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Art review: Pae White's 'Here Today' at 1301PE

November 17, 2011 |  6:35 pm

Pae White, "Ashen Roses, There," 2011, detail at 1301PE
Pae White has just about perfected the blend of beauty and intelligence that has become her art’s trademark. At 1301PE, her new works are so pretty that you have to keep your wits about you if you want to understand them. Sophisticated misbehavior, or maintaining an impeccable sense of decorum while breaking the rules, is White’s modus operandi.

Manners and tastefulness appear to be the order of the day in White’s delicate works, which suffuse the domestically scaled gallery with an atmosphere of gentle intimacy. The largest work downstairs, “Ashen Roses, There,” floats like a snowflake. Six small wall-works, made of hand-painted, laser-carved, clay-covered panels, look good from a distance and even better close-up. If Larry Bell were a young woman, this is what he’d be making. (His show, of early mixed media works at Frank Lloyd Gallery, pairs powerfully with White’s.)

Upstairs, White’s works on painted paper, also burned with lasers, play positive and negative space off each other with great synergy. Overhead, hundreds of pieces, sculpted to resemble strings of super-sized popcorn, form a sweetly Surrealist drop ceiling.

In an adjoining gallery, White has hung a gorgeously woven tapestry so that it divides the space, like a big Minimalist sculpture. “Sea Beast” also functions like a photograph, depicting a macramé wall-hanging.

Although White is often credited with making works that blur the boundaries between art and design, “Here Today” suggests that it is more accurate to see her as a sharp-eyed formalist whose works wreak havoc on conventional distinctions between sculpture and drawing, art and craft, beauty and brains.

-- David Pagel

1301PE, 6150 Wilshire Blvd., (323) 938-6106, through Dec. 22. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.1301PE.com

Image: Pae White, "Ashen Roses, There," 2011, detail. Credit: 1301PE

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