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Valley Life | art review

Reality With a Twist

October 20, 2000|JOSEF WOODARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

To find the best space in the San Fernando Valley to sink into artistic reverie, head to Glendale's Brand Library, where in the Skylight Gallery, art exists in a safe sky-lit haven.

Arlene Waxman's current show, "Transformations," takes advantage of the wide-open space and skylight atmosphere, dignifying and transforming the commonplace materials of industrial discards into art.

Although her work involves a salvage operation, she doesn't let junk be junk. Instead, she paints hunks of metal bright colors and twists them into new shapes. Sometimes, the work reminds us of Jean Tinguely's cockeyed inventions, also from recycled materials.

Waxman's sculptures on the gallery floor are weird, happy occasions.

"Lollipop" conveys pure joy, only lightly spiced with irony, and "Large Firestorm Flower #3" has gangly green tendrils protecting a knotty clump of yellow metal netting. These pieces have a bold physical presence, but they also are flecked with levity. Call it gravity-defying art.

The sculptures are complemented by paintings on the wall, full of splatters, drips and little exuberant explosions of color. Abstraction isn't always about angst, they remind us, but also jubilation.

Film spools and jagged-edged metal bands are dressed up with cheery layers of paint and granted new life in the domain of art.

It might as well be spring in the Brand Galleries, so lighthearted is the art here.

Roxene Rockwell, whose work was seen recently at the Century Gallery, projects her own kind of bubbly reality-twisting vision, but with a wink instead of a scowl. Her fastidious collage pieces lining the Brand's Atrium Gallery offer further proof of her distinctive, gently surreal way with the collage medium.

In this show, called "Eccentric Nature," fruits tend to be extra vivid in color, abundant and airborne, as in the pieces called "Oranges" and "Apples." "Garden Salad" blends imagery of a salad, a garden, an urban skyline and a starry, starry night into a blithe compositional medley.

As with Waxman's work, Rockwell's sometimes explodes into 3-D. A few resin-coated collages combine traditional collage with the assemblage technique of incorporating real-life objects, such as cherries and tree bark in the charming "Cherry Bombs."

Generally speaking, there's a whole lot of ingenuous transformation going on at the Brand.

BE THERE

Arlene Waxman, "Transformations," Roxene Rockwell, "Eccentric Nature," through Oct. 21 at the Brand Library, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale. Gallery hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 1-9 p.m.; Wednesday, 1-6 p.m.; and Friday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. (818) 548-2051.

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