Jason Ramos

August 08, 2015, 2:13pm

Dropping In on the Dropouts

MacArthur Park in the Westlake area of Los Angeles is only about 3 or 4 miles away from the University of Southern California. Driving around the streets of this dense neighborhood, the exclusive academic world of the Trojans seems very, very far away. Los Angeles is not known for being a walking city, but you wouldn’t guess it by looking at modern Westlake. The sidewalks during most days are teeming with people, and vendors line the streets in front of frenetic backdrops of small-business signage and big-business advertising. Westlake had the second highest density of any LA neighborhood according to the 2000 census, over 70 percent of it Latino, making a median income of a little over $26,000 a year. Park View gallery is tucked a few blocks away from the concentration of activity around MacArthur Park, in an apartment in an older 2-story residential building. The former 2016 class of USC’s Roski School of Art, referred to as the USC7, have mounted an exhibition of their works in this apartment-gallery entitled Recesses, and it is within the political context of their circumstances that this exhibition takes place. Park View, according to a report by the LA Times’s Carolina Miranda in 2014, is the creation and apartment of Paul Soto, formerly of the staff of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Park View is one of many idiosyncratic alternative and/or artist-run initiatives in the Los Angeles area, and it is easy to guess what the appeal of the venue might be for the USC7. – Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor

All photos courtesy of Park View.


Recesses installation view

Listed under: Review

July 08, 2014, 9:49am

Signs of the Times: John Mills

In Michaels Fried’s review of Michel Seuphor’s now criminally out of print 1963 book Abstract Painting: 50 Years of Accomplishment From Kandinsky to Jackson Pollock, Fried all but dismisses the very need for such a book, saying, "Whatever controversy it may once have provoked, abstraction per se is by now no longer a live issue.” An understandable stance, perhaps in 1963, near the beginning of one of the more recent bona fide canonical shifts in the history of art. Art is not fashion — but there has always been a fashionability to what kind of art is discussed as part of the current dialog. Human beings have always, and will always, seek to arrange, produce, and think with the more formalized 2D visual concepts; the relatively modern format and practice of painting has, for the last hundred years, been one of the primary sites of that inquiry. - Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor

Listed under: Review

February 26, 2014, 10:23am

Literally Figurative: Sarah Awad

The Women was the title of Sarah Awad's (NAP #93) first solo exhibition at Diane Rosenstein Fine Art this past November.  The press release provides an immediate context for the work: “The artist reawakens our detached assumptions about the transcendent purity of minimalism and -- in what becomes a return of ‘The Return of the Figure’ -- continues a contemporary conversation with the work of Cecily Brown, Marlene Dumas, and John Currin.”  The figure in art can exist as a fundamentally formal aspect of how we perceive 2D images (any shape on a picture plane that appears in front of a pictorial ground is technically a figure), and also as the specific subject matter designation of people in the picture.  Somewhere between and to the side of those notions is the issue of the female nude in art. – Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor


Sarah Awad | The Women, installation view, Courtesy of Diane Rosenstein Fine Art/photo by Craig Kirk

Listed under: Review

December 10, 2013, 10:52am

Bodies of Work: Rebecca Campbell

Since her LA emergence in 2002, Rebecca Campbell (NAP #37) has been crafting sumptuous, painterly scenes that range from the poignantly quotidian to the kaleidoscopically fantastical.  The embrace of her paint handling and leaning towards large formats lend heroic, almost legendary proportions to the men, women, and children who inhabit what often appears to be a magically-real version of domestic, middle-class life.  But the dazzle of the paint does not distract or disguise – her pictures look in the eye what is often relegated to the nostalgic, the sentimental, and the emotional.  In the hands of a lesser artist, images of this sort frequently fall outside the purview of contemporary art.  Campbell, however, forges a meditation on autobiography that demands a closer investigation.  The depth of her imagery upends and reclaims motifs such as family, children, rainbows, fireworks, lightning bolts, and mushroom clouds with such deftness that their full meaning seem linked to their depiction in paint. - Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor


Rebecca Campbell | Just Another Diamond Day,
2010, oil on canvas, 72 x 64 1/2 inches. Private collection. Image courtesy of LA Louver, Venice, CA

Listed under: Noteworthy

June 03, 2013, 8:30am

Art of Darkness: Nathan Danilowicz

Tucked away in a former dental office and Rastafari community center between West Adams and Culver City, artist Nathan Danilowicz has been busy.  The rooms of his studio space seem like dark altars in reverence to forces both ancient and modern, where the conceptual strategies of painterly abstraction are reclaimed as the spells and invocations of a lost age.  These tattered, rune-inscribed veils are the latest product of Nathan's inquiry into how sci-fi shamanism, ritual, and the occult share more than just superficial affinity with many of the modalities and practices of modern and contemporary painting.  These new works along with some others will be exhibited later in June at

Listed under: Features

May 14, 2013, 8:30am

Weekend Warriors

At the shared edge of Hollywood and Los Feliz, across from La Luz de Jesus Gallery / Wacko / Soap Plant, down a block from Cheetah's gentlemen's club, and next door to a tattoo place, lies the residence of artists Jay Erker and John Mills.  The front room of their place is also Weekend, described on their website as “a new artist-run space dedicated to showing the work of under-represented and emerging contemporary artists in Los Angeles and beyond.”  Since Erker and Mills opened Weekend in 2011, it has become one the defining outposts of Los Angeles' thriving community of artist-run and alternative spaces, wit

Listed under: Los Angeles, Review

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