Review: Black as everything and nothing at Diane Rosenstein

John Sisley's photograph, "Ice Grid #5 (Black)."
(Diane Rosenstein Fine Art)

“The Black Mirror,” an unusually fine group show, inaugurates Diane Rosenstein’s handsome new Hollywood space. A taut and provocative visual essay, the show gathers 40 works by 21 mostly contemporary artists, including James Welling, who co-curated with Rosenstein.

Process is key here, and few of the paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs are conventionally made. In Farrah Karapetian’s “Ruin 1: The Stones in the Wall,” cut-out photograms of ice -- physical traces of a substance translucent and transient -- are collaged to suggest the building blocks of a dense and durable wall.


In Teresita Fernandez’s wall-mounted panel of solid graphite, as in Matthew Brandt’s use of wood from George Bush Park in Houston to render both a charcoal square and create the paper it rests upon, material and image fuse into unified power objects.

A few classic works (a painted wood assemblage by Louise Nevelson, a fiberglass and resin plank by John McCracken) give the show historical ballast. They, and others by Barnaby Furnas, Marco Breuer, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Nancy Rubins and more explore black’s enduring potency to evoke both totality and nothingness, the expansive night sky and the void, revelation and concealment.

Photographic works that record change over time and are generated by some sort of performative or conceptual action constitute a particularly rich thread running through the show.

Phil Chang’s three unfixed prints read as wistful denials, concise poems of absence. In John Sisley’s “Ice Grid” pictures, a sly sense of humor pairs with terrific sensuality. Four prints from the series chronicle the transformation of 48 cubes neatly aligned on a dark surface into lush, liquid patterns -- a motion study of sorts, a tongue-in-cheek yet beautiful meditation on progression and change.


Diane Rosenstein Fine Art, 831 N. Highland, (323) 397-9225, through March 9. Closed Sunday and Monday.