Canvas work

Exciting Gallery Openings in Los Angeles to Visit This Month

Cara Benedetto’s exhibition at the Nigh Gallery uses popular television characters to unpack the relationship between fan and celebrity. (Alex Fulmer | Daily Trojan)

Spring has arrived and so has a whole new crop of art openings across Los Angeles. From Midcity to the Arts District, these openings feature new works in all types of mediums, from painting to screen printing to stained glass sculpture.

A gallery can be the perfect excuse to hang out or can even be a quick addition to spice up a date night. Here are some of the most exciting highlights of the LA art scene to see in April.

“I Love You” – Cara Benedetto at the Night Gallery

(April 2 – May 7)

Anyone familiar with stan culture will recognize the terrors of internet virality explored in Cara Benedetto’s “Love You.” Social media fan culture is at the forefront of the show, a series of mixed media works that satirize, honor and unpack the parasocial relationship between celebrities and their deadly hordes of loving fans. Benedetto’s favorite celebrities, including Mariah Carey, Angelina Jolie, and Zendaya and Hunter Schafer of “Euphoria,” are presented as hazy, eerie versions of themselves in his pieces.

These eerie deformed figures, created using canvas prints copied multiple times and outlined with oil paint, are reminiscent of the impossibly flawless version of celebrities built by their fans only to be quickly destroyed at the first sign of a human defect. Blending image and text to evoke Instagram captions or ad text, Benedetto’s work plays like a horror comedy poking fun at the dystopian nature of the public’s relationship with our icons. It’s a relationship poisoned by the toxic, deafening echo chamber of the internet.

“The Understudies” – Em Kettner at François Ghebaly

(April 2 – May 7)

In his second exhibition at François Ghebaly, Em Kettner draws inspiration from the most improbable of subjects: snails. At first glance, the unmistakable quirkiness of Kettner’s “The Understudies” may lead to the works being called trivial, or even worse, “cute.” However, beneath the picturesque veneer of each piece hides an absurd comedy questioning the violence of observation.

Kettner stages images featuring eager-eyed doctors subjecting snails to surgery in front of an onlooker audience on the surface of tiny 2-inch by 2-inch ceramic tiles. As with most works of art, these works are best experienced in person. The images do little justice to the tiny sketches, as the tiny size of each tile forces the viewer to lean in and create intimacy with the vignettes they are observing.

Within each scene, the theatrical operations that take place question the roles that society obliges the spectator to embody on a daily basis as performer and spectator. Especially on social media, everyone becomes the snail melting in the scorching spotlight, the doctor subjecting them to such intrusive attention or the audience just sitting back and enjoying the struggle.

“Magic, Mystery & Light of Tomorrow” – Derek Fordjour at David Kordansky

(March 26 – May 7)

Entering Derek Fordjour’s brilliant “Magic, Mystery & Legerdemain” is like falling under the illusory influence of a magic show. Magic informs Fourdjour’s work as a prism through which to look at the black diaspora’s relationship to the past.

The routine of a magic trick echoes the repetition of black cultural traditions throughout history, represented in the installation and sculptural collages through images of jazz performances, party favors and carnival parades. The newspaper appears as a motif in the exhibition, both materially and as a metaphor for history itself. It is spliced, painted and reconfigured in the figures of the paintings suggesting that identity is constructed from our ancestors and the cultural stories that precede us.

Don’t forget to catch Kenrick “ICE” McDonald’s live magical performance which repeats daily at 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, in the gallery space until the show’s climax on the 7 may.

“Recent sculpture” – Collective exhibition at Matthew Brown Los Angeles (April 2 – May 7)

Matthew Brown LA’s “Recent Sculpture” features 12 provocative works that represent exciting developments in the world of contemporary sculpture. Canadian artist Fin Simonetti contributes to a highlight of the show through “Gusset 5,” a menacing yet delicate stained glass bear trap cast in tones of baby blues and dark amber. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the show comes from its variety of materials and expressions. In stark contrast to the sinister sheen of “Gusset 5,” Patricia Ayres’ sculptures, two towering columns of stained tights, recall disembodied sections of the human form bound together by tightened elastic straps. The works in “Recent Sculpture” range from humorous to haunting, all that must be seen to be truly understood.

“West Coast Paintings” – Melissa Brown at Anat Ebgi Gallery (April 2 – May 7)

In her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, Melissa Brown portrays the current state of the world as a bad trip on acid, a perspective with which many agree. Forest fires, wind turbines and iPhones are painted in psychedelic gradations of millennial pink and acid green. Yet beneath the surface of the works’ vibrant colors groans a pain that is only seen during the exhibition’s most abstract moments.

In “Huntington Portal”, a unique coral-like skeleton stands in a surreal tiffany blue garden. However, upon closer inspection, a distraught and miserable face appears in the negative space of this sculpture, its mouth open almost in the middle of a cry. Brown combines screen printing, airbrushing and oil paints to present this West Coast vision that, in its troubled detachment from reality, strikes a little too close to home.