Constricted view 

Mexico City-based artist Trini paints modern life in the most identifiably modern locale: the city.

Her slightly hazy acrylic paintings of taxi cabs on nighttime streets suggest New York, while other sunlit images of elderly men on bicycles and tiny, European-style cars suggest an Asian metropolis. Trini captures these scenes with a convincing mastery of color. Bright sunlight bounces off concrete into a diffuse, hazy gray. In nighttime scenes, she evokes the purple shadows and peculiar sickly yellow cast of streetlights.

Trini's other strength is the unusual panoramic dimensions of her canvases. Their elongated rectangular shapes and the way she crops space into snapshot-style fragments gives a sense of enclosure, even constriction, to her scenes. While most canvases suggest a window on the world, in Trini's work there is something more suggestive of life seen through parted Venetian blinds, a camera or some other surveillance device.

Especially effective is the arresting "White Light." Done in Trini's usual bordering-on-abstract style, the painting offers an overhead God- or sniper's-eye view of a woman with bowed head walking in a vast landscape of concrete. Like several other images of people making their way busily through a crosswalk or bustling intersections, the human element is directed, bisected and defined by the architecture and streets of the city. In her best moments, Trini conveys the distracted, distanced electron bounce of bodies occupying the same space but in essential isolation.

Trini's form is consistently strong, even if her content sometimes lags behind. Like pretty, inert travel shots, paintings such as "Red Cable Car," of an automobile high above a cityscape, and "Standing," of pedestrians appraising a city vista, have a generic, emotionally uneventful quality. Just when the artist appears to be building to a profound evocation of modern city life as a confining, gray grid, or capturing the quiet moments within chaos, she throws in a painting of a man swimming or of a couple sitting on a beach that instantly dilute any sense of meaning and mood.

Trini: New Paintings at Naomi Silva Gallery, Tula Art Center, 75 Bennett St., M-2. Through May 29. Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 404-350-8890. www.naomisilvagallery.com.

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