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May 30, 1986|Robert McDonald

LA JOLLA — The exhibit at Gallery 8 in La Jolla (7464 Girard Ave.), entitled "Wood, Baskets, and Jewelry," erases the distinctions, if any continue to exist, between the crafts and the fine arts.

Wood is represented in the large vessel forms of Philip Moulthrop (son of renowned wood-turner Ed Moulthrop, by profession an attorney), whose surfaces look like those of the most mysterious of ceramics, and in the laminated, then turned, bowls of Mike Shuler, which reveal intricate geometric patterns.

Baskets are represented as sculptural forms in the works of Cindy Nishimura, who uses materials such as Virginia creeper, wisteria and grape vines. Fran and Neil Kraynek-Prince use dyed Torrey pine needles to make subtly, darkly hued vessels whose pleasure is not only in their forms, colors and textures, but in their lingering fragrance as well. A group of very beautiful Zulu baskets by various weavers is also included in the show.

Dazzling sterling silver jewelry by Indian artists Henry Chakee, Orville Tsinnie, and Rita, Suzie and Margaret Lee reminds us that contemporary minimalist artists did not discover the beauties of reductive form.

The exhibit continues through June 7.

Gallery 8 announced Friday that it will expand into the space occupied occupied by the Photography Gallery next door. The gallery expects a September opening for the new space.

The A.R.T./Beasley Gallery in Old Town (2802 Juan St.) is exhibiting landscapes by China-trained painter Catherine Yi-Yu Cho Woo. Although referential, her finest works on silk and rice paper, such as "Infinite Tenderness Ripples," are painterly reductive abstractions.

Among the artists in a group show in Beasley's north gallery, Carolyn Batchelor stands out with constructions--some nautical, some architectural in form--made of sticks wrapped and bound together with bands of pigmented paper. They are evocative and beautiful. Victor Vebalitus shows ceramic works and Jo Thompson displays pleasant, mixed-media paintings and drawings.

Both shows continue through June 25.

A group show at Acevedo Art Gallery International (4010 Goldfinch St.), entitled "Mestizaje," celebrates the fusion of cultures in San Diego.

The largest number of works is by Ernesto Gonzales, who, hailing from Las Cruces, N.M., and now of Los Angeles, has been greatly influenced by Indian art. He expresses his taste for high-key colors, purely abstract and symbolically referential forms in paintings, drawings, prints and fabrics. His geometric sculptures have a "hi-tech" character.

Other artists represented in the show are Enrique Flores, Juan Alcazar, Justina Fuentes and Jorge Lopez Garcia, all from Oaxaca, Mexico; Mario Torero and Jeff Lansing from San Diego; Sonya Fe from Los Angeles and Chantal Lenoir Cehel from Paris.

The exhibit, which opened as a celebration of the Cinco de Mayo, continues through June 7.

Two installations of public art are of interest.

The more impressive is that of Liu Hung in the north stairwell of the Media Center/Communications Building of Third College at UC San Diego. The artist has used the symbols of her native China in earth tones and gold to create a spectacular and inspiring environment, reminding visitors of the infinity of cycles of human behavior and the perpetuity of energy. The work is dominated by a stylized sheep's head, meaning good fortune.

UCSD has a lot of ugly walls that might profit from other murals.

Downtown at the recently opened Apple Tree Ice Cream and Crumpet Co. (954 5th Ave.) is a 9-by-12-foot painting of cows by Ellen Irvine, whose bovine mural from 1980 is a familiar sight on the 7th Street side of the Gourmet Foods building at G Street. At Apple Tree, eight Holsteins--they look life-size--in Irvine's simplified representational idiom graze in a flat green field and gaze at customers across the counter. The effect is overwhelming.

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