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THE ART GALLERIES

Wilshire Center

January 16, 1987|SUZANNE MUCHNIC

Chris Staley and Paul Dresang make ceramic sculpture that transforms traditional vessels into art forms. Staley's green-glazed vases and teapots are large-scale, heavy-looking pieces that embody a generous spirit. All loose curves and full-blown volumes, they are rather like contented dowagers. In a show of just seven works, Staley combines familiar wheel-thrown forms and slab construction with such ease that technique is not an issue. The vases grow from rounded bases with spiraling ridges into chunky necks. An enormous teapot emphasizes its circular contours with curvilinear incisions and flourishes.

Dresang's work is considerably fussier, but he cloaks that fact with delicate scale and warm, peach-colored surfaces. His 10 teapots are flattened, rather attenuated objects that may be functional but were obviously made to be admired. Their curved surfaces are arbitrarily divided into patchwork sections filled with raised dots or incised dashes. Spouts are stretched out like birds' beaks or animal horns. As teapots go, these reach new heights of touch-me-not stylization. (Garth Clark Gallery, 170 S. La Brea Ave., to Feb. 4.)

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