Landscape Visions


One of the finest art galleries in the Valley is a highly irregular, on-and-off-again space, but one well worth watching. Part of the problem might be the "day-job factor," a familiar phenomenon in an industry town where workers in a given field may have their hearts somewhere else.

By day, the Available Light Ltd. Gallery building, tucked on a side street in a Burbank industrial area, is a special-effects house, responsible for the visual whiz-bang of movies such as "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." But those artists and craftspeople seeking to show more personal, fine-art-oriented works took over a large, open room more than a year ago to create a gallery. Unfortunately, it was closed more than it was open.

Now comes the sequel--to borrow Hollywood parlance--with "Innerworks 98." The show is a happy pell-mell of works, with only the most tenuous curatorial glue matching one artist to another. It's no matter: The art is generally intriguing, and the space itself is one of those sprawling, comfortable places to let one's mind wander, an added bonus in a gallery.

If there is a running theme in the art here, it has to do with landscapes becoming abstractions, and vice versa. This strain varies widely. Rhoda Holabird's paintings are writ large, consuming one wall and making broad allusions to tree life and female nudes, but with massive forms and dripping pigment. These works capture a spirit rather than specifics.

Victoria Branch, on the other hand, shows small pastel-on-board works, again taking a dizzy course between abstraction and representation. "Creativity" depicts a mysterious vortex lined with serpents, a half-inviting, half-forbidding dimension.

Landscape references are more visible in Linda Jacobsen's paintings, except that she fills them with wavy contours and ice cream colors. And John D. LeMay's evocative landscapes, in his "Highwayscapes" series, are something else again: strangely poetic visions whose edges are blurry, as if viewed from a car window, or as a metaphor for the fuzzy continuum of reality.

In Kathy Frankel's large square pieces, fish are the recurring motif, emphatically highlighted against swarthy, richly textured backgrounds. Seen in series, the fish are of minimal interest, thus the art begs the aesthetic question: Which is more important, the figure or the background?

In the three-dimensional contingent, Mark Wooden shows sculptures in wood and metal, including ritualistic allusions in "Soul Catchers" and "God's Anvil." Carol Tannenbaum's assemblages combine lace, sticks and, in "Infinity," a loosely rendered figure with an egg and an animal collarbone.

The one photographer in the show, Aaron Landman, works far to the left of conventionality, in content and process. We find a few appealing examples of rather surreal photograms, images created without a negative and, as in "Dreams of a Desert Flower," looking like a compromise between chemical processing and a dream vision of nature.


"Innerworks 98," through Saturday at Available Light Ltd. Gallery, 1125 S. Flower St., Burbank. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; (818) 842-2109.

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