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THE ART GALLERIES

Downtown

May 23, 1986|KRISTINE McKENNA

New York artist Jedd Garet helped popularize the Post-Modern idea of "bad" painting as a legitimate aesthetic, and he buffs that idea to a high gloss in this graphic work exploring cliches concerning art, the future and loneliness.

Most of Garet's pictures revolve around an attenuated human form, which the artist describes as "a statue that is half living." Evocative of those blobby bodies Henry Moore was big on, the figure seems vaguely tormented and we see it in a variety of settings involving a whirling vortex, flagstone patterning, an ellipse and barren trees. It's a garish and schlocky formula, yet Garet's work is too humorless to be kitsch, too spiritually jaded to be Surreal. Willfully stilted and rigid, the work has a chilly, post-nuclear vibe and seems to be parodying something, but exactly what remains a mystery. Neutral and anonymous, Garet has developed a style of space-age classicism that's as inviting as sculpted Jello.

On view in an adjoining gallery are Kyoko Asano's paintings of tide pools cluttered with evidence of human trespasses. All manner of detritus from gum wrappers and Frisbees to cosmetics and keys nestle among seaweed and stone in shallow pools that could be decoded as the key to a dead civilization. Asano avoids the obvious and refrains from wagging a disapproving finger at man the thoughtless litterbug; she makes trash look uncommonly beautiful.

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