New Yorker and Californian make Pop Up Art House anniversary show memorable

Photo: Marcos Rivera

For Pop Up Art House’s one-year anniversary show, CA / NV / NY, gallery owner Shannon
McMackin brought in two artists, old friends of one another, whose divergent 
styles are surprisingly complementary.

First, there’s New York’s Rory Devine, whose paintings deal with life’s angst-ridden, loaded biggies—desire, loss
and mortality—portrayed in a jocular manner, toying with the acceptance of the dark absurdity in life without the weight of despair. A subtle irony is at
play here, making it no surprise “ambiguous” is the word floated around Devine’s work.

Fittingly, near the entrance is “Untitled (Hank Williams),” a text painting on vertical stripes in shades of blues, blacks and grays that’s inspired by Hank Williams’ 1940s radio venture, The Health and Happiness Shows. It’s pleasantly wry, whether or not you know the backstory involving the legendary country superstar.

Carter Potter at Pop Up Art House

Carter Potter at Pop Up Art House

The Details

CA / NV / NY
Through July 7; Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., free.
Pop Up Art House, 730 W. Sunset Road, (323) 240-2888.

“Untitled (Texas Hold ’em)” features a many-eyed, paranoid cartoon-style gunslinger (a pistol in each of its six hands). And “Untitled (You Were 
Here)” triggers thoughts of surveillance or, as Devine says, could almost
serve as our collective footprint in a “You were here. We were all here, but
now we’re not here” sort of way.

The clever paintings, packaged with a sense of hope, might have you grinning. After all, there’s that saying: What doesn’t kill you only makes you funnier.

On the other side of the gallery are LA artist Carter Potter’s “paintings”
constructed from a white, translucent material known as leader that’s used
to thread filmstrip. The medium, which Potter started using 20 years ago while working in a
film studio, has an important but subservient duty in the film industry, away from the accolades.

Here, the hazy leader becomes the canvas and the
painting itself, a minimalist construction formed from horizontal rows or woven with strips of factory-painted “index” film shooting through each work with the primary-colored strips creating a balance, a sort of relaxed Mondrian.

Separating the idea of film material from its role in mass media—frame-by-frame streams of activity—is nearly impossible, which makes Potter’s use a pleasing contrast from the noise and cinematic art that transformed society. In Potter’s hands it instead becomes a quiet, calm and meditative experience.

Pop Up’s combination of both artists’ work results in a mental respite from the rigors of life through visual splendor and reassuring undertones, as if to say, “Take a breather, it’s only life.”

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Kristen Peterson

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