10 Art Shows to See in LA This July

This month’s selection includes several artists who are driven by material curiosity. They include the late Kenzi Shiokava, whose constructions of organic and industrial materials drew on his Brazilian-Japanese heritage as much as the Assemblage Art Movement he was a part of. Drops of glaze seem to provocatively pour off Amia Yokoyama’s ceramic figures, which Candace Thatcher painstakingly creates analog representations of invisible data. Alison Saar’s command of wood and metal is on display in her two-person show with late Brazilian painter Hélio Melo, while Mexican artist Pedro Reyes intertwines his county’s pre-Columbian and histories through volcanic rock sculptures and paintings on amate bark paper.

Kenzi Shiokava

Installation view of Kenzi Shiokava at Nonaka-Hill (photo courtesy Kenzi Shiokava Estate and Nonaka-Hill)

Kenzi Shiokava’s totemic constructions — a highlight of the Hammer Museum’s 2016 Made in LA Biennial — draw on the artistic traditions of Japan and his birthplace of Brazil, incorporating them into the Assemblage Art Movement that emerged in South LA in the 1960s. This career-spanning, two-gallery presentation of the artist’s work — the first since his death in 2021 — features several of these elegant, enigmatic sculptures composed of wood, wire, shells, and other found objects, alongside compartmentalized constructions that echo those of artist Joseph Cornell, and playful, intimate dioramas filled with toys and action figures, reflecting the breadth of his practice.

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Nonaka-Hill (nonaka-hill.com)
720 North Highland Avenue & 6917 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood / Hancock Park, Los Angeles
Through July 15

Amia Yokoyama: Unfurling Edge

Amia Yokoyama,Head (As the light of day breaks darkness)” (2022–23), porcelain and glaze, 28 x 16 x 22 inches (photo by Nik Massey, courtesy the artist and Sebastian Gladstone)

Amia Yokoyama’s seductive, ceramic figures are slathered in a glaze that drips and flows, riding the line between eroticism and viscous disgust. In Unfurling Edge, her current solo show incorporating ceramics, video, and holograms, female figures are placed within rhizomatic structures that support or encase them, suggesting their — and our — place in more extensive natural, or supernatural, networks.

Sebastian Gladstone (sebastiangladstone.com)
5523 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Through July 22

Linda Arreola: Abstract Wanderings from the LA Borderlands: 2020–2023

Linda Arreola, “Eye on the Prize” (2021), acrylic on canvas, triptych, 48 x 72 inches (image courtesy Art Works Fine Art Publishing)

Linda Arreola’s paintings incorporate text and Mesoamerican designs with geometric forms, bringing a Chicano/a perspective to hard-edged abstraction, or a minimalist sensibility to Chicano/a art. The works in Abstract Wanderings were created during the COVID-19 pandemic and are characterized by complex, architectural compositions, bold colors, and glyph-like letter forms, reflecting the heightened significance that words took on during our extended isolation.

Avenue 50 Studio (avenue50studio.org)
131 North Avenue 50, Highland Park, Los Angeles
Through July 29

Hélio Melo & Alison Saar

Installation view of Hélio Melo & Alison Saar (photo by Nice Day Photo, courtesy Sea View)

Sea View’s current two-person exhibition pairs the late Brazilian painter Hélio Melo with LA-based artist Alison Saar, juxtaposing the ways each artist explores myth and history in their practice. Melo was a laborer in the Brazilian rubber industry before taking up painting in the 1970s, and his captivating scenes of animals, people, and hybrid creatures in the Amazon reflect the encroachment of the rubber trade and the social disruptions of Brazil’s military dictatorship. Alison Saar explores what it means to be a Black woman in America, creating life-sized female figures from wood, tin, and bronze that reference spirituality, nature, and folklore, yet are grounded in historical reality.

Sea View (sea-view.us)
4166 Sea View Avenue, Mount Washington, Los Angeles
Through August 5

Martha Alf: Opposites and Contradictions

Martha Alf, “Four Red Pears with Black Background” (1991), Verithin pencil on Arches paper, 22 1/4 x 30 inches (image courtesy Michael Kohn Gallery)

Matha Alf’s paintings of toilet paper rolls and pears are deceptively simple. Thoughtful studies of color, form, and light, her still lifes engage with 20th-century movements such as Minimalism, Pop Art, and Photorealism while reflecting the influence of Renaissance masters like Vermeer. Through vibrant color juxtapositions, dramatic lighting, and careful composition, this late California-based artist, who died in 2019, was able to present the mundane as monumental.

Michael Kohn Gallery (kohngallery.com/alf)
1227 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Through August 5

Wishing Well

Installation view of Wishing Well (photo by Paul Salveson, courtesy Parker Gallery, Los Angeles)

When Sam Parker and Madeline Hollander’s son was six months old, he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called SELENON-related myopathy, which has no cure. They organized Wishing Well, a benefit exhibition from which 100% of the proceeds will go towards funding for gene therapy research in hopes of finding a cure for the disease. The exhibition includes the work of over 60 emerging and established artists including Kelly Akashi, Melvino Garretti, Ruby Neri, Laura Owens, Howardena Pindell, Sterling Ruby, and many more.

Parker Gallery (parkergallery.com)
2441 Glendower Avenue, Los Feliz, Los Angeles
Through August 5

Silke Otto-Knapp

Silke Otto-Knapp, “Clouds” (2021), watercolor on canvas, 118 1/8 x 153 1/2 x 3/4 inches (© Silke Otto-Knapp; photo courtesy Regen Projects)

Silke Otto-Knapp’s monochromatic landscape paintings are suffused with a moody, enigmatic quality. Regen Projects’s current solo show of her work, the first since her death in 2022, features Otto-Knapp’s late work that exhibits her refining her pared-down pictorial language. One of the highlights is “Clouds” (2021), a multi-panel painting inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Sky above Clouds IV” (1965), reworking the earlier artist’s light-hearted landscape into a fractured, foreboding scene that is no less captivating.

Regen Projects (regenprojects.com)
6750 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Through August 12

Pedro Reyes

Pedro Reyes, exhibition view (© Pedro Reyes; photo courtesy Lisson Gallery)

Pedro Reyes excavates recent and ancient Mexican history with his current show at Lisson Gallery. The show features monumental sculptures carved from volcanic rock and geometric paintings on amate paper, materials used in pre-Columbian and Indigenous artmaking traditions. The works reflect the tension between different schools of Mexican modernism — nationalist muralism versus abstraction — while alluding to symbols and glyphs from Nahuatl codices, pointing to a shared aesthetic tradition that predates European colonialism.

Lisson Gallery (lissongallery.com)
1037 North Sycamore Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Through September 1

Candace Thatcher

Candace Thatcher, “Archive Scan XXI” (2022), acrylic on wood panel, 36 x 36 inches (image courtesy the artist and the Landing Gallery)

Candace Thatcher’s distorted grid paintings reflect the contemporary state of information overload, giving visual form to raw data. Using images found through internet searches, she uses computer programs to extract information on the color, hue, and brightness of the image. This data is mapped onto a grid, from which she makes a vinyl stencil to hand roll paint through, resulting in a brilliantly colored abstract fusion of analog and digital.

The Landing (thelandinggallery.com)
5118 West Jefferson Boulevard, West Adams, Los Angeles
July 22–September 2

Remain in Light: Visions of Homeland and Diaspora

Sossi Madzounian, “The Light Under Dark Clouds” (20150, Araratian Plateau, Vayotz Dzor Province, Armenia, on the way to the Areni (© Sossi Madzounian)

Remain in Light is a moving examination of how identity is constructed in the diaspora. The show features photography by Sossi Madzounian, Ara Mgrdichian, and Ara Oshagan, three diaspora-born Armenian artists based in LA, one of the largest communities of Armenians outside of their homeland. Their images reflect the ways community is built abroad amid ongoing dispossession and persecution in their ancestral land.

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Fowler Museum at UCLA (fowler.ucla.edu)
308 Charles E. Young Drive North, Westwood, Los Angeles
Through October 15

Source: Hyperallergic.com

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