Review: Osvaldo Trujillo’s ‘Ancient Future’ a dreamy excursion

Optimism and nostalgia cross paths in Osvaldo Trujillo’s pleasantly melancholic paintings at CB1 Gallery.

Titled “Ancient Future,” the L.A. artist’s exhibition of 11 intimately scaled oils on panel forges an alliance between less-is-more Modernism and everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink Realism to suggest that the soft side of Surrealism is alive and well and a whole lot more captivating than the aggressively sexualized shock tactics of its earlier versions.

Trujillo is a dreamer who paints like a realist who knows that emotional resonance is more important than exact transcription. Futuristic ruins appear in many of his poetic pictures, whose landscapes have the schematic simplicity of Minimalist stage sets or kids’ coloring books.


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Elaborate mandalas are featured in two paintings, one a black-and-white dazzler that forms an ornate network of organic curves and swirls, the other a purple, orange and pink confection that adds hard-edged geometry to the mix.

Other images recall newspaper photographs of ordinary things made mysterious because their captions are missing.

Although all of Trujillo’s works hold up on their own, each is even more compelling when surrounded by its neighbors. Like people, paintings that play well with others are more likely to get their messages out.

CB1 Gallery, 207 W. 5th St., (213) 806-7889, through Aug. 18. Closed Mon.-Tues.