You’ll find the latter in the work of Elyse Graham, an LA artist who’s long been long been fascinated by geological phenomena. She creates psychedelic geodes — subterranean pods that, in nature, form when liquids or gases accumulate inside rock. Graham creates hers by pouring neon, fluorescent and phosphorescent-colored urethane resin into molds and injecting her own breath into them to form hidden bubbles. When cracked open the sculptures resemble radioactive seedpods. Spiritual cousins of the work of German sculptor Marcus Linnenbrink, they are among this show’s highlights. Brian Porray’s collage paintings, identified as by the artist as drug-fueled visions of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, are another. Working with the structure’s pyramid shape, the LA artist paints interlocking triangles whose interiors are filled with Op-ish dots and swirling lines. Some are painted, some collaged, but the overall effect is of fabric affixed to canvas. Loosely brushed, off-kilter grids “anchor” these compositions, suggesting edifices held aloft on flexible webs. They call to mind what might be had if the Gee’s Bend quilters were to collaborate with Bridget Riley, Frank Stella and Mary Heilmann.
And of neon lighting itself? Patrick Martinez, another Angelino, takes as his jumping off point the neon signage found in storefronts. He employs that framework to make pointed statements about global warming, race, money and power. The 1992 Los Angeles Riots depicts the American flag as a shattered cubist “canvas” with shards of red and white neon shooting off in different directions against a painted black geometric backdrop: a perfect alignment of ends and means.