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THE GALLERIES

Downtown

March 01, 1985|SUZANNE MUCHNIC

Mary Jones has traveled a considerable aesthetic distance from her spooky silhouettes of gigantic patterned animals, done about five years ago, to her cryptic architectonic paintings of the present. About the only connections between the crude beasts and the refined, hard-edge abstractions are an inclination toward schematized or iconic images and an undertow of mysticism that has begun to resurface.

In a current exhibition, she overlays bright, collage-like abstractions of geometric shapes with stick figures, outlines of human profiles and hands clasping a large yellow egg or radiating an aura against a dark body. The result is an uneasy merger of cheerfully austere urban landscape with a ghostly or symbolic human presence.

Meanings are rarely specific, but occasionally they gain direction from such titles as "Goal Oriented," which labels a tall black panel framing the familiar hands-and-egg motif above a shooting-gallery circle of ducks. Here, the emblematic juxtaposition of mysterious creation and banal striving poses an obvious question. In general, though, the work is more successful as design than as spiritual evocation or narrative questing. (Ovsey Gallery, 705 East 3rd St., to March 16.)

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