LA CIENEGA AREA

Neda Al-Hilali is one of a handful of artists to successfully make the leap from fiber art to fine art. She didn't give up weaving for painting; that would have been too easy. Instead she has carried a fiber artist's sensibility and technical mastery into exploring a boggling array of materials.

The latest group of "paintings" is assembled of painted or patinated metal modules, most of which suggest vegetation. Two handsome copper works with a green patina are like symmetrical sweeps of long grass, silky, wavy and exquisitely subtle. Some big baroque splashes could be profusions of flowers in a tropical garden, while other pieces put you in mind of leafy tree branches or clumps of colored grasses. Still others depend upon richly varied repetition for their allusions to nature.

Throughout the show Al-Hilali pulls order from what could be chaos. After painting multicolored patterns on sheet aluminum, she cuts the metal into arcs and triangles, sometimes cutting into those shapes and curling them, other times organizing them into everything from cornucopias to flat fields of zigzags. It wasn't for nothing that she once made tight little macrame wall hangings--or that she fled that constraint without abandoning its discipline. (Hunsaker/Schlesinger Gallery, 812 N. La Cienega Blvd., to Jan. 17.)

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