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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

May 01, 1987|WILLIAM WILSON

Ray Smith is a 27-year-old Texan now working in New York after a long stint in Mexico. He shows five oversize compositions, most often depicting reclining female nudes. Thinly painted on plywood that lets the grain show, the pictures use horizontal stripes to evoke landscape. Lazily they attempt to update classic Surrealism.

"Mexico" is a torso with a floating head a la Francesco Clemente and a deep-space background with an equestrian statue right out of De Chirico. "Los Patriotas" is your basic Picasso beach nude with Dali-esque touches like a mouth for a bellybutton and floating eyes. The most likable thing about these pastiches is a kind of go-to-hell ease of execution. Unfortunately, it comes across as the relaxation of somebody who has not yet figured out that he has a lot of work to do. (Larry Gagosian Gallery, 610 N. Robertson Blvd., to May 30.)

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