Barcelona-born painter Eugenia Tusquets, who has lived in San Francisco for the past nine years, has a coolly decorative neo-Realist approach and a fondness for sealing off space with an expanse of textured wall that seems quintessentially Spanish. Against these walls, she poses "interesting"-looking young women, either grave ivory-skinned damsels, generally dressed in black, or more individualistic, ethnic-looking faces.
A Moroccan fabric border runs across the top of "Alter Ego 2," in which a full-cheeked girl poses in profile at the lower edge of a painterly brown wall and reappears--in a faceless fragmentary view--at the extreme left-hand edge. In "Mi-Ombre," a swatch of painted green, yellow and brown pattern running up the right-hand side of the diptych matches the fabric in the dress worn by an attractive woman with long black hair posing against a bronze-tinged wall with a granular texture.
This figurative approach runs the risk of being too dependant on superficial values: the sweetened physical appeal of the sitters and the modish severity of their surroundings. But Tusquets also locates a certain theatricality in most of these scenes--mostly through posture and placement of the figure--and makes her mark as a personable stylist. (Ivey Gallery, 154 N. La Brea Ave., to March 29.)