Review: Monica Majoli works wonders at L&M; Arts

Detail of Monica Majoli's "Black Mirror (Kate)," 2012, oil on panel, 16 x 20 1/8 inches.
(From the artist and L&M Arts)

Monica Majoli’s darkly tinted diptychs are love poems to those moments when sleep slips away and you wake up to see that the world is beautiful. In these bedroom pictures, the knowledge that life goes on without you is oddly comforting — serene, sensible and out of step with the selfishness that seems to define our times.

At L&M; Arts, Majoli’s first solo show in Los Angeles consists of five oils on panel, each depicting a former lover, paired with five shadowy works on paper, each made with lithographic inks, in honor of her father, a lithographer who left, long ago, to set up shop in Italy. A single painting, without a partner, rounds out the exhibition. It tips the balance toward a sort of solitude that grows out of loneliness into stoic self-possession.


In warm shades of gray, with whispers of gold, pink and silver, Majoli’s paintings are intimate without being voyeuristic. Although the women in them seem to be unaware that they are being looked at, Majoli’s presence in the pictures is palpable. You feel as if you’re seeing the world through her eyes, as they slowly open in the middle of the night or after a post-coital nap, just as consciousness flickers into being.

Her abstract compositions, in similar shades of buttery gray, give gentle form to the time it takes, upon awakening, for our minds to catch up with what our eyes see. In that sliver of subtle strangeness, Majoli works wonders.

L&M; Arts, 660 S. Venice Blvd., (310) 821-6400, through Jan. 5. Closed Sundays and Mondays.