Art Beat

ILK, at 554 Santa Fe Drive, is a raggedy, upstart co-op that nonetheless frequently displays some of the most original art around. It is currently presenting a pair of intriguing solo shows. In ILK's south gallery is New Works by Victoria del Carmen Pérez; in the north gallery is Size 0: New Works by Michelle Gonzalez.

Pérez, who graduated from Metropolitan State College before earning her master of fine arts from Philadelphia's Tyler School of Art, is essentially a painter. The show is uneven, but there is a stunning turn or two. "White Out," a luscious abstract mixed-media painting on canvas, really works. Especially nice is Pérez's use of purple iridescent glitter embedded in the dingy yellow paint. "Americana" is a series of painted panels laid like tiles across the wall; on the floor below is a pile of white and yellow balloons -- some with pre-printed happy-face designs. This piece, while ambitious, is not as successful as "White Out."

Gonzalez's show is something completely different. The artist, a recent graduate of the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, has sewn together out-of-proportion paper clothes and hung them from substantial metal armatures. She is an expert at surface effects, because it's hard to believe -- even on close examination -- that the pieces are not made of cloth.

This visual sleight of hand can be seen in spades in "Night Nude" (above), a piece in which Gonzalez has placed what looks like a pair of black pantyhose together with a pair of flesh-toned ones. By crinkling and then flattening the paper, Gonzalez creates the illusion of transparency. Although it looks like you can see through the paper, you really can't.

Both shows close this weekend. -- Michael Paglia


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