You can get a good sense of Jeff Sonhouse's prickly wit through the titles of some of his recent New York shows: "Pawnography," "The Panoptic Con." His first solo exhibition in L.A., at Martha Otero, carries a dark, dismissive title, "'Better Off Dead,' Said the Landlord," and hums with humor of a confrontational sort. The show amounts to a face-off between visitors and the outrageous, disarming characters in each of his six new painted portraits.
Who are these masked men? Each stares intently from behind a second skin that has more metaphoric potential than practical function.