High Energy Construct’s recent exhibition champions the unexpected potentials of colored pencils. Working in the underrepresented drawing medium, artists Dennis Koch and Claudia Nieto channel the psychedelic effervescence of 60s album covers while also referencing the geometric formalism of modern design. Koch’s drawings of multi-colored twin targets have a playful ritualism that seems like a hybrid between Jasper Johns‘ smart target paintings and Laylah Ali‘s idiosyncratically self-confident caricatures. They complement Nieto’s more narrative topographies, which seem to freely reinterpret nature’s most symbolic shapes – rivers, rainbows, mountains. Like most shows at High Energy, one of the newer galleries in LA’s Chinatown, new work shows that fine-tuned craftsmanship doesn’t have to be canonical or crippled by the austere history of modern art. Koch’s and Nieto’s work not only evidence diligent attention to finish but also evidence equally diligent attention to the exuberant, culturally-charged potentials of color and shape. While they have the classy expertise of any color field masterpiece, the drawings in new work also gauge the high energy allure of a rainbow colored parachute.
Claudia Nieto, who received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2006, previously displayed work at Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, and participated in a 2006 group show at High Energy Constructs. Dennis Koch studied political science and studio art at University of Iowa before moving to Los Angeles in 2006. This is his first show at High Energy. New work runs through August 2, 2008.