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ART REVIEW : The Unpredictable Patterns of Kymber Holt's Paintings

October 21, 1995|DAVID PAGEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Kymber Holt's paintings at AMO Gallery look like wallpaper gone wrong. Too irregular to make it to a factory-seconds outlet, her mesmerizing oils-on-panel appear to have been printed by an out-of-whack machine. In the process of looking at them, neat repetition gives way to uneasy beauty.

Idiosyncratic floral patterns stop and start with no respect for edges, often overlapping other designs to form delicately detailed layers. Decorative flourishes lack standardization--thinning out, disappearing and occasionally beginning again, sometimes with greater density. Your mind gets lost as your eyes try to follow Holt's frilly labyrinths of interwoven stems, tendrils, leaves, spores and flowers, among other hidden (or hallucinatory) images.

Impeccably hand-painted, the panels' exquisite surfaces foreground devotion. Clearly labors of love, Holt's three large paintings entice you to invest them with only a fraction of the attention that was lavished upon their making.

At the same time, Holt's works never suggest that their fantastic patterns should be traced back to the artist's masterful hand. Coolly impersonal in their fastidious craftsmanship, the only heat these generous images generate is between their surfaces and their viewers, inviting the same sort of eccentricity that takes place within the paintings' unpredictable compositions.

* AMO Gallery, 1618 Silverlake Blvd., (213) 665-6319, through Wednesday. Closed Sunday through Tuesday.

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