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Design Fans Rewarded at 4411 Montrose Openings

Friday night at 4411 Montose, three galleries held opening receptions for their new shows. Tom Berg's paintings at Wade Wilson Art displayed maturity and confidence in his subjects--objects like chairs, straw brooms and wooden clothes hangers are rendered most successfully as sober still-lifes, while a painting of a car on a desert highway seems out of place. On the other hand, his camping trailers, unhitched and seemingly uninhabited, are a revelation.

Fans of architecture and design found a usual upstairs at PEEL, where a trio of artists were showing wildly divergent pieces, yoked under the category "California Cool." Geoff McFetridge's paintings and wallpaper designs show the influence of curator Garrett Hunter's partnership with Domy Books, and are familiar to fans of new urban design, in part due to his prolific output. The wallpapers in particular are a visual treat, telling jokes and playing games with intricate or submerged details. Adam Silverman's ceramics offer no hint of the artist's former repute as a partner in some of hipster culture's fashion and publishing monuments. Nowadays, he's making sturdy bowls and pots with rich textures and often unintended or accidental effects in the glaze. Finally, the award-winning design and architecture firm Marmol Radziner is showing reproductions of mid-century chairs by that L.A.-paragon Rudoph Schindler. They're striking with their low-slung planes and clean angles.

Finally, Anya Tish Gallery had the most fanciful show with candy-colored paintings by Norwegian artist Bjørn Basen. A series featuring quotations from Alice in Wonderland resembled the interiors of imaginary porcelain music boxes, with broken fixtures casting impossible shadows of familiar Wonderland scenes. Another draws from Emile Zola's Germinal, a gritty-realistic tale of a coal-miner's strike, here refigured as a theme-park vision, like the interior section of AstroWorld's Alpine Sleigh Ride, with tunnels of lurid jewelry, sparkling in pink and purple.

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