The adorable puppies and other creatures in Scottish artist Paul Barnes’ latest body of work certainly tug at the heartstrings. But despite their superficial cuteness, the artist uses these cartoonish characters as a vehicle to explore the mind in its dream state. The characters find themselves in desolate landscapes (a nod to early Surrealism), rendered with heavy brushstrokes that evoke Modernist painting. The subdued color palette and wispy lines induce a sort of dreamy ambiance as we scan the deep landscapes within the works. Take a look at some of Barnes’ latest paintings, which appear in his current show, “Nocturne,” at Thinkspace in Culver City.