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AT THE GALLERIES /Robert McDonald

September 26, 1986|ROBERT MCDONALD

The exhibition of works by El Centro artist Domingo Ulloa at Acevedo Art Gallery International in Mission Hills (4010 Goldfinch Ave.) is a mini-retrospective spanning the period from 1950 to the present. Ulloa's subject is humanity, farm workers in particular.

Ulloa, a painter who works in a variety of media, possesses highly developed traditional technical skills with which he creates memorable images of great nobility. But he also has a tendency toward sentimentality, even mawkishness, which wastes his gifts and trivializes the authority of his convictions.

Early charcoal drawings entitled "Freedom" (Libertad) and "Capital" (Capital), are strong symbolic statements against racial and economic inequality. The more recent "Dogs of War" (Los Animales de la Guerra), the Goyaesque "War Devouring People" (La Guerra Comiendo la Gente) and cartoonish "Sweetheart Contract" (Contrato entre los Novios), however, lose their punch, despite their obvious sincerity. In them, moral outrage has overcome intelligence of execution.

In portraits of his mother and of a variety of farm workers, such as women cutting garlic and men cutting asparagus and lettuce, Ulloa creates images whose compassion honors the dignity of his subjects.

"The Children of the World" (Los Ninos del Mundo), representing all races in a circle, and "Friends of the Imperial Valley" (Las Amigas de la Valle Imperial), representing an Anglo girl and a Chicana, in contrast, have a saccharine, greeting-card quality.

On the other hand, the coarse "Family" (Familia) and vulgar "Barroom Scene" (Lio en la Cantina), despite the simplifications of perception, combine engaging directness with gentle humor.

Finally, the recent "The Deaf Professor" (El Profesor Sordo) in its combination of realism, abstraction and Expressionism conveys a freshening of vision that promises more strong works from one of the area's significant, mature artists.

The exhibition continues through Oct. 11.

In nearby Hillcrest, Sweet Visions (141 University Ave.) is showing small, colored pencil and airbrush drawings by Ted Meyer. These skillfully made images, although cartoon-like in form, nevertheless express degrees of pain from occupational distress to moral anguish. In "Unnatural Environment" an office worker, his telephone, pencils and papers fly off in all directions. In " 'E' Is for El Salvador," an abstract human form trapped in interlocking geometric forms effectively conveys the message of an imaginary Amnesty International Human Suffering Alphabet.

Meyer is also capable of humor, especially in his sardonically captioned T-shirts, as in "Sun Diego, So Primitive Yet So Cosmopolitan," with images of a dinosaur and the Eiffel Tower. "Rebel Without a Clue" should be made into a movie.

The show continues through Oct. 31.

A little farther along, Quel Fromage (523 University Ave.) has a large exhibition of works in a variety of media, including collages and assemblages, by R. Fortune, who bills himself as an "Ocean Beach poet, artist and daddy."

His works at their best are wildly imaginative and vigorously executed. Consider, for example, a composition of found items including an elaborate frame, denture molds, human hair and mirror shards.

The exhibition continues through Tuesday.

Closer to downtown, the Jung Center (3525 Front St.) is exhibiting a selection of street photographs, some old, some new, by Eric Blau. These gentle, humanistic images are anecdotal rather than poetically evocative in nature. "Train Station, Norwich," however, is artfully dramatic.

The exhibition continues through Tuesday.

The Gallery Store downtown (724 Broadway) has a very beautiful exhibition of textiles made by Indians of the Guatemalan highlands. Susan Turner selected the weavings from a collection she assembled with Franz Mattrel during the 1970s.

All are utilitarian and ceremonial in nature but exhibited here as abstract works of art, through Oct. 11.

The Multicultural Arts Gallery (425 Martin Luther King Way) is exhibiting Huichol-style yarn paintings by Timothy Hinchcliff and oil paintings and watercolors by Teresa Mills. Both artists use dream imagery, Hinchcliff by imitating an alien culture he admires, Mills by amalgamating a variety of religious experiences into Southern California urban life, as in "Kachina in Hollywood." Her strongest work is that in which she allows archetypal forms to emerge.

The exhibition continues at the present site through Sept. 30 then moves to the Multicultural Arts Center new site (to be announced) nearby.

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