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With these umbrellas, you might ask, 'Why save them for a rainy day?'

January 10, 2008|Shana Ting Lipton

IN Los Angeles, things are often not what they appear to be. Actors double as waiters, and a winter's day usually consists of sunny skies. What better locale for Quebec artist Diane Landry to present her unusual take on an everyday (yet rare in L.A.) object: the umbrella. In "Flying School," her first L.A. solo installation show, opening at SolwayJones Gallery on Saturday, the common umbrella gets a makeover and is re-envisioned as the star of a sound, light and movement piece.

Upon entering the space, one is greeted by a series of 24 colorful standing umbrellas, in the throes of a computer-generated opus of motion and sound. A motor-driven accordion at each umbrella's base exudes sound through synchronized pumping. Halogen lights shining up from their bases cast not rain clouds but flowery shadows of their rhythmic movement onto the ceiling. Think "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" for the Web 2.0 generation. Or, more poetically, "They open and close like human breathing," says Landry. "They die and come alive again."

Landry has been toying with lighting throughout her 20 years of creating installation work and performance art. "If you change the light, you can change the object," she says. About a decade ago, she added to the mix the crucial ingredients of sound and movement. Though her re-interpretive usage of objects -- salad spinners, dictionaries and bottles -- fits nicely with today's eco-friendly zeitgeist, she is reluctant to describe her work as recycled art. "It's recycling the meaning of the object," she says. "It's made with objects that you recognize but I play with new meaning."

Such is the case with the show's title: "Flying School" -- though not flying in the literal sense, but "flying away, flying to forget." The installation has flown all over the world. Conceived in 2000, it has been shown in gallery spaces in Pittsburgh and Houston, throughout Canada, in Europe, Australia and now L.A. -- just in time for the rainy season.

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'FLYING SCHOOL'

WHERE: SolwayJones Gallery, 5377 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; ends Feb. 16

PRICE: Free

INFO: (323) 937-7354; solwayjonesgallery.com

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theguide@latimes.com

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