Paintings by Sayre Gomez read as mash-ups of Sigmar Polke's photographic dissolutions with Yves Klein's patented pigment, International Klein Blue. At Francois Ghebaly Gallery, one group of them is installed in a regimented row on the far side of a bleak field of wood chips spread across the floor – a ruined garden observed by an armless blue mannequin seated on a blue bench.
Polke pulled the plug on photography's authority as the dominant form of contemporary fictive imagery, making paintings whose photographic emulsions intentionally fade or darken into oblivion as time passes. And Klein's intense cobalt color became an ironic signature; an anonymous hue that nonetheless branded his paintings and sculptures as uniquely his. Gomez toils in related fields, which have only gotten murkier in our virtual world.
The paintings show windows that appear to be opening, closing, reflecting light or catching raindrops or dirt on the surface. An autumnal landscape is repeated twice, in two slightly different configurations side-by-side.
In an adjacent room two blue coffee tables hold cast-sculptures of stacks of books, a spilled wine glass, a cellphone and an iPad. A tall plinth nearby crosses the monolith in "2001: A Space Odyssey" with a John McCracken plank-sculpture to form a case to hold obsolete vinyl records – all of them painted blue. And back in the field of wood chips, a dozen rock-shaped audio speakers murmur with the sounds of music said to have been compiled from a playlist made by Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg.
The assembled objects, analog or virtual and each distinct but working together as a whole, creates a tone poem of imaginative figments that are unlikely to be seen in this specific gallery configuration again. The clunky mannequin, which transforms a carefully conceived experiential environment into a distanced theatrical tableau, is the only misstep in Gomez' otherwise wonderfully strange and ambitious mixed-media installation.
Francois Ghebaly Gallery, 2245 E Washington Blvd., (323) 282-5187, through Nov. 22. Closed Sun and Mon. www.ghebaly.com