to tie Gambaroff’s explorations of form more tightly to something real.

Overduin & Co., 6693 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 464-3600, through Dec. 19. Closed Sunday and Monday.