If you love Pacific Standard Time but think it's not comprehensive enough, Trigg Ison Fine Art has a show for you. “American Optimism: Celebrating the L.A. Art Scene 1935-80” deliberately coincides with PST but starts its artistic roundup a decade earlier. Presenting an “extreme cross-section” of styles and genres active in this time and place, including landscape, portraiture and abstraction in drawing, painting, sculpture and other mediums, this energetic collection of works represents a dozen or so lesser-known artists of great merit. Demonstrating influences from Latin folk to European avant-garde and postindustrial American jazz, the exhibition portrays the mid–20th century in creative L.A. as a vibrant, eclectic and busy scene that shares one overarching quality within itself and with the rest of the USA: unwavering optimism. As the first big show in the gallery's recently revamped spot, American Optimism is suitably colorful, cheerful even, showing a riskiness and expressive gusto that make lively companions to the chilly reserve of much PST fare. No offense to the brilliant minds behind Light & Space, but sometimes a person just craves gobs of thick, red paint.

Mondays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 12. Continues through Feb. 29, 2012

LA Weekly