With the 2022 edition of Frieze Los Angeles opening this week, many of the city’s galleries are staging accompanying shows to provide an even more expansive look at their programming. Many dealers here have reported that the arrival of Frieze in the city has announced to out-of-towners what locals have long known: that Los Angeles has a thriving art scene. Below are five of the best shows around the Downtown Arts District and Chinatown on view this week.
Danie Cansino at Charlie James Gallery
Danie Cansino, a recent graduate from the University of Southern California’s M.F.A. program, is presenting a knockout debut solo show at Chinatown’s Charlie James Gallery, which recently started representing her. For that show, titled “I’m Starting to Forget,” Cansino presents a a suite of paintings and ballpoint-pen drawings done on a range of materials, including thin wood panels, paper, and serapes. In these works, the artist offers a love letter to her hometown, East L.A., through scenes of her life there, like the outside of her house or the view of the cemetery where generations of her family are buried. Standout works include Paletero (2022), in which the rough texture of the serape peeking out at the bottom edge mixes and melds with thick layers of oil paint. That painting shows an ice cream truck parked on the street at dusk. Meanwhile, an untitled large-scale map done in ballpoint pen depicts Los Angeles from the Pacific Ocean stretching all the way to Big Bear. In the latter work, Cansino invited friends to use their fingers to write on the work using Hot Cheeto dust. With the fingerprints of Cansino’s friends left visible, the work also includes the phrase “FUCK ICE.”
Sayre Gomez at François Ghebaly
Sayre Gomez has long been fascinated by the urban sprawl of Los Angeles and the detritus that is left in the wake of gentrification. For his latest show, “Halloween City,” he looks at the seasonal Halloween costume shops that take over empty stores for a couple months a year and then disappear. For a new series of airbrushed paintings, he relies on multiple reference images, which he then composites, often to create one photorealistically rendered building. In one of these paintings, three bolts of lighting strike ominously appear above one building; in another, flat one-story buildings display bygone company logos. In a side gallery, Gomez has hand-painted, at an intimate scale, various signs that would hang on electrical poles throughout Los Angeles: “WE BUY HOUSES Any Condition 818-639-1081,” “JOHN 14:6.” Additionally, Gomez is presenting two stunning sculptural works: a small-scale telephone pole and a scale-model of the Reef, a 12-story building off the 10 Freeway, near Downtown, that at one point had the world’s largest digital billboard. Gomez is asking us to look a little more closely at what we might otherwise not notice as we zoom by in a city dominated by cars.
Rodrigo Valenzuela at Luis De Jesus
To make the works in this show closing on Saturday, Rodrigo Valenzuela built a stage in his backyard on which he constructed haunting creations in metal. He then photographed his creations in black and white, often pumping in fog as he did so to enhance their eeriness, and printed the images himself. This exhibition presents two bodies of works, “Weapons” and “Afterworks,” in which menacing creations of welded scrap metal appear like futuristic torture devices or strangely alien machines that have outlived their purpose. At the center of the gallery are two wooden cube-like installations that Valenzuela built. On them are versions of his photographs that have been screenprinted atop collaged timecards, with words like “Union” and “Strike” overlaid throughout—a nod to the forms of labor that allowed for the production of these now discarded materials. The gallery will present similar installations by the artist in its booth at Frieze L.A. this week.
Dominique Fung at Nicodim
For her second solo show at Nicodim, Dominique Fung offers a series of new paintings. The show’s title, “Coastal Navigation,” refers to “an orientation method to determine a seabound vessel’s location in relation to landmarks on the shore and the visible objects under the sea,” according to a press release. Fung uses this term as a metaphor for how one can orient themselves within a certain place, community, or context. The exhibition’s focal point is set of six paintings that tell one narrative of a maritime expedition. In Liminal Time and Space (2022), we see land and shore meet as a disembodied hand manipulates objects resembling fishing roads. Also included in the exhibition are two stunning underwater scenes in which various monuments or landmarks have found new homes.
Jeremy Everett at Wilding Cran Gallery
For his solo exhibition “TacoCat” (whose name was chosen simply because it’s a nonsensical palindrome), L.A.-based artist Jeremy Everett presents a new body of work that calls into question the notion of discreteness of the art object. He presents twin paintings that are created by setting off in the desert red or blue emergency flares, the residue of which stains loosely stretched canvas in various ways. To these works, he’s added two installation elements: a palm tree potted in a suitcase (itself a simulacrum of one he sees daily in Venice) and three parts of a cut-up pieces of a white leather sectional sofa. Between two of those sawed-apart furniture pieces runs a large-scale vertical painting—a tongue-in-cheek reference to the number of times the artist has been asked to create horizontal paintings to hang above a collector’s couch.