Rob Wynne's "Invisible Life," a 2009 print on canvas of a lush, tropical, radiantly idealized and somehow vaguely prehistoric landscape is quietly enlivened with a delicate shower of glitter. Its title is embroidered across the surface -- "invisible" written in the luminous sky, while "life" is down in the weeds.
The humble, homemade work takes its place in a long line of typically more bombastic American landscape meditations on the sacred and the profane, dating at least to Thomas Cole nearly two centuries ago. At Gavlak Gallery, Wynne, who is based in New York, shows more than three dozen drawings, sculptures and mixed-media works made since 1993 and notable for a winsome humility applied to large-scale themes.
Among the most compelling are wall reliefs made from poured and mirrored glass. "Wave," the largest of them at more than 8 feet high and 12 feet across, is an abstract cluster of scores of small, individual glass fragments in clear, watery blue and transparent green hues. They're scattered across the wall like drops of mercury smashed under a thumb, each shape held in place by a carefully applied screw, asserting its autonomy while participating in a larger choreography.
Wynne has a way with eccentric materials. (Lovely drawings of birds and insects made from embroidery thread and beads tediously stitched onto vellum are another fine example.) Focused labor is the work's poetic subtext – labor physically applied to an ephemeral arena of worldly contemplation.
Gavlak Gallery, 1034 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, (323) 467-5700, through Dec. 13. Closed Sun. and Mon. www.gavlakgallery.com