Swiss-born photographer Corina Gamma displays a foreigner's wonder in her photographs of Los Angeles, delighting not in the “L.A.-ness” of her chosen subjects, but their “USA-ness”: amusement-park rides, their elaborate structures set against wide-open spaces; and housing developments, seen as repeated forms marching through space. In the former, Gamma looks up into the sky at the webs of struts and curves; in the latter, she keeps her horizon low, so that the march of rooftops is practically silhouetted against the sky. In recent video work, Gamma achieves the same near-Bauhaus elegance with a quasi-animated rhapsody on the roller coaster. At d.e.n. contemporary, 6023 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 23. (310) 559-3023.
(Click to enlarge)
April Street, Kassandra Party Supply (2007), detail
Eraldo Mauro lives in the other Venice, but as a radical exponent of his native city's best-known art form, he exploits light in a way Angelenos can readily appreciate. Mauro animates his glass collages by backlighting Murano fragments, framed in black Plexiglas to resemble huge, pre-PowerPoint slides. Whether patterned, composed or simply scattered, Mauro's shapes take on a vivid, organic presence. In their intricate detail and gorgeous designs and colors, they look like protozoans and molecules performing dance routines under a microscope.
April Street's canvases share some of Mauro's vivacity, although their much larger scale, aqueous paint handling and suppressed — if starkly contrasted — palette give a darker, even stormier cast to their particular beauty. And Street's shapes unmistakably suggest plants — no specific flora, but very clearly some kinds that live on or near water. Like Mauro, and for that matter Gamma, Street dishes out optical gratification without hesitation but spices her formulations with enough moody energy to inter a counterbalancing subtext, a splash of bitters in the juice. Mauro and Street at Ruth Bachofner Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., No. G2, Santa Monica; Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; thru March 1. (310) 829-3300.