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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

January 16, 1987|WILLIAM WILSON

About the only way to deal with an art like that of DeLoss McGraw is to invent a category for it. If you try to cope with it by normal fine art's standards, it's just terrible--cute, pretentious and cheerfully sinister.

McGraw makes big, watery illustrations of poetry and autobiographical snippets ranging from Lewis Carroll's "Father William" to works by Daniel Halpern and Robert Haas. No matter what the poem's subject, the imagery is the same: paunchy cookie-cutter men, tall skinny houses with pitched roofs and paint-spattered calico cats done in a child's style that is employed only by grown-ups.

While the stuff is driving you crazy, you're also realizing that it is not terrible. It has a graphic liveliness and aplomb seen in international ad-art publications or in sophisticated children's books that design-loving parents really buy for themselves. Actually you don't have to invent a category for McGraw's work: It is real good fantasy illustration. (Simard Halm & Shee Gallery, 665 N. La Cienega Blvd., to Feb. 2.)

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