Italy produced its own generation of post-war abstract expressionists, but, logically enough, their work resembled mid-century Italian design more than it did New York action painting. Achille Perilli, for instance, evolved out of Futurism as much as Cubism, Symbolism as much as Surrealism, Matisse as much as Picasso, Klee as much as Miró — and his early (1946–1957) work is based on line, rhythm and color even more than gesture or texture. A raft of Perilli’s paintings on paper — here hang tightly together, amplifying their intimate dynamism — brims with zigzags and orbits and dancing, leaping shapes. Such boisterous charm and omnivorous investigation is what you’d expect from a young aesthete crawling out from under the rock of fascism and war. Perilli perfected his approach a bit later — and still practices it at age 80 — but it’s his early work that is so symptomatic of its time.
For his part, Marc Trujillo’s style is symptomatic of his place: the San Fernando Valley. His almost self-effacing naturalism, drawing on mostly 19th-century French and American models (Barbizon, Hudson River School, Impressionism), relies on what you might call a lensed eye — not a camera per se (he is a master of plein-air painting), but a regard for the world shaped by photography and film. Indeed, Trujillo’s work addresses the fact that we share with him that mediated worldview. Trujillo’s renditions of fast-food remnants may be loving in their detail and their sensitivity to light, but they ultimately underscore that these plastic bags and paper cups and condiment dispensers are mere props in our lives. Same with his landscapes and interiors of houses and stores and movie theaters: They are sets waiting for us to act in them. In this, Trujillo evolves out of Edward Hopper by making the viewer the nighthawk. Achille Perilli at Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 1023 Hilgard Ave., Wstwd.; Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; thru Feb. 28. (310) 443-3250. Marc Trujillo at Santa Monica College, Drescher Hall, Pico Blvd. & 18th St., Santa Monica; Mon.-Fri., noon-5 p.m.; thru Feb. 2. (310) 434-3434.