Renée Lotenero's works occupy an in-between space. They're piles of rubble creating something new as sculpture, while at the same time still remnants of something that used to be. They're photographs of tiles that once lined a floor or wall, digital replicas of these missing pieces that are now there, but still not there. A wall installation can be seen as the epitome of this impermanence -- it's a piece that occupies the space now, only to come down once the exhibition ends.
It's fitting then that the Los Angeles artist's show of new works at Peveto Gallery is titled "Structural Impermanence." The exhibition, the second here for Lotenero after her Houston debut five years ago at McClain Gallery, is chock full of new ideas and directions for the artist. Along with her trademark drawings and sculptures, there are some firsts -- photography, collage and installation -- and they all have another thing in common -- repetition.
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In the wall installation The Back of a sculpture, the photograph of, yes, the back of a sculpture, which Lotenero had made four years ago, is used over and over again, printed at various sizes. It stretches out across the wall like the branches of a tree, as if organic. The artist's collages use a similar photographic effect, piling mounds of the same image over and over again into a slope. You'll have to get up close to the images to even realize that they're constructed in this manner, like a mountain of a deck of cards. In four photographs, Lotenero documents site-specific work she's done with tile. Their use isn't really functional; the images of the tile are like viruses, invading kitchens, a family room and a front yard. This artwork is playfully alive.
Among all these new experiments in medium, one element is still crucial to the artist -- scale. This is no clearer than in the sculpture Remnants of a small building with a new fig path installed, a piece of stainless steel surrounded by photographs of a repeated image. The ankle-high sculpture is comically small. It looks like an afterthought, as if it's not even supposed to be there. But there's as much going on here as in her giant wall installation, once you come down to its level.
"Structural Impermanence: New Works by Renée Lotenero" at Peveto Gallery, 2627 Colquitt Street, runs now through December 15. For more information, call 713-360-7098 or visit www.peveto.org.