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Abstract paintings lift spirits in Zask Gallery

Christina Collins Burton
Arts Editor

The Zask Gallery in Palos Verdes treats its guests to the traditional and abstract with their currently display, “Second Nature: Landscape Variations” featuring local artists as well as Professor of Art Ruth Trotter.

The owner of the gallery, Peggy Zask, collected the pieces for the series hoping to break the assumed art of the Palos Verdes area.

“Palos Verdes is a land conservatory, and the art that comes from it is normally paintings of the land that is being saved,” Zask said. “I wanted to expose this community to something more than just (traditional) landscape.”

The collection differs from others by offering onlookers a series of landscape inspired paintings ranging from the expected layout of a cityscape or forest, to the individual ideals of what the artist is seeing around them.

“I felt the atmosphere was warm and friendly as you entered,” Marie Bernal, Downey resident said. “The paintings are very bright and I love the colors in them.”

The more abstract of the paintings offered any viewer of the work a look into how the artist saw the world by putting their point of view on the canvas.

Paintings ranged from natural landscapes to the view of the city through artists eyes.

Trotter’s work was an abstract landscape that sits front and center in the gallery’s entrance way. The piece, titled Cayluse, was bought as soon as the gallery opened on Jan. 29.

“I was referring to landscape in the work which is basically an abstract composition, as you’ll see the painting is influenced with abstract forms,” Trotter said.

Cayluse, an abstract done during Trotter’s sabbatical to the south of France, uses a bright mixture of blues and earthy yellow to bring depth to the painting. Centered in the picture is a lavender vase that brings focus as well as adds to the viewer’s experience of the piece.

“Her work is so beautiful because of the colors in them, the people that come in just love them,” Zask said.

The second piece, Curve, which was submitted by Trotter, shares a similar composition to Cayluse but uses a different brush technique that pushes the paint into lifted shapes on the canvas.

The bright colors of the painting lift out and away toward the viewer to offer a kind of happy depth as they look at the piece.

“I was almost tempted to purchase the painting myself,” Zask said. “The color and composition is very uplifting. It opens you up and feels expansive.”

Trotter’s work will be on display at the gallery until the closing party on Feb. 26 when the gallery will pack up and change locations.

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Christina Collins Burton can be reached at

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