A youngster during the mayhem of Nazi Germany, the late Hannelore Baron (who died last April) watched while her parents were beaten and hauled off. In a show of works from her final years, an introverted, wise-as-if-from-pain delicacy whispers through intimate collages and assemblages.
The collages are pristine compilations of frayed linen, aged rice paper and faded fabric covered with spindly puerile figures--a suited man, a little girl--and calligraphy so lightly inked that the art looks as if it's about to dematerialize. With its tiny scale, square-affixed-to-square format and child-like figures circumscribed by drawn boxes, Baron's work radios psychic and physical confinement. At the same time, a "language" of oddly lyrical marks and symbols skirt across and over edges, as if to reify a tenacious creative energy that defies personal and historical tragedy. Assemblages of aged wood, rusted nails coiled with string or tattered cloth are stained the deep maroon of dried blood or whitewashed to suggest resolution.
In a time of artistic pyrotechnics and hard sell, Baron's gift is to communicate intangibles with quiet force. These works exude the sad innocence of truncated childhood and the inner strength of knowing firsthand our potential for brutality and our equal capacity for healing. (Jack Rutberg, 357 N. La Brea Ave., to Dec. 31.)