Back in the late '40s when an outraged press called Jackson Pollock "Jack the Dripper," no one imagined that the free-form school he reluctantly founded would send stylistic tentacles well into the late '80s. The spirit if not the letter of Abstract Expressionism is alive and well in the work of painter Marlene Capell. Capell slathers broad, bold areas of paint in mostly cool blues, purples, teals and icy beiges into well-balanced compositions that look topographical, as if inspired by landscape or objective reality but changed into gesture for gesture's sake as the artist loses herself in the dance of painting.
Capell mixes sand into her pigments selectively, giving sections of her surface a grainy, dry-brushed look that lets glossier under-painting in sharper counterpointed colors poke through. As a last touch, wisps of charcoal are set down over paint in quick, sweeping marks. In true New York School form, Capell tells us she's interested in process and in the self discovery that spontaneous gesture allows. The look and mystique of this style was risky business back in the Cedar Bar days. Today it all looks a little dated. (Artspace, 10550 Santa Monica Blvd., to July 22.)