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THE ART GALLERIES

Venice

April 04, 1986|KRISTINE McKENNA

Osvaldo Romberg's paintings look as if they need to be lanced and drained. Swollen maggot shapes engorged with Day-Glo color are the central motif in these Freudian jamborees that unleash the id in all its diseased glory. Like Tex Avery on a bad acid trip, Romberg paints with a cartoon-like touch that makes his work fashionably New Wave, however, his historical references extend beyond anything you might've recently seen on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

A native of Argentina who divides his time between residences in Israel and New York, Romberg is essentially a latter-day Biomorphic Surrealist who combines bits of Matta, Joan Miro, and Yves Tanguy--he's big on the species of distressingly unidentifiable oneiric configurations that dominate work by those artists. Is that puffy, pickle shape a phallic symbol? Is it a UFO? Whatever, Romberg's rendition of the imploded landscape of the mind pales in comparison with the one Hieronymous Bosch cooked up. Romberg's creepy critters reside in a cosmological netherworld that looks like a polluted version of the Milky Way--it's a speckly, spotted place that's poisoned with lurid colors. Allow yourself to be sucked into this Jungian, cosmic goo and you may find yourself recalling the bad dream you had the night your appendix burst. (Piezo Electric, 21 Market St., to April 20.)

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