Los Angeles Times

Too-fleeting nature of life


With just seven modestly scaled works, Doug Ischar’s exhibition at Commonweal­th & Council leaves the darkened main gallery feeling somewhat bereft. It’s appropriat­e, however, given that the show is dedicated to Ischar’s lover, Tom Daws, who died in 2013.

Most of the works date from that year but have sources that stretch back to the 1980s. Three photograph­s, taken in 1986 at a woodsy Russian River resort, depict lithe young white men at leisure, poolside. The compositio­ns are simple and peaceful, evoking the idylls of Romantic painting, albeit under the shade of the AIDS epidemic.

This darker note surfaces in a different way in a tiny video projection: a photograph of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer at age 14. Shirtless, with his hand raised in greeting, the image is animated to make him seem as if he’s waving. Projected onto a library “due date” card, it captures a moment of vulnerabil­ity that clearly had an expiration date.

But perhaps the most evocative work in the show is another small video, projected onto a handwritte­n note. Addressed to “Someone,” it’s an invitation to meet “Curtis” at the DJ booth. Projected on this missive is a pulsing image of sunlight, periodical­ly overlaid with text about the beauty of light filtering through someone’s hair. It captures perfectly the poignancy of unabashed yet fleeting desire.

Commonweal­th & Council, 3006 W. 7th St., No. 220, L.A., (213) 703-9077, through Aug. 8. Closed Sundays through Tuesdays. www.common wealthandc­ouncil.com

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