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November 22, 2009

Reviews by Christopher Knight (C.K.) and Leah Ollman (L.O.). Compiled by Grace Krilanovich.

Critics' Choices

William Powhida: No One Here Gets Out Alive The artist's savagely funny work takes the form of drawing, painting, film and installation, but it is essentially an all-embracing performance, one that sustains pitch-perfect tone throughout. Powhida has made himself a character in an ongoing parody of the life of an aspiring artist. In his fabulous trompe l'oeil paintings of lists and letters (updated variants on the social satire of Daumier and Hogarth), Powhida riffs brilliantly, anxiously, on the contemporary art world (L.O.). Charlie James Gallery, 975 Chung King Road, L.A. Noon-6 p.m., Wed.-Sun.; ends Dec. 5. (213) 687-0844.


Lorser Feitelson: The Late Paintings In graphic design, the colloquial term for lines that come together and just barely (or don't quite) touch is "to kiss." Lorser Feitelson's sensuous abstract curves likewise possess an inescapably titillating charge. Some paintings (although none in this show) harness distinctive color juxtapositions, such as red and green or orange and blue, to create an optical spark. Two small works -- many of the rest are 5 feet square -- from 1976 even fuse shapes that are phallic and vulval. But the sparks set off in Feitelson's abstractions are also reminiscent of more generalized ideas of creation, like the one implied between the nearly touching fingers of God and Adam in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel (C.K.). Louis Stern Fine Arts, 9002 Melrose Ave., L.A. Tue.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; ends Dec. 12. (310) 276-0147.

Alexander Gorlizki: Soft Succulent Sublime Gorlizki's paintings on paper dazzle the eye and tickle the mind. They are intricate beyond comprehension, their filament-thin lines congregating in dense, patterned fields. The works, most roughly the size of a sheet of notebook paper, spring from the traditions of Indian miniatures and manuscript illumination, with some pop art and op art flourishes, as well as a bit of surrealism for subversive effect (L.O.). Daniel Weinberg Gallery, 6148 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Tue.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; ends Dec. 19. (323) 954-8425.

Frank Paulin: Color photographs Paulin's first L.A. show here in 2005 introduced a fine, little-known street photographer equipped with both the poetic instincts and quick reflexes required of the genre. Now the gallery unveils another facet of Paulin's talent: color. The vibrant, montage-like street scenes here, layered assemblages of motion, reflection and signage, were shot a half-century ago but never printed until this year. Like time capsules newly unearthed, the pictures conjure the rhythms, textures and tones of a period long since past (L.O.). Duncan Miller Gallery, 10959 Venice Blvd., L.A. Thu.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; ends Dec. 5. (310) 838-2440.

Group Show: Installations Inside/Out To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Armory has invited 20 artists with whom it has worked in the past to create site-specific art and installations for a new exhibition. Some works are temporal or located elsewhere in Pasadena. Most are in the gallery -- a show that's mixed. The two knockouts are Pae White's gorgeous pair of enormous woven tapestries. One creates the illusion of a vast, light-reflective piece of crumpled Mylar, the other a limpid swirl of drifting cigarette fumes. Together they form a marvelous bit of "smoke and mirrors" (C.K.). Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Tue.-Sun., noon-5 p.m.; ends Dec. 31. (626) 792-5101.

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