Sharon Mizota, Los Angeles Times, March 19, 2010

March 19, 2010 |  7:00 am


In an eclectic installation at See Line Gallery, Eamon O'Kane takes on the controversial story of Le Corbusier's admiration and eventual vandalism of fellow architect Eileen Gray's villa, E-1027, in the south of France. 

As a woman and a successful designer of modern furniture, Gray was a rarity in the 1920s, and E-1027, completed in 1929, marked her transition from furniture – a more suitably "feminine" profession – to the male-dominated field of architecture. By redrawing and intermingling images of her work and Le Corbusier's, O'Kane not only evokes their strange, intertwined history but momentarily levels the difference in their reputations. Le Corbusier is nearly a household name; Gray is far less well-known, but their furniture designs in particular are remarkably similar.

 By all accounts, Le Corbusier, who was about 10 years Gray's junior, thought very highly of her designs, especially the integrated layout and furnishings of E-1027. He visited on numerous occasions and eventually bought an adjacent piece of land on which he built an uncharacteristically rustic cabin. But after Gray moved away in the 1930s, Le Corbusier moved in against her wishes and painted a series of eight murals on the home's interior walls, an act Gray's biographer has described as a "rape."

Yet for all the story's scandal, O'Kane's response is markedly understated. He has lined the gallery walls with small drawings and paintings of both buildings and their furnishings, as if quietly cataloging evidence. Drawn from photographs found in books or on the Internet, a few images depict the offending murals, but most are isolated objects on small white or coffee-stained pieces of paper stuck casually to the wall.



– Sharon Mizota

See Line Gallery, 8687 Melrose Ave., Suite B274, West Hollywood, (917) 604-3114, through April 8. Closed Saturdays and Sundays. www.seelinegallery.com

Images: Le Cabanon, 2010 and E-1027, 2010. Courtesy of See Line Gallery.