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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

January 31, 1986|SUZANNE MUCHNIC

Guy Dill's show of recent sculpture gathers force as it progresses from gallery to gallery. The exhibition opens with a few small portals, made of softly colored concrete or steel wedges with slanted, rectangular openings.

They stand on block pedestals, looking shy and serious but not very significant. Next come larger versions of the same configuration, big enough for a thin person with a tilted spine to walk through. Here the art's skewed stasis becomes more dramatic, as does the careful irregularity of its construction.

Visual excitement picks up in the next gallery, which is overloaded with Post-Modern clutter and infused with pastel decorator color. Architectural references are both stacked up and attenuated to the point that everything looks like a column or an extra-tall doorway topped off with a precariously balanced cluster of geometric shapes. Individual pieces are up to Dill's high standards, but the congregation brings on the sort of headache induced by the Westside Pavilion's boutique brand of Post-Modernism.

Relief comes quickly in the final two galleries where Dill directs all his well-schooled energy into three massive works that are simultaneously playful and muscular. All use a widened portal, now seen as posts and lintels, as a base for sweeping movement. The multicolored concrete pieces are dynamic compositions of circles, arcs, triangles, rectangles and wedges. With various volumes teetering on the lintels, the sculpture has the unlabored look of an impromptu balancing act done by an assured veteran.

The last sculpture, occupying a room of its own, introduces a new element of tension by placing a circle of glass below the load of steel volumes resting on a high beam. This is solid Baroque Modernism achieved with such a flourish that it restores faith in plain old geometric abstraction. (Flow Ace Gallery, 8373 Melrose Ave., to Feb. 28.)

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