So is this the new beauty? Self-contained, sealed-off, rigid, icily calculated, a sterilized and sanitized facsimile of the wasteland that was here before? Even without an explicit political thesis—like, say, that suburbs suck—it's still unsettling. Under Brown's lens, the new frontier is an unabashedly artificial place in which the wide-open spaces have been walled in—a place from which there's no alternative, no escape, and no going back to the way things were. Maybe I've been living on that loveseat too long, but it seems to me that Laurie Brown has Orange County exactly figured out.
"Laurie Brown: Recent Terrains" at Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Dr., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971. Open Thurs.-Tues., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Through Oct. 7. $4-$5; members/children under 12, free; free on Tuesdays.