Imagine Santa Barbara lagoons. Imagine them rendered in brushy black-and-white calligraphies a la Franz Kline and combined with the geometries of Barnett Newman, and you have a rough idea of Gregory Botts' recent paintings.
Botts sees nature as a dreamscape, half-way between representation and abstraction, so that traditional Romantic landscape cliches are broken down into dense gestural forests that verge on the all-over perspective of the New York School.
The geometric intrusions take the form of pale blue and orange horizontal bands, vertical purple stripes and jutting rectangles that take the form of background horizon lines or foreground "figures."
Exploring the figurative in the abstract and vice versa is nothing new, but Botts injects his works with such assured compositional sense and fluid paint handling that he seems to be constantly restating the case afresh. (Gallery 454 North, 454 N. Robertson Blvd., to Dec. 31.)