The brutal and barren ugliness of the concrete flood control channel that is the Los Angeles River (and Ballona Creek) and the potential for its transformation are themes of artist Carole Garland’s show, “Postcards from the L.A. River,” presented at TAG (The Artists’ Gallery) in Santa Monica Wednesday, July 22nd through Saturday, August 15th.

The Los Angeles River, some 50 miles of it, threads through the city, now as a flood control channel but once as a tumultuous river that periodically overflowed its banks, devastating Los Angeles neighborhoods.

In 1938, after another major flood, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was brought in to corral the river.

Garland, a California landscape painter, said her attention was first drawn to the river when an art class met at the Sunnynook

Pedestrian Bridge near Los Feliz. The soft river bottom of the Glendale Narrows, which supports wetland habitat — birds, fish, willows, bulrushes and more — is a glimpse of what the L.A. River can be, and it is this glimmer of hope that inspired these “postcards,” Garland said.

An exhibit reception is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, August 1st at TAG, 2903 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica.