Reviews by David Pagel (D.P.). Compiled by Grace Krilanovich.
Tim Ebner Abstract paintings come in all sizes but not many shapes. That’s because if a painter wants to be taken seriously, he’s expected to stick to the regular format, squares and rectangles, throwing in an occasional circle or oval when he wants to get wild. Ebner has never taken seriousness too seriously. His terrifically eccentric paintings, all shaped like exotic fish, delight in the discoveries of going off the deep end. Adorned with feathers, beads and baubles, they invite the imagination to swim freely. Rosamund Felsen Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; ends Sat. (310) 828-8488.
Michele O’Marah: A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do Over the last half-decade, a new genre of art has emerged: videos that would look better on YouTube than in galleries. Before then, this category was occupied by art that would be better as a book than as an exhibition. O’Marah’s raucous yet unsatisfying exhibition has one foot firmly planted in each of these genres. Her three video vignettes are tongue-in-cheek send-ups that would be just as engaging on small monitors. The main source she draws on, a 1996 film starring Pamela Anderson, would be better explored in an essay. O’Marah’s installation lacks purpose and direction. Kathryn Brennan Gallery @ Cottage Home, 410 Cottage Home St., L.A.; ends Sat. (213) 628-7000.
Allison Schulnik: Home for Hobo The cast of characters in Schulnik’s messy paintings comes from society’s underbelly: hobos, clowns, losers and vermin. Such out-of-luck figures have been favored subjects by artists for several centuries, forming the core of much gritty Realism, dreamy Romanticism and angst-addled Expressionism. Schulnik is at her best when her gooey paintings tap into that history without coming off as mannered rehashes: perfectly competent compositions that hit all the right notes but do not make their own music. It’s a tough task, and the young L.A. artist manages it admirably in her second solo show in Los Angeles, where the hits outnumber the misses. Mark Moore Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; ends Sat. (310) 453-3031.
Group Show: The Last Plastics Show Karl Marx famously said that history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce. He might have thought differently if he’d had a chance to see “The Last Plastics Show,” an absorbing exhibition that features overlooked works by 15 of the 24 artists in the original 1972 version of the show, which was held at CalArts and organized by Judy Chicago, Doug Edge and DeWain Valentine. The current rendition is a timely eye-opener: It makes us mindful of how densely textured the present is before it gets streamlined and simplified and turned into history. Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary Art, 8568 Washington Blvd., Culver City. Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; ends Feb. 13. (310) 815-1100.