Everything you see in a Kim McCarty painting is the result, literally, of things having settled out — things in this case being particles of pigment that, as the results of fluid dynamics, deposit dispersals, puddles and halos of color as McCarty paints “wet-in-wet” with watercolors on soaked paper. Once dry, the deposits still have the looks of fluidity and wetness, and from them, McCarty cobbles together bodies — of waifish lasses and lads, and of proudly erect single-stem irises and other flowers that become stand-ins for the figure. Youths and flowers alike, they’re lovely lovelies — fresh and flushed, nimble and nubile, looking as if they just fluxed their way into existence, and brandishing an inner glow that could make you rich if you could figure out how to bottle it. But they’re also fragile and frail — the flowers fully opened and thus heading toward their wilting, and the young bodies masking beneath their casualness some of the tortured awkwardness one finds in Egon Schiele’s figures. The discrete deposits of color that make up their gestalt, meanwhile, begin to suggest bruises and bleeds, patches and grafts. Against the softness of flesh and the soft-focus of features, material and color manipulations ring sharply — betraying these apparitions as sums of parts, cocktails and concoctions, with no final choice but to confess themselves, profoundly and humanly, as such. For all their fluidity, McCarty’s figures seem caught forever in aspiration for completion.

Kim Light Gallery, 2656 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; through May 16. (310) 559-1111 or www.kimlightgallery.com.

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