Framed: Raw Materials Torn Up and Tied Back Together “In a Bow”

Joshua Aster’s new paintings add color to shadows

After L.A. artist Joshua Aster finished coating the linen surface of “In a Bow” with an olive green background, he really got to work. Having torn apart a common woven basket, Aster arranged its disheveled strands over the painting area, aimed a bright light at them and traced the shadows they cast on the canvas. He then breathed life into these outlined figures by coloring in their whirling forms, creating an irresistibly dense multi-chromatic network of what look like interconnected rubber bands or ribbons in rapid motion.

Basket strands served as the raw material for three of the capricious yet methodically composed paintings in Aster’s new show Innerverse, including the aptly named “Thicket,” but all the works on view were executed in the same manner. Many of the images are based on the shadows of cardboard and different disposable containers, while others incorporate pieces of various found or procured objects.

In each of these works the artist manipulates the placement of the shadows into a coherent structure of shapes ready to be painted. The results are strikingly varied in tone and texture, but the disjointed fragments in each painting all coalesce into integrated patterns that give no indication, but are inimitably the product, of their unique process of composition.

Aster’s Innerverse is one of two solo exhibitions by young UCLA MFA painters concurrently on view at the Edward Cella gallery. In Spencer Lewis’s Paint Object, large Abstract Expressionist and graffiti-influenced paintings hang alongside iPads with electronic paintings of the artist’s mother on her deathbed, created using the Brushes app, in a two-room installation.

Innerverse and Paint Object at Edward Cella Art+Architecture through March 1.