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THE ART GALLERIES

Santa Monica

July 31, 1987|MARLENA DONOHUE

Summer art shows often seem like sleepy way stations between the vacation lull and the "real stuff" that resumes in the fall. Not so in this small group show. It is unusually appealing mainly because tenured curatorial discretion avoids grafting on a lot of conceptual hocus-pocus. Quality control is high and diversity holds our interest without that pull-out-whatever-you-got-back-there feeling.

There are some sure-to-please favorites and some riskier entries. We can't help but be soothed and delighted by the impeccable drawings of Martha Alf and Joyce Treiman. A gnarled double Christ by Jim Morphesis is similar to but more powerful than his selection in the County Museum of Art's "Avant Garde" show. A series of photographic grids by Robbert Flick jog both eye and mind. In the latter category, risk pays off in "Mizz," William Tunberg's edgy assemblage, and in David Furman's clever bulletin boards complete with tacks, pencils and sketches all fashioned from glazed and painted ceramic. A few mauve/turquoise abstractions by other artists lie dangerously close to the over-the-couch and "in" color sensibility. (Tortue Gallery, 2917 Santa Monica Blvd., to Aug. 29.)

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