Different ways of looking at 'Skin'
Los Angeles Times (DATE) (AUTHOR)

"Skin," at Klapper Gallery, presents three longtime L.A. painters who approach the inexhaustible subject of the human body employing very different techniques.

Pierre Picot's flat, stylized, ink and charcoal drawings suggest fantastical diagrams of internal anatomy, or else bodies covered in elaborate tattoos.

Peter Liashkov's roughly life-sized depictions of nude figures are painted on a translucent fiberglass paper called Synskin and meant to be viewed from both sides. The most elaborate of these, "Lovers," depicts a male and female figure locked in an embrace. Because it has been painted on both sides of the paper, their bodies blend into each other, merging into one flat plane.

The most subtle and affecting of the show's works are the paintings by Harrison Storms. Working either on paper or on Masonite that he's coated with multiple layers of gesso and limestone sand, Storms begins with what is presumably a realistic depiction of a standing figure, then literally grinds the image away, leaving nothing but a raw, many-layered smudge that bears an unsettling resemblance to violently abraded skin.

The result is both elegant and unnerving and an evocative balance to Picot's formalism and Liashkov's sensuality.

As compelling, absorbing and rewarding as this human body can be, Storms seems to suggest, it's always a short step back to dust.

Klapper Gallery, 8759 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 652-6552, through Dec. 31. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Skin, Kaz Oshiro and Dan Douke
By Peter Frank, LA Weekly, Wednesday, December 27, 2006 - 12:00 pm

The three painter-draftsmen in "Skin," on view at Klapper Gallery, address themselves to the appearance of the human body, its sheath and fascade rather than its heft and volume. Peter Liashkov's renditions of more or less naked people play off his considerable academic skills, skewing toward expressionist distortion without losing anatomical propriety. Liashkov heightens his subjects' noble grit and grotesquery by rendering them on such pliable, translucent media as vellum and by drawing as much as painting them. Pierre Picot's more stylized approach to the epidermis concentrates on skin itself, rhapsodizing with elegant obsession on tattoos and mammalian curves. Soon enough, the person in the body disappears into the extravagant elaborations. The body itself nearly disappears in Harrison Storms' quiet, focused abstractions. At the heart of these paintings a brief network of lines reveals itself as a reduction of the human corpus to a few vertical and horizontal striations — and yet shivers with a more-than-ghostly presence.

Liashkov just enjoyed a small retrospective at a local school, as has Dan Douke. Douke's realism is very different from Liashkov's, relying on exacting technique and untraditional support structures to create a huge body of art that looks like much more ordinary stuff — flowers, steel panels, computer and toy packing. The resulting trompe-l'oeil hyperrealism at once fools and warms the eye as you gradually discern tiny inexactitudes. In his exhibit at Rosamund Felsen, Douke shows faux motor-oil cartons — nicely complementing the Toyota-truck tailgates his student Kaz Oshiro has likewise fabricated from, er, whole cloth and leaned against the wall. Oshiro's career is on the fast track thanks to his expansive installations aping things like guitar amps and kitchenettes, but he earns his accolades as much for his wit as for his verisimilitude. He's learned well.