If it's possible to be a sensuous purist, John McCracken qualifies for the title. On the one hand, he's a formulist holdout, clinging to the stark forms of Minimalism as he perpetuates a career that peaked several years ago. On the other, he seduces his audience with the sheer beauty of luminous color and shiny surfaces in perfectly crafted geometric volumes of polyester resin on wood.
A show of McCracken's recent art--his first exhibition here in five years--will strike the trend conscious as the same old stuff, but he can't be accused of selling out to fashion. His art does what it has always done: It sits on the juncture of painting and sculpture, looking simultaneously serene and gorgeous.
The current show is a virtuoso performance. Three single-color, angular volumes on pedestals represent his subtle side. At once definite and elusive, they occupy measurable space but suggest great depths of color and reflected facets.
He pulls out all the stops in other galleries where massive planks lean against walls with all the nonchalance of trussed-up women in sequined evening gowns. Here McCracken runs through a profusion of flamboyant effects: a wet-in-wet look, marbling, feathery fade-outs and cracks, done in liquid combinations of, say, vivid red and deep blue or yellow and chartreuse. These pieces bear an unfortunate resemblance to Las Vegas counter tops, but beneath the flashiness is some solid painting. (Flow Ace Gallery, 8373 Melrose Ave., to Oct. 9.)