Japanese artist Hiromi Katayama creates wall collages and hanging screens combining fine, tissuelike paper, etching ink and durable metals such as stainless steel. The results contrast the fragility of the paper with the hard-edge properties of the inlaid metals, also playing off geometric shapes against calligraphy and surface washes.
Katayama explores the role of traditional techniques within the context of modern Western aesthetics. She prefers to stress their incompatibilities, creating tensions that are never resolved.
She also opts for easy compositional distillations whereby seeming order and randomness are homogenized into benign abstractions that come dangerously close to designer decor. Cultural dichotomies that one might expect to produce a cutting formal edge have been smoothed out into lyrically integrated hybrids. Here is a case where a promising concept lacks the courage of its own convictions. (April Sgro-Riddle Gallery, 836 N. La Brea Ave., to Nov. 4.)