Painter Susan Clover is one of the reigning queens of the Southern California beach scene, the world of engaging, innocently sexy, tousle-haired kids chatting and splashing and squinting into the sun. As straightforward as candid photographs (on which they are based), these images are propelled by the artist's technical finesse and strong feeling for sensual detail.
Her meticulous yet freely brushed brand of realism pins down the feeling of wind, the taste of salt air and the texture of frothy surf as well as the private world--and eccentric sartorial taste--of teen-agers.
Alongside the adolescent fun 'n' sun stuff, a few images dwell on the theme of the solitary figure at the seashore. In one, a middle-aged woman sitting with her back to the viewer wears a red bathing suit that hikes up on one buttock as she puts on a tennis shoe. In another, two figures, one turned away, the other bending down to poke at something on the sand, evoke the reflective calm of twilight at the ocean's edge. Yes, it's a hackneyed theme, but Clover's quiet persuasiveness and effortless attention to detail matter more. (Orlando Gallery, 14553 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, to June 30.)