Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory
I went up to San Francisco last week and saw the luxuriously spacious Vija Celmins exhibition curated by Gary Garrels. Celmins, an acclaimed Latvian-American artist, came to LA in the mid-1960s and worked in Venice Beach, making surreal paintings, drawings and sculptures that are at once elegantly understated and maniacally intense.
Humbly scaled and presented with zero flash, Celmins graphite drawings of horizonless Pacific Ocean wake reward prolonged viewing with the gift of pure, sublime beauty. Although Celmins later moved to New York, her decades spent in Los Angeles are felt throughout a body of work that’s always cool, sometimes noir, and never shy to be just a little bit Pop.