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Santa Monica

We’ve had Neo-Ex and Neo-Geo; why not some hybrid straddling the fence between vague figuration and stark abstraction that could be called Neo-Modern and teach us absolutely nothing “neo.” That is basically what is going on with two artists who make appealing intimate-scaled abstract arrangements of suggestive shapes held in check by monochromatic fields. New Yorker David MacKenzie floats eccentric, taut shapes like wedges or squares- within-squares on variegated, frothy expanses. Hued in rich if subdued tones of avocado green, lemon and wheat yellows and beige-blues, the small works look like bits of erector sets careening weightless in space.

Perry House’s objects are actually taken from life. On white, chalky depths he isolates bits of ornament, furniture and strange tool-like fragments. Painted subtle, dark slate grays, objects still manage, within this limited chromatic range, to give convincing cues to depth and density. Set against wide vertical or horizontal bands of paint (or affixed silver tape), they set up a too-familiar tension between spatial illusion and literal depth, between the artifice of the painted concept and the tangible presence of paint. (Angles, 2230 Main St., to March 17.)


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