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THE GALLERIES

Downtown

March 01, 1985|SUZANNE MUCHNIC

Jay Willis is a familiar fixture of the Los Angeles exhibition scene with more than a decade-long history of showing abstract, metal sculpture. His work always measures up to a professional level, but predictability has curbed its spirit.

In a current show, we find him continuing to fashion sprightly towers of painted aluminum modules. Equal-length strips of silver-edged metal--each painted a solid primary, secondary or black--grow from two or more legs on the floor to 9-foot peaks. As they rise, they take on a jaunty air, with members shooting off on their own like willful children but finally conforming to their maker's wishes.

Five of the six works on view are constructivist variations on a theme. Individuality comes from names--all including the word board but making no literal references--and from various configurations of the modules. The only departure from articulated towers is an intriguing piece built around window-like openings and called "L.A. Triplex." (Cirrus Gallery, 542 S. Alameda St., to April 6.)

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