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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

September 04, 1987|CATHY CURTIS

A look at Maxwell Hendler's sign-like word paintings is apt to remind you how good Ed Ruscha is. Hendler varies the size and style of his lettering somewhat and plays around with different color combinations (fat yellow letters on red for "COMPLETELY," compact black on orange for "TON," and so on), but the results just don't sing.

On the other hand, the point may have been simply to make dumb signs that group nicely on the wall. If so, perhaps somewhere there's a rec room owned by well-heeled conceptual art lovers that could accommodate the lot.

Hendler's recent sculpture is much sharper stuff, chunks of vernacular architecture created in variously skewed ways. In "Yellow Brick Wall," identical puffy, porous bricks in ghastly bright yellow ooze out of a neat grid work of grouting. Wavy translucent sheets of fiberglass interrupted by white columns with fluted shafts somehow suggest both Grecian harmonies and a chintzy attempt to re-create them for budget-conscious suburbanites.

But in "Samo," which imitates flat and gently rippled fragments of Pepsodent-colored textured stucco wall, Hendler seems to yield completely to the seductiveness of a simple opposition of shapes. (Asher/Faure, 612 N. Almont Drive, to Sept. 26.)

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