La Cienega Area

Kristina Hagman's "Dream Image" paintings drift from one quasi-shocking or would-be revelatory theme to another with awkwardly co-mingled passages of academic realism and unconvincing painterly shorthand. In "the Warehouse," a vaguely androgynous martyr figure is bound with the same white rope that wraps around stacks of yellowish boxes. "Cows in the Field" offers the sight of a nude man lying on the ground in fetal position among a herd of black-and-white bodiless swatches.

Other paintings serve up such sights as an exhibitionistic blonde reading in a bookstore window while dogs scratch about outside and a female couple in the bedroom keeping company with the Sunday paper and a print of Manet's "Dejeuner sur l'Herbe." These folks are all too superficially portrayed to be of psychological interest, and Hagman's typical mis-en-scene has few formal charms.

But there is one odd exception: "Together Alone," which looks rather like a Bloomsbury painting of the '30s. A couple sit at breakfast, their soft boiled eggs pushed aside, his T-shirt shielding a bony torso, her head flat on the table, circled by her arm like an image out of Courbet or late-teens Picasso. There is a stylized visual tension here that juices up a tired slice of life. (Jessica Darraby Gallery, 8214 Melrose Ave., to Feb. 20.)

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