Three Artists, Three Visions: 101/Exhibit Presents Their Summer Group Show
In its summer show featuring the work of three artists—Ian Ingram, Charles Pfahl, and Larry Rivers—L.A.’s 101/Exhibit simultaneously takes stock and looks ahead. Pulling from its varied inventory, it presents a range of works reflecting the distinct vision of each artist, some of which will surely whet the appetite for more to come.
Both Charles Pfahl and Ian Ingram are known for works filled with psychological intensity. Pfahl concentrated on painting, and is represented in this exhibition by a selection of moody, enigmatic compositions featuring half-broken dolls and human and humanoid figures. Ian Ingram, the only living artist among this grouping, makes precisely executed drawings and paintings. The show includes three of his large-scale charcoal and mixed-media drawings, which offer a kind of prelude to his upcoming solo exhibition at the gallery this winter. Among these drawings is an enigmatic self-portrait, titled Self-portrait as Father (2009). It shows the artist standing nude against a blank background, visible from the waist up, and with a serious expression on his face. We are left to wonder whether this is a portrait of the artist in the attitude of his father, or a self-portrait, meant as a meditation on his own fatherhood.
Among the established artists of the New York School, Larry Rivers approached his work—which included paintings, sculptures, poetry, and music—with a lighter, more humorous touch. The show includes a selection of pieces that demonstrate his deft merging of references to popular culture and art history. These, too, will make viewers want to see more—a craving the gallery plans to satisfy with an upcoming exhibition focused on the artist’s “Birds of America” series from the late 1990s. For now, viewers may content themselves with such lively works as his oil-on-canvas painting, Mixed Patriotic Stamps (1976). As its title indicates, this work features an overlapping array of greatly enlarged postage stamps, each one bearing an image of a carved African mask or figure. The word “Conakry” may be seen at the painting’s lower right edge, intersecting the name of the country from which these stamps come, “Guinea.” While it may appear that this work is about travel to faraway places, Rivers likely had something else in mind. Namely, that it was figures like the ones depicted on the stamps that profoundly influenced the course of modern art—an influence that is not always readily acknowledged.
“Ian Ingram, Charles Pfahl, Larry Rivers” is on view at 101/Exhibit, Los Angeles, May 30–Aug. 4, 2015.