See Ellsworth Kelly's Inaugural Show at the New Matthew Marks L.A.

An installation view of Ellsworth Kelly's "Los Angeles" at Matthew Marks, LA
(Courtesy the Artist and Matthew Marks, LA)

WHAT: Ellsworth Kelly’s “Los Angeles”

WHEN: January 20 - April 4, 2012

WHERE: Matthew Marks Gallery, 1062 North Orange Grove, Los Angeles

WHY THIS SHOW MATTERS: Matthew Marks had the best week ever as he unwrapped two huge gifts sitting under his proverbial tree, on the same day: a brand new Los Angeles gallery, and a highly anticipated exhibition of new and historical works by legendary hard edge painter Ellsworth Kelly, housed inside. Both had their openings last night.


The new building itself is notable: its façade is adorned with a one-of-a-kind, site-specific Kelly sculpture, which is fashioned after two of his signature works, “Study for Black and White Panels” (1954) and “Black Over White” (1966). While the piece inspires awe on its own, it is also meant to considered as an integral part of the architecture.

As for the exhibition inside, it consists of six simple, high-definition, highlighter-colored paintings. Working with layered canvases, the artist creates works that feature mathematically precise curves, slicing away at the space of the rectangular surface underneath. The result is a tension not just in the physics of the flat plane, but also the color combinations. Cerulean blue swoops over Halloween orange and road-sign yellow hangs over a sterile white. The show comes full circle from the preludes to Kelly’s sculpture seen in earlier works like “Study for ‘Black over White’” (1965) and “Black over White” (1952). The later, for its part, is a funny addition to this show — in contrast to the immense 40-foot tall sculpture on the exterior, it measures just barely the size of an index card. Kelly gives back to Los Angeles full force in this double feature show.

To see featured artworks as well as the façade of Matthew Marks Los Angeles click the slide show