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THE ART GALLERIES

West L.a.

March 13, 1987|COLIN GARDNER

Tracy Colvill is a former fiber artist who turned to painting five years ago as a catalyst for exploring the subconscious and the repressed "child" in her personality. Working in a broad, expressionistic style in both color and black and white, Colvill employs an intuitive, automatist method from which figurative and architectural elements emerge in much the same way that one "discovers" images in clouds or woodgrain.

Far from evoking a fluid sense of psychic revelation, however, the work is bogged in mannered, expressionistic cliches. Dreamlike swirls of pigment evoke the impastoed mindscapes of Van Gogh, while tumultuous agglomerations of satanic and saintly figures, unbounded natural forces and tottering cityscapes are alarmingly close to Ludwig Meidner's "Apocalyptic Landscapes."

That such seemingly personal visions can be so quickly associated with institutionalized historical sources suggests that this sort of painterly free association is not only more formally structured than it thinks it is, but is also mining a stylistic vein that has long been exhausted. (Art Space, 10550 Santa Monica Blvd., to April 4.)

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