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THE GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

April 05, 1985|WILLIAM WILSON

Jill Giegerich just will not stop asking herself all the blue-sky questions. An exhibition of 25 or so recent wall reliefs and drawings proves that ingenuousness is the pedestal of her work's strength and wacky fascination. The basic problem of all art is: "How do you change what you see in the real world into art?"

The query can take on fancy academic trappings as "questions of semiotics" or remain as simple as a kid asking, "How do you make an eye?"

Giegerich operates exactly on the question mark between art and reality, so the results have a wonderful aura of being stuck in transition from one world to another. There's a kind of Gracie Allen naivete and aptness about them.

A couple of the untitled works are clunky perspective renderings that might be called--"How do you draw a packing crate?" Her answer includes rendering them on wood as if drawing on packing-crate material will help make the art more "real." (This involves an elemental part of the art urge. One of primitive man's earliest answers to the question of sculpting a head was to take a human skull and over-model it with materials from turquoise to mud.)

Giegerich likes to pump up the problem to almost humorous proportions by dramatizing bad solutions. One relief seems to be out to depict smoke, but it gets caught up in silly textures of chicken wire and herringbone and half-baked memories of the circular Cubism of Robert Delaunay. A related relief fouls up a fool-the-eye geometry by covering it with fake wood-grain texture so patently artificial it looks like zebra skin.

Giegerich is hardly the only occupant of this art-grammar turf. Around here you also see versions of it in the sculpture of Robert Therrien and Mark Lere, among others. Giegerich, however, is distinctive in her forays into narrative structure and her apparent sense of humor. (It could just be candor.) Her principal potential weakness is a kind of esoteric cuteness that could make unrewarded demands on the viewer. (Margo Leavin Gallery, 812 N. Robertson Blvd., to May 4.)

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