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THE GALLERIES

West Los Angeles

March 15, 1985|SUZANNE MUCHNIC

Janice Lowry is a talented assemblagist who combines painting and sculpture in a disheveled body of work. She has long since proved her ability to churn out ideas and objects but has yet to refine her effort into a distinctive point of view. A connecting link in a current show emerges in the form of a house, but it encloses so many visions that it often seems no more significant than any other box.

The house becomes a tattered stage for a sad little puppet in "For Play," an upside-down scene of silver-painted chaos in "Night Watchman" and a temple-like structure framing various collections of occult bric-a-brac. In one gallery (itself the room of an old house), Lowry presents a narrative installation of furniture and painted plastic plates, explained in a banal little book about convoluted relationships.

The installation, "Everything Is Ducky in Norfolk," seems as distracted as most of the complex sculptures shown, but its story line points to a frequent failing of assemblage pack rats.

At least one piece, "The Wedding Dress," proves that Lowry knows how to edit herself. Here, a folded length of white embroidery, a female silhouette and a measuring tape are simply and tellingly encased in a glass-front cottage. The idea of marriage as a hope, a promise and a trap resonates from her least pretentious artwork. (Art Space, 10550 Santa Monica Blvd., to April 6.)

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