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Review: Tacita Dean’s remarkable hand-drawn cloud prints at Gemini G.E.L.

"L.A. Exuberance 1," a lithograph by Tacita Dean, on display at Gemini G.E.L. (Gemini G.E.L.)

Tacita Dean has installed her exquisite new suite of 15 hand-drawn, three-color lithographs of wispy white clouds floating in bright blue skies high on the wall in the front room at the print studio Gemini G.E.L. No doubt the reason for the unusual hanging is to orient your view ever-so-slightly upward.

You crane you neck while looking at clouds and condensation trails, the better to day-dream.

However, Dean could just as easily have hung them lower than normal too. Like Monet’s paintings of lily ponds, which portray reflections of cloud-filled sky on water, they dissolve our comfortable expectations of what we see when we look at nature. These remarkable prints make the view topsy-turvy, confounding assumptions.

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They might at first look like photo-lithographs, simple snapshots turned into sleek prints; they are anything but. Dean devised a painterly print-technique, working with the studio’s incomparable resources, which are currently on abundant display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the 50-year anniversary show “The Serial Impulse at Gemini G.E.L.

Using spray chalk on Mylar, an elaborate process of positive and negative printing plates allowed for one to three layers of white clouds, up to six colors of surrounding blue skies and areas of bare paper to coexist. The result is a rich tactility for evanescent imagery.

Trained as a painter, Dean is best known as a filmmaker. Her luminous cloud and sky prints might be seen as an extrapolation of film: Light passing through an image brings it to life.

The British-born, formerly Berlin-based artist now lives in Los Angeles. She has titled this suite “L.A. Exuberance,” and her lush prints take their place within a powerful tradition of Light and Space art.

Tacita Dean, Gemini G.E.L., 8365 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. Through Oct. 14. (323) 651-0513, www.geminigel.com

christopher.knight@latimes.com

Twitter: @KnightLAT

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