Tom LaDuke - Los Angeles Times

Kohn Gallery celebrates Tom LaDuke's 'Candles and Lasers' exhibit

The event: Art patrons converged on the Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles on Friday to check out “Candles and Lasers,” artist Tom LaDuke’s solo exhibition at the sleek 12,000-square-foot venue. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a buffet supper followed at Jones Hollywood.

The scene: Gallery owner Michael Kohn relaxed into one of the restaurant’s classically retro leather banquettes, set against an exposed brick wall. Surveying the more than 150 guests ensconced in similar banquettes, or up and mingling throughout the restaurant, he recalled earlier days, when he had seated dinners for 10 after a show.

He said he chose a more easygoing approach on this occasion, partly to fit today’s more relaxed lifestyle and partly to be more inclusive of L.A.’s expanding art world. “The art world is growing exponentially,” Kohn said, noting the ever-increasing number of art collectors, consultants and artists in Los Angeles. “You want to be able to embrace them all.”

The crowd: Artists Joe Goode, Lita Albuquerque, Danny First, Liat Yossifor, Camille Rose Garcia and Alexandra Grant attended the opening, along with gallery clientele and LaDuke’s friends, followers and about-to-be-bride Jennifer Joseph. (They’ve set the date for May 2.) Actress Sharon Lawrence, producer Tony Cornelius of the Soul Train Music Awards and Kohn’s wife Caroline Styne, co-owner of “Lucques,” were also among familiar faces.

The artist: LaDuke said he took inspiration from the old masters, pointing to brightly colored, multi-layered abstracted artworks that referenced Caravaggio’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes,” Frans Syders’ “Concert of Birds” and Manet’s “Woman with a Parrot.”

“At least that’s a starting place,” he said of the old masters, “The rest of it is up to me to figure out what to do, and it ends up looking very little like [the original], unless you know the painting and it also rings a bell in you.”

The exhibition includes painting and sculptures and is scheduled to be on view through May 16.