Manifest Destiny is a complicated historical motif, equal parts optimism and oppression, belief, bounty and betrayal. For curator Kathleen Clark, "Manifest Destiny" provides a metaphorical framework for examining the allure of "the romance of the West [that] lingers still." Development and disaster notwithstanding, the perception of California as a land of sunsets, deserts, and dreams of golden glamour is as rich a territory to prospect as a photographer could want even, or especially, for the ways it goes wrong. These eight artists run the emotional and stylistic gamut, but even the most surreal will be familiar to denizens of our storied landscape. The washed-out hazes blanketing the retro-tinged urban sprawl in the work of Randi Berez and Todd Weaver's captured moments of the California lifestyle, both present archetypal views of the city. Claudio Cambon's Gothic pastorals, windswept agricultural ruins and romantic cowboy skies offer a literary, desolate majesty outside city limits. Amanda Friedman's compositions are thoroughly saturated in color, each one almost a monochrome, the exposure so silky that light and fog become inseparable. Nicholas Alan Cope's startling black-and-white pictures of trees and cacti that bear little resemblance to natural forms read instead like alien life forms occupying depopulated suburban environments. Larry S. Clark is an emerging voice whose inky, noirish images speak to the dark side of the dream. Michael Kelley's refreshing humor treats technicolor plastic beach culture; and Lisa Romerein's architectural interpretations create formal abstractions through cropping and juxtaposition, personalizing public spaces and riffing on modernist fancies. The Analog Salon at Samitaur Constructs, 3535 Hayden Ave., Culver City; opening reception Sat., Jan. 28, 6-9 p.m.; exhibit runs Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., thru March 17; free. analogsalon.com/events.
Sat., Jan. 28, 6-9 p.m.; Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: Jan. 28. Continues through March 17, 2012