“Playtime Extended at the Market”

Show: “Hip Pop” | Paintings by Los Angeles artist Catherine Kaleel, curated by Elliot V. Kotek

Review

“Playtime Extended at The Market”

At Groundwork in “The Market” in Santa Monica, Catherine Kaleel’s paintings invite us to play, allowing us to nostalgically gaze at retro ‘80s media and gaming memorabilia. Painted with Realism and to large-scale are the Speak and Spells, a purple Flanger guitar peddle, an orange Nintendo zipper gun, an Atari joystick, and hopelessly tangled TDK cassettes tapes. Kaleel even throws in D-Cell batteries. The backgrounds of the exposed woodsy-grained panels create a sense of an unfinished childhood. The realism is comforting and feels safe. These ‘80s games do not require childhood playmates or adult interaction. They are isolated in space and perhaps are stand-ins for playmates. The viewer doesn’t see two joysticks or zipper guns, just one of each.

Perhaps like me, you still have your Atari console and games. For me recollections are triggered of addictive playing and scoring high in Asteroids, beating the computer. But the details evoked are not as important as the emotions remembered. That feeling of triumph when beating the odds or reaching new limits are like the ‘80s, gone forever? Are these things truly obsolete? Could this be a metaphor for painting?

And what of those TDK blank cassettes eaten by the machine? How many hours did we spend fixing those tangled tapes and re-recording our favorite pop songs layer by layer! Saying perhaps that some memories are best forgotten, and some good times are irretrievable. Several cassettes appear in the show. Kaleel found a new use for them; the soft contoured brushwork is reminiscent of gestural loops and geo abstraction. Here Kaleel pokes fun at the desire for the past, even the glory days of painting.

— Charity Burnett, ArtMinute Press

All images copyrighted 2012

Artist Reception
Thursday May 3, 2012 | 5.30 p.m. – 8.30 p.m.

Location: across from Groundwork in “The Market
Address: 395 Santa Monica Place, 3rd Floor (opposite of the food court)
Parking: $5 | Lots of places to get coffee or food.
The exhibition runs through to June 18, 2012.

Artist website http://www.catherinekaleel.com

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