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Santa Monica

Spanish artist Jose Maria Sicilla debuts here with a series of 12 untitled paintings. They are curious, tall, narrow uprights of identical size, either white-on-white or predominantly red. Heavily textured, they look like slabs of cave walls mottled with a waxy, translucent surface material. Each has an incised line or two--some right-angled, others wiggly as pieces of thread dropped by a Dadaist. Sometimes we seem to see a single incision suggesting the front silhouette of a woman’s body.

There is delicate seepage from the work, like fleeting thoughts not quite grasped. It is slow, sweet and shy but it does not seem like a solution simplified from a long siege of paring down. It feels like work not quite begun. (BlumHelman Gallery, 916 Colorado Ave., to N ov. 5.


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