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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

October 24, 1986|COLIN GARDNER

Over the years, Larry Cohen has moved away from interior studies a la Paul Wonner towards an extremely traditionalist vision of the Los Angeles landscape that lies somewhere between French Impressionism and American Realism. Cohen's Los Angeles is an open, plein-air, sun-drenched expanse of rolling hills, stuccoed houses with tiled roofs, meandering streets and curving expanses of beach. It is a quiet, meditative urban dream, a Mediterranean idyll devoid of man, industrial sprawl and corporate redevelopment.

Cohen's one concession to dislocation is a benign one, namely his use of window frames and balcony railings to divide the picture plane into a formal grid or suggest at least a degree of artificiality and painterly process.

In general, however, Cohen is content to wallow in utopian dreams, to make repetitive paintings about mood and mystique rather than explore either the language of representation itself or the suspect romanticism of the landscape genre. Such conservatism might fit the current political climate, but from a critical point of view it appears both passe and not a little irrelevant. (Hunsaker/Schlesinger Associates, 812 N. La Cienega Blvd., to Nov. 22.)

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