“Christopher Miles: Bloom,” “John O'Brien: Meander” and “California Scene Paintings 1930-1960” all open at the Pasadena Museum of California Art this weekend, presenting three very different yet conceptually interrelated displays that speak to life in the Greater Los Angeles region through diverse visual interpretations of landscapes. The survey offers a look at civic art projects that commissioned paintings of scenes around L.A., capturing the everyday life of Angelenos and the many facets of this sprawling city. It's a snapshot of the period it covers, with artistic styles ranging from the academic to the avant-garde. As a public-art practitioner who frequently works in urban areas, with an eye toward geographic social history, John O'Brien inherits that same spirit — except that he's using a visual language derived from abstraction and architecture. For his Project Room installation, O'Brien employs sculpture, photography, writing and other visual strategies to simultaneously document, evoke and contextualize the artist's wanderings along the Arroyo Seco Parkway. Christopher Miles presents a sculptural installation of abstract forms that, in their composite complexity, blend the obviously man-made with an organic jumble of nature to present a flowering field of paint, paper and metal plant life. It's at once charming and sinister. Pasadena Museum of California Art, 490 E. Union St., Pasadena; Sat., March 9, 7-9 p.m.; $5. Runs Wed.-Sun., 12-5 p.m., through July 28; $7. (626) 568-3665, pmcaonline.org.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: March 10. Continues through July 28, 2013
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