May 16, 2008

Painting for umpteen years: Lutes and Dill in LA

In the LAWeekly, Peter Frank's picks this week include Jim Lutes and Laddie John Dill. "Gloriously elaborate and hermetic, Jim Lutes’ invariably small paintings — currently rendered in that most ancient of painting media, egg tempera — are also radiantly, insouciantly gnarly in their cartoonishly but viscerally strange imagery. The denseness and obsessiveness of Lutes’ work skirts surrealism, expressionism and Pop as it sucks up spirit and atmosphere, its urban references finally imploding into almost — almost – inchoate abstraction.

"Laddie John Dill’s new material abstractions, hewn from his usual gritty combinations of stone and steel and stuff, open up the formula on which he has relied for the last umpteen years, revealing a newly found formal, even architectural strength and a surprising lyricism wrought from the hard substances themselves. There has always been an element of the monumental in even the least of Dill’s formations, but here monumentality — tempered by that lyricism and by the human-scale details that relieve these works of their potential ponderousness — is the goal. Still and all, Dill is trying not to overwhelm us, but to elate us, with the expansiveness, and variety, of this recent work."

"Jim Lutes: Cancel the Band," Kinkead Contemporary, Culver City, CA. Through May 17 (tomorrow).
"Laddie John Dill," LA Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA. Through May 17 (tomorrow).

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