De­signs on bling with a cheeky ring

Los Angeles Times - - CULTURE MONSTER - CHRISTO­PHER KNIGHT ART CRITIC christo­pher.knight@latimes.com

Four­teen new works by Luis Gis­pert of­fer art as the high-end col­lec­tor’s de­sign equiv­a­lent of a hip-hop artist’s gold chains. There are plenty of dif­fer­ent styles to flaunt and pa­rade — Fi­garo, rope, curb, Byzan­tine, her­ring­bone, bead and snake — each with in­trin­sic value in­flated by con­text. All of them sig­nify af­fil­i­a­tion with a posse.

At Ohwow Gallery, the New Jersey-born, Mi­ami­raised, Brook­lyn-based artist shows an ar­ray of lengthy gold chains em­bed­ded in what ap­pears to be thickly lay­ered slabs of as­phalt. (The heavy slabs are ac­tu­ally com­posed from small rocks painted or resin-coated in glis­ten­ing black.) The chains are pressed into the black­top, as if some hap­less squir­rel or ar­madillo squashed by a speed­ing car.

But this is not just any road­kill. Gis­pert’s glit­tery, golden chain de­signs re­call fa­mous paint­ings.

A dense tan­gle is an obvi- ous phras­ing from a Pol­lock drip-paint­ing. Thin, draped chains flow­ing down from the edges to­ward the bot­tom cen­ter sug­gest a Mor­ris Louis. A chunky in­ter­lace of loop­ing, lozenge-shaped forms traces the sug­ges­tive con­tours of a blue nude cutout by Matisse.

Lux­ury con­sumer goods gain­say so­cial re­bel­lious­ness. Gis­pert has been min­ing this con­tra­dic­tion, which is shared by art cul­ture and hiphop cul­ture, for more than a decade. Ti­tled “Aqua Regia” af­ter the acid mix­ture used to dis­solve gold, this show of sleek, cheeky, stylish works con­cen­trates the para­dox.

Ohwow Galler y

“DIP SET” is one of 14 gold chain-themed works in Luis Gis­pert’s new ex­hi­bi­tion, “Aqua Regia.”

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