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Nature at Odds

Artist creates surreal scenes with ecological messages in 'Land(e)scapes.'


Big, bold and surreal in an orderly way, Mark Brosmer's odd landscape paintings resonate in their current home, the Skylight Gallery at the Brand Library. Natural light filters through the windows and skylight into the wide, open space.

His images in "Land(e)scapes" embrace nature even as they keep an arm's length from it. He relies on a crisp painting style with debt to Magritte.

The cleverly perverse scenes barely make a pretense toward realism. The greens are extra green, the blues bluer than the sky visible through the gallery ceiling.

In many paintings, the terrain is fragmented into puzzle pieces as in "No Place Like Anywhere" and "Out of Town." In "Nightfall," the rumpled fabric of blue with white cumulous shapes suggests a nocturnal blanket laid out over the Earth.

Beyond the playful trompe l'oeil effects, ecological messages also arise. In "Land Development," the landscape has been cut into strips and developed past purity. "Advance Token" depicts a hunk of land superimposed over a Monopoly board that seems to ask, "What price real estate?"

With these and other works, subtlety is sometimes breached in the process. But it's a forgivable offense, especially in the development-pillaged landscape of Southern California.

At the Brand's Atrium Gallery, Eileen Shahbazian's sculptures in her exhibition "Origins" are created mostly from unpolished bronze adorned with other materials. They revel in metaphor and spatial manipulations and evoke an air of sensory and scientific experimentation.

In "Shavings," a series of glass tubes are filled with assorted remnants. Elsewhere, plants and blossoms in varying stages of decay are placed in containers, referring to age and time's passage.

We get an impression of new life being generated in "Foreboding" with an egg-like object passing through tubing, but the title seems to question the process.



"Land(e)scapes" and "Origins" through May 28 at the Brand Library Art Galleries, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale. Tuesday and Thursday, 1-9 p.m.; Wednesday, 1-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. (818) 548-2051.

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