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Julia Dault composes musical eruptions of color

Julia Dault explores a staple of children's art projects: the 'scratch-through' painting

In her first exhibition at China Art Objects, Julia Dault explores a staple of children’s art projects: the “scratch-through” painting. Her beautiful abstractions fairly burst with the excitement of discovering layers of brilliant color beneath matte coatings of black or white.

To achieve this effect, Dault lays down a gestural abstraction in bright, straight-out-of-the-tube colors and covers it over in white or black. She then pulls rubber combs, squeegees or other implements through the wet paint, forming hard-edged geometric shapes filled with less predictable spasms of color and gesture.

These shapes are often imbued with a joyous musicality, and the show is aptly titled “Rhythm Nation” (presumably after an old Janet Jackson tune). It evokes the mechanized beats of pop music that somehow manage to channel less mechanized emotions.

This tension between machine-like precision and more unruly impulses is also on display in the show’s single sculpture: sheets of standard-issue Formica and Plexiglas wrestled into layers of seductive curves. Leaning against a wall, it appears to be held together only with straps and string, as if it could fly apart at any moment. The same goes for Dault’s paintings as they toe the line between control and chaos, bursting at the seams.

China Art Objects Galleries, 6086 Comey Ave., L.A. (323) 965-2264, through June 7. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.international.la

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