Guy Diehl's painted world is a pristine place where fruits and vegetables look as if they've been scouted for a magazine layout, single flowers sit primly in drinking glasses and an egg balances with absurd gravity between the pages of an opened book.
Rendered painstakingly in acrylic or watercolor, these little still lifes have an over-refined, airless quality. Although one dramatically shadowed grouping of lemons on a snowy tablecloth vaguely suggests the work of a Cotan or a Zurbaran, the other images are blandly lit and arranged by dead formula.
While another painter might explore the slight, viscous film at the rim of a glass of milk, for example, Diehl views the object from a polite distance that reveals nothing we didn't already know.
His approach finds its best outlet in arrangements of printed matter (books, newspapers) and a glimpse of oddly anthropomorphic pliers, where a flicker of wit and formal qualities rise above a pervasive yuppie fastidiousness. (Hunsaker/Schlesinger Associates, 812 N. La Cienega Blvd., to Sept. 30.)