LA Weekly: Art
August 1-7, 2003

"Young Outsiders at Overtones"

....It's not as if The Art World is so hot at identifying its own raw talent either. Many of the best student artists I've seen over the last decade have dropped out from lack of response, while boring hacks with a line of shtick are promoted as geniuses. What a world. When I visited UCLA's Warner Studios this spring, I was surprised and delighted by the intricate collages of Elliott Hundley, made from thousands of tiny photographic fragments, bits of magazines, petals from plastic flowers, twist ties and god knows what else pushpin-mounted to elaborate structures and, in the case of one entire wall, to gnarly sheets of white Styrofoam. It really stuck with me. I felt a little anxious that Hundley might slip through the cracks, but I needn't have worried - the foam piece, which at the time was just his storage palette but in the interim has become a real artwork, entitled Deathless Aphrodite of the Spangled Mind, was the high point of "I Am Human, and I Deserve To Be Loved," a recently closed show at the upstart Overtones Gallery on Venice Boulevard in the shadow of the 405 freeway. Alongside Hundley's mammoth pincushion were works by two other current UCLA grad students. Amir Fallah, who publishes the high-gloss graffiti zine Beautiful/Decay, is a hip-hop synthesist of Persian extraction by way of Fairfax, Virginia, whose large-scale, brightly colored wall painting Tomorrow, Tonight, Tomorrow, Tonight, Tomorrow incorporates stickers, abstract shapes referencing Persian decorative motifs, and graffiti, layered with visual quotations from Western art history. Nathan Mabry, who took the long route from Napa by way of the Kansas City Art Institute, makes droll, idiosyncratic ceramic sculptures - including a realistic porcelain sloth and cast fast-food drinking cups wedged in a white picket fence - allegedly based on the erotic pottery of the pre-Columbian Moche civilization. One of his pieces sold, as did Hundley's foam monster. It's a nice surprise, and not as infrequent as you'd expect - The Art World getting something right.