Magazine article Artforum International

Sabina Ott

Magazine article Artforum International

Sabina Ott

Article excerpt

MARK MOORE GALLERY

Sabina Ott exhibited for years in Los Angeles before an audience that generally failed to greet her work with the enthusiasm it deserved. Recently, however, there has been great excitement about the emergence of a handful of LA artists who bridge various painting practices, as Ott always has, hip or not. Her most recent homecoming show (she relocated to Saint Louis in 1996) served as a reminder of her tenacious painterly investigations of the overlaps between language, abstraction, representation, and high and low culture.

Ott's new panels, though effortless looking, are carefully worked and composed, and they invite the viewer to retrace her every move. Each piece seems to offer solutions to problems raised in a previous one while serving as a site for experiments that will develop in a later work. Putting aside the busy patterns, rhythms, and jumbled text that permeate these paintings, one could get lost in their texture and material alone, where encaustic, enamel, and oil mingle in complex inlays, overlays, carvings, pourings, spreadings, and cakings.

The compositions are pumped with information delivered in colors that hit you like a glass of spiked punch. A Spectacle is the Resemblance, 1999, is a collision of pinwheels, clouds of color, fields of flowers, horizontal and vertical pinstripes, a sea of text and planetlike circles falling into line. The Green Green Meadow, 1999, tosses a confetti of multihued flower shapes at the viewer, but Ott complicates the offering by placing a large gray flower like a target in the center of the panel. …

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