In the LA Times, Christopher Knight reviews Tom LaDuke’s show at Angles Gallery, which recently opened in Blum and Poe’s old space on La Cienega. Knight calls LaDuke a latter-day Romantic, in full revolt against digital-age norms. “All of LaDuke’s paintings are layered, shifting between abstraction and representation and with bits of suggestive visual information that don’t coalesce. In one, a precarious stack of cardboard boxes is interrupted by elements of Jan van Eyck’s 1434 ‘Arnolfini Wedding Portrait,’ in which the painter acted as a literal witness to the marital union. In another, a pack of hunters and their dogs from a wintry picture by Pieter Brueghel the Elder seems to descend onto Isabella Rossellini’s luminous face in a still from the 1986 movie ‘Blue Velvet.’
“In all of these, a sinister (or at the very least melancholic) world lies just beneath the surface of perception. Light –whether directly experienced, reflected, remembered or depicted – is critical. Taking a page from Gerhard Richter, albeit in his own distinctive way, LaDuke exploits a painting’s capacity for exposing handmade deceptions – a useful tool in a culture awash in the slippery photographic phantoms of reproduction. One of the nicest touches in these large-scale paintings is the little cliffs of oil paint that hang precariously off the edges of the canvas. LaDuke emphasizes materiality, even when his own deft handling suppresses the paintbrush’s tracks.”
“Tom LaDuke: Auto Destruct,” Angles Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Through February 20, 2010.