Ida Ekblad at Karma International, Los Angeles

Ida Ekblad

RICH POOLS OF pure color and California sun–ravaged fragments are the backbone of Ekblad’s latest exhibition. Wooden panels, resembling wall cutouts from a 1970s den, are mounted with a playful array of Plexiglas-protected decorated T-shirts, Puffy-painted fabric, watercolors, and collages. In the lushly saturated This puppy, that missus, the mutt (all works 2015), a quilt of watercolor scraps and whimsical childlike renderings of creatures floats above a white T-shirt, color- blocked and soaked in crayon-green paint. A whimsical pink octopus shares a page with a smiling vase on a background of neon-yellow scribbles resembling the fluorescent forms of boxed macaroni and cheese. The lyrical titles and a poem written by the artist, which serves as the show’s statement, would perhaps best be contemplated and debated while sitting in one of four green armchairs absurdly pressed flush against each other into a neat square off to the side.

Wrought iron, in various stages of wreckage, gives some structure to the space. Madam is fucking Madame, Sir, the titular centerpiece, is an intersection of metal planes in black, white, and gray, all rashed with rust. Scrolls of formerly pristine white vines and leaves meet a black fence that recalls prison bars, at several points in cross section. Adjacent sculptures She pictures sorceror mickey doing his magic with Molly helping out and this is what happenes when I don’t go right to sleep provide a metal skeleton for draping limp scraps decorated with cheerful cartoon characters sketched in Puffy paint. A lonely, dwindling bicycle frame, This to say needless lead but it may not only for, balances on its handlebars.

The artist originally made sculptures and works on paper for “Madam” in her Oslo studio. A number
of them never cleared customs at LAX, so she arrived without them just days before the show was
to open. She went to a junkyard and gathered enough material to make most of what
is on view. Working in situ in such a fervor resulted in a delicate, wild constellation, spindly and precarious, captured well in the title for what must have been the final piece constructed: an unstable stack of stools, crowned by a ceiling-scraping vertical length of black gridded wire, named And after that she ZZzleeepy. —Jennifer Piejko

Modern Painters, November 2015

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