Celeste Rapone; Lenz Geerk

Celeste Rapone; Lenz Geerk

In tandem shows at Roberts Projects, two figurative painters’ allusions to contemporary anomie are animated by skeptical drollness. Celeste Rapone‘s bloated female protagonists contort and distend as though awkwardly striving to fill the expansive canvases they occupy. Their generic faces bear expressions of anxiety and confusion as they multitask at chores, work, leisure, art, consumption and exercise; meanwhile, their bodies and backgrounds are accessorized by ostentatiously branded mundane items that little ease their ennui. The figure in Angel (all works 2019) teeters on a tightrope—but no matter, she remains trendy in her paint-splattered workout wear, Kandi anklet and iridescent silver Victoria’s Secret fanny pack. Managing at Sports Clips (pictured above) mocks the incongruous sexualization of women in some professional sectors; sporting a gold charm bracelet over a therapeutic wrist brace, a high-heeled barber costumed as a referee clasps her client’s head as she razors his hair. In the smaller gallery, Lenz Geerk‘s five paintings exude a bleak mood that belies subtle comedy. Croissant portrays a woman peering apprehensively at a pastry as though it were a sentient being; while on the opposite wall, the titular baked good in The Croissant appears as the fulcrum of tension between two disgruntled people. There is ludicrousness in so much being made over a single pastry—but aren’t many mortal conflicts derived from such transient trifles?

 

Roberts Projects
5801 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA  90232
Shows run through Oct. 12