Ron Rizk's painting is an eye-fool. Actually it's not. He produced a baker's dozen of small panels that have all the characteristics of old trompe l'oeil pictures by John Haberle--shallow wooden shelves showing delicate grain and peeling paint and populated with the kinds of cherished toys and memorabilia that nobody takes the trouble to paint anymore; they just stick the real thing into their collage and assemblage.
Rizk renders it all with the care of a cloistered monk, but it never fools the eye from the minute you walk into the gallery, almost as if he didn't want it to. Everything about the pictures includes a similar sense of planned failure and disappointment. A brave wooden soldier in a fur toque marches briskly toward a booby trap. Nostalgia is neutralized by violence. A monster in the cupboard turns out to be a toy alligator. Violence is neutralized by absurdity. A jester appears in one picture hating his weak chin but only makes up for it by growing a beak in the next picture. Absurdity is diluted by perversity.
Joseph Cornell could turn a glass marble into a poetic planet. Rizk can turn the moon into a dog-chewed rubber ball. Realism defeats idealism. The paintings are beautiful in their loving rendering, repellent in their sour realism. (Ovsey Gallery, 126 N. La Brea Ave., to Dec. 31.)