Jonathan Griffin

Criticism and essays on art and culture

Aaron Curry

David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Featuring condensation in advertisements for soft drinks or beer is a great way of bringing the inside out: droplets of water on a bottle, can or glass are an index of the cool, refreshing contents within. Somewhere in this visual archetype’s DNA we might also trace the contradictory associations of sweat (our own) and the unsullied freshness of morning dew on grass.

Water droplets covered the walls of Aaron Curry’s exhibition ‘Two Sheets Thick’ at David Kordansky Gallery. Unlike the glinting moisture in Coca-Cola advertisements, however, these were dully printed onto large sheets of cardboard in uneven shades of grey, resembling the output of a failing photocopier. This, as with many things in ‘Two Sheets Thick’, was something of an illusion. They were in fact reproductions of photorealist drawings that the artist made by hand using a digital stylus (an oxymoronic tool if ever there was one), subsequently enlarged and screen-printed onto primed sheets of card. A fair degree of craftsmanship attended images that went out of their way to look dashed-off.

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City Report: Los Angeles

Everybody thinks they know Los Angeles. It’s one of the most filmed, photographed and sung-about cities in the world. However, archetypes of gridlocked traffic, plastic surgery, Finish Fetish, smog and gang violence sell short the city’s many surprises. Originally a city of farmers, LA is spacious enough for everyone to tend their own patch without trampling their neighbours’ crops. It’s also elemental; flanked by mountains and ocean, its steep hills attest to its energetic seismic geology. And it teems with wildlife: mountain lions and bobcats prowl the foothills of Hollywood and bears are regularly rescued from Beverly Hills swimming pools.

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