Dean Levin: XTC

Dean Levin’s solo exhibition XTC at Kohn Gallery, the artist’s first in Los Angeles, presents a refined iteration of Levin’s ongoing investigation into space, perception, and architecture. At once conceptually utilizing and physically inhabiting the gallery space, the works on view offer discrete moments of architectural deconstruction and reconfiguration, prompting the viewer to objectively consider the space itself, while maintaining a subjective engagement with the resultant products of Levin’s investigatory gesture. Made up of three separate sculptural “vignettes” demarcated by discrete swaths of carpet on the gallery floor, the exhibition can be viewed as an experiential installation whose totality is more than the sum of its various formal parts. 

The artist’s serial practice comprises individual but inter-related and ever-evolving projects, three of which are seen here in new and developed forms. Levin’s mirror diptychs – mirrored panels printed with enlarged hand-drawn grids paired with monochrome canvases – are now expanded into multiplied groupings which can be presented in myriad configurations, the centerpiece of which is the 4-part, freestanding “X” one encounters upon entrance into the gallery. The three configurations on view are based on various architectural aspects of the space itself, as seen in the gallery’s  aerial floor plan. The three new wooden line sculptures presented in relation to these sculptures are similarly enlarged iterations from already-existent plans, in this case the imperfect lines seen on the mirrored panels – the human hand of the artist, blown up, scrutinized and embodied in three dimensions. Specifically presented in conjunction with their particular source material, these works emphasize the tension between the man- and machine-made, specifically what is both lost and found in their translation. Levin’s 5-part convex paintings – a totemic new version of his original diptychs – are seen here together for the first time, punctuating each discrete sculptural moment with their sensuous and ominous presence, which is reflected throughout as one moves through Levin's carefully crafted scenes. 

As a guide to this project, an additional presentation of schematic paintings will be installed in an adjacent gallery. Here, Levin reveals the modular essence of the works on view next door. Mapping alternative layouts of the exhibition, a series of ten new Diagram paintings suggest the rich potential of the unrealized and aestheticize the conceptual fruition of the show. Two new Archive paintings, created with the studio materials leftover from the making of the exhibition, similarly offer a physical record of its realization by providing a document of its very matter.