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ART / Ventura | SIGHTS

Diverse Talent

September 25, 1997|JOSEF WOODARD

Pamela Fong, whose first public one-person show is at the Thousand Oaks Community Gallery, is a California-bred Chinese American artist with interests spread over the divergent aspects of her heritage.

She is all over the map, stylistically and culturally, from studies of lotus blossoms to the Cubist-like "Three Vases." It's hard to get a fix on Fong's sociopolitical angle, if there is one. On the back wall of the gallery are several affectionate portraits of aristocracy in old Imperial China, as well as the simpler gleam of the portrait called "Poet."

With a few pieces, Fong unabashedly bows in tribute to other artists. "O'Keeffe Inspiration" revels in the surreal, and in the sensual folds and luminous presence of flowers, while the syncopated visual rhythms in "Miro on Venus" have an unapologetic debt to the Spanish Surrealist Joan Miro.

"Anachronism on the Yangtze" depicts junks on the water, but they are presented as elements in the overall visual scheme rather than in a realistic mode. The abstraction tendency continues in more recent work: "Website" has a sinister veneer--is it a commentary on life in cyberspace? One of the more distinctive works is "Patterns on the Grass," more nonrepresentational and design-driven than the others. You can see the evolutionary link to her earlier work.

Over its rambling course, this show presents an artist with a stubborn, diverse talent, searching for a style to call her own.

* Pamela Fong, through Sept. 28 at Thousand Oaks Community Gallery, 2331 Borchard Road in Thousand Oaks. Gallery hours: 1-5 p.m., Thursday-Sunday; 498-4390.

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