Bergamot Station has changed drastically since I visited in 2010 after arriving to California to attend Claremont Graduate University for Studio Art. The historic, terminal site, dating to 1875 when it was a trolley stop on the Red Line to Santa Monica Pier, was originally a series of unbroken warehouse buildings. To make way for Metro, a whole row of buildings was shaved off the site, thus exposing the interior parking area and central green space to the street and pending commuter trains.
Through the transitions, many of the galleries have retained resilience. When I visited Craig Krull Gallery on a recent Saturday morning, it seemed quite natural that a candid photo shoot was taking place amongst Don Bachardy's vibrant, abstract paintings and seemingly honest, celebrity portraits. Mr. Krull made a point to emphasize that Bachardy's paintings and drawings are made from life--never from photographs. With a live photographer on hand capturing his model's likeness in an instant, I realized how fortunate Don is to be able to take his time with his sitters and to achieve a truer, 'secret knowledge' of their physical and psychological features and attributes that a photographer and we the viewers will never gain access.
Unlike the repetitiveness and over-saturation of the same recording artists year after year on awards shows, Don's promotion of his book "Hollywood" around various bookstores and galleries in L.A. and worldwide is generous and not tiresome. Go to any signing or opening like the one we hosted here at Art Catalogues and you will bear witness to Don's revealing stories of circular biographical trajectories that slow everyone down to his good mannered pace. It is impossible to push Don Bachardy off his stage to make way for the next short lived wonder. As a prolific artist and storyteller, Don is willing to give insight into his studio practice, life and society that is real and honest.
Sharing the gallery space, Randy West is a New York based artist whose exhibition at Krull is his first solo at the gallery. His room feels impeccably clean and austere. I want to live in it and with his art like a monk. West's art is so deceptively simple and monochromatic that the effortlessness points toward a powerful diligence that appears to have taken years to solidify. Hopefully West's decisive confidence to pursue such consistent applications of materials and forms will rub off on me.
Randy West Works on Paper
Craig Krull Gallery