When I was young, I recall going to Burger King and getting a Rats Of Nymph storybook along with my fries. Were the fast food chain to resurrect their picture book/movie tie-ins for Walk The Line , they would likely turn to Levine, who created the acrylic images of Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and Bill Monroe (the father of bluegrass) for her children's book, Honky-Tonk Heroes & Hillbilly Angels: The Pioneers of Country and Western Music . Utilizing a kid's pallet of colors – mustard yellow, coal (miner's daughter) black, Arizona-sunset red – Levine constructs images that seem equally comfortable on a museum wall or taped to the fridge.
Perhaps utilizing her side project – Homer & Langley's Mystery Spot , an antique/junk/oddities shop Levine owns in New York – one of the artworks' most aw-shucks attributes is its vintage frames. Aware of their final resting place, Levine's paintings nestle perfectly in their prisons: bulbous clouds that float a Patsy Cline concert nicely with the arced wooden frame; Bill Monroe, surrounded by fitting shades of blue, sits under a sick oak in a graveyard, smiling up at a crescent moon. His tableau is captured in a porous timber, whose rough texture seems to allude to the artist's own depressed past.
The second half of the exhibit moves from songbirds to song birds: magpies, larks, cowbirds, bluebirds. However visually touching the paintings may be, and how thematically similar to their other half of the show, these avians, and their limited melodic pallet, cannot compete with their primate doppelgangers. The red-winged blackbird is content with a gurgling “oak-a- lee” the “Man in Black,” thankfully, was not.La Luz de Jesus Gallery is located at 4633 Hollywood Blvd., in Los Angeles. Gallery hours: Mon-Wed 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Thu-Sat 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun noon-6 p.m. For more information, call (323) 666-7667 or visit www.laluzdejesus.com