Nick Hackworth

Sarah Morris/ Los Angeles, White Cube

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

American artist Sarah Morris, now in her mid-thirties, has spent her energies on presenting something of the essential qualities of those bastions of capitalist modernity: the hyper-real cities of the US. Previous subjects have included New York, Washington and Miami.

Her new work, comprising a 25-minute film and a series of related abstract paintings, targets LA. The film and paintings both obliquely depict power structures: the physical, manifest in concrete, steel and glass, and the social, manifest in relationships with “the right people”.

The film collages footage of the famous with images of LA’s architectural environment, alongside more quotidian scenes. We move from Dennis Hopper driving, to paparazzi besieging the Kodak Theatre during the Oscars, to Mulholland Drive, to shots of a waiter at work.

The piece works by building up an almost subconscious awareness of the atmosphere of this surreal place that has such an impact upon the world. That atmosphere is concentrated in the paintings, which resemble structual drawings run riot, Mondrians on speed.

The bright household gloss in which the works are executed lends the pieces a vibrant energy in keeping with LA’s character, but which sits at odds with the mildly sinister geometric patterns that make up the paintings’ composition. That threat becomes explicit in Universal (whose title refers to media company Universal) in which verticals dominate the canvas, defining a structure that takes little account of human scale.

Until 10 July. Information: 020 7749 7476.