'Art Imitates Art' by Fred Tieken.

Chinatown Arts District

September 17, 2018

In Los Angeles there is typically a flurry of art openings the weekend immediately following Labor Day. It is the ignition to a new art season after the phlegmatic slumber of summer. I dropped by the formidable Tieken Gallery to catch a glimpse of the old and new.


First we had a collection of art from one of my favorite Los Angeles artists, Barry Gordon, showcasing his quintessential style. This style is vividly captured with his California Bird/Series and what he describes in general as “figurative surreal abstractionism”. It is a bold and unflinching use of color with a welcoming embrace of playful contrasts of the color wheel. Yet Mr. Gordon elevates this intense candor of imaginative luminosity, which might be sufficient as experimental ploys, by imbuing intelligent form to the colors of the rainbow. It is here, this “intelligent design”, that comprises his figurativeness, helping masterfully condense the unintelligibly abstract into something a bit more legibly coherent. And it is this coherence which furthers the aesthetic by making the intense beauty less quizzical and more universally accessible. Mr. Gordon’s artworks support the thesis of my essay On the Necessity of Color in the Fine Arts, and are consummately high artworks for the base reason of their unequivocal life affirmation brought by the wondrous intensity to the subjective viewer.


But Mr. Fred Tieken, another artist I have reviewed, answered in his own cherubically cheeky style! In the same gallery no less! For Mr. Tieken exhibited art which can be considered progressive in his evolution as an artist, experimenting with mixed media and therefore space. This is no doubt a sign of higher conscientiousness by the artist, to, as best as he can, imbue physical reality with meaning. The artwork is no longer an art object, but an art presence. While this aim can be seen analogously with other artists who begin penetrating our concept of space – most triumphantly by Jordi Alcaraz – Mr. Tieken does so his way; comedically and profanely absurd.


His and Hers is a striking satire on the self-centered, pseudo-solipsistic, age we live in. The paradox of living in this age stems basically from a society of loveless bounty. For with love, there is the subtext of gratitude, and even further ulteriorly a willing price to pay in providing the act of gratefulness to the beloved. This price can be thought of as compromise, yet in such an overabundant society, compromise can be discarded the moment it is affordable to. It is a commentary, then, on displacement and the alienation of humanity with each other, all for the sake of convenience. The price of love becomes unaffordable at any price because of the onerous installment on the human condition. Disunity becomes ever present and ever granular – even to his and her restrooms.



Subscribe to our mailing list

Latest Reviews