Wood is the hook between tandem shows of paintings by John Rose and constructions by George di Marco. Rose uses weathered, square beams to partially frame paintings on canvas, to suggest windows and doors and to provide a material counterpoint to thick, dark paint. His romantic sensibility has produced pieces with such suggestive titles as "Eternal Parent Wrapped in Her Invisible Robes," a portal-like painting in which a vertical rush of pigment is supported by two beams that rise from the floor. In a couple of works called "Adagio," straight and wavy-edged strips of wood become part of moody abstractions with churning movement emulating stormy skies.
Rose's work is rooted in Abstract Expressionism and 19th-Century romantic landscapes, but it dips into nostalgic use of found materials as well as contemporary mergers of painting and sculpture. His art is solid but self-consciously serious painting that tends to be too ponderous for its own good.
Di Marco appears as more sculptor than painter. He draws with a router, building layered wall pieces of incised and splintered plywood, then covering them with translucent colored wax. Results are craggy, irregular panels often centering around skeletal fish shapes. Pieces range from relatively flat and lifeless design to richly expressive sculptural forms;the application of wax goes all the way from subtly changing the color and texture of wood to nearly burying the art.
Di Marco is a young artist who is clearly on to something and is trying out possibilities with varying degrees of success. He hits his stride most surely in such relatively small, high-relief pieces as "Bench Valley" and "North Fork." Here, neither subject matter nor material predominates;they merge in evocative form. (Space Gallery, 6015 Santa Monica Blvd., to March 30.)