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The Art Galleries

Wilshire Center

September 18, 1987|CATHY CURTIS

Norton Wisdom is not an artist to wait shyly for recognition. Some years ago he founded his own Museum of Modern Art in the Bay Area. In 1973 he was arrested for painting on the Berlin Wall, though not before having his picture taken alongside his handiwork.

As a painter, Wisdom shrewdly banks on the power of long-term saturation. The generic look of his "Pyramid" and "Cloud Chamber" series (in large, small and smaller sizes) dates back to his grad school days in the late '60s. The "Pyramid" paintings consist of five large, flat, vividly colored polygons arranged rather like views of skewed rooms or tunnels as rendered by a bright Montessori pupil. The "Cloud Chambers" offer more of the same, spritzed with brushy trails of paint.

In both series the paintings that work are the small (but not absurdly bite-sized) ones, in which rich jewel colors and the luscious, buttery quality of paint are the main event rather than an anxious straining after formula success. (Richard/Bennett Gallery, 332 1/2 N. La Brea Ave., to Oct. 3.)

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