When you live in the city, to reverse paraphrase the Eagles, you can see the light but still not see the stars, and perhaps towards that end “Beautiful Planet: In Celebration of Nature” urges us to step off the concrete and into the meadow – at least visually. Curated by Susanna Meiers and featuring the work of 19 artists in every medium you can think of, the opening reception takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Jan 29, in the El Camino College Art Gallery.

Meiers notes that at a time of weather shifts and endangered species, it’s important “to simply stop, observe, and revel in the extreme beauty that remains. Perhaps in so doing we can be further encouraged to take steps towards preservation of the utterly remarkable natural environment that exists on planet Earth.”

The artists in “Beautiful Planet” include Margaret Lazzari, Candace Gawn, and Betsy Lohrer Hall, as well as Elizabeth Bloom, Garrett M. Brown, Lorraine Bubar, Lauren Evans, Ellen Giamportone, Carol Goldmark, Robin Hinchliffe, Kenneth Ober, Ann Page, Deborah Patterson, Carol Saindon, Anne Scheid, Laura Stickney, Victoria Veedell, Pat Warner, and David Jordan Williams.

Near the Civic Center, the Torrance Museum of Art (TAM) is exhibiting “Sincerely Yours” in the main gallery. The work ranges from the muscular and the grandiose to the gentle, which is certainly keeping within its theme. “This exhibition,” in the words of the museum staff, “examines the current resurgence in the notion of the Romantic in contemporary painting today. It is a return to the Romanticism of the past, but with an important new take. The naivety has been displaced by the understanding of how things work, in the art world and in culture.”

I’m not so sure I’d refer to Turner and Constable, Gericault and Delacroix as naive, and their stature in art is fairly assured, but many of the artists in “Sincerely Yours” show youthful passion, and if that’s not a key element of Romanticism, what is? They include Charles Alexander, Nick Brown, Srijon Chowdhury, Sarah Dougherty, Mark Dutcher, Alec Egan, Josh Hagler, Kristan Kennedy, Annie Lapin, Bryan Ricci, Maja Ruznic, and Jessica Williams.

“Beautiful Planet” is on view through Feb. 12 in the El Camino College Art Gallery, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance. Hours, Mon. and Tues. 9-4; Wed. and Thurs. 12-8; closed Fridays and weekends. Free; onsite parking $3. Call (310) 660-3010 or go to

“Sincerely Yours” is on view through March 7 at the Torrance Art Museum, 3320 Civic Center Drive, Torrance. Hours, Tues. through Sat. 11-5; closed Sun. and Mon. Call (310) 618-3846 or go to

Two for Torrance: “Beautiful Planet” and “Sincerely Yours”