While Margo Leavin revamps and enlarges her original gallery on Robertson Avenue, Mark Lere opens the season in her newer Hilldale Avenue space. He offers no startling revelations, only the reassurance that he is not only one of the best artists to emerge in Los Angeles during the last decade but one of the most persistently interesting sculptors in the country today.
We find Lere enlarging upon familiar themes with increasing aplomb in 27 pieces, all done this year. An aluminum twister and a wiry "Vapor" refer to natural phenomena; vaselike stacks of metal discs, bulbous wooden enclosures and a bronze "Rib Tower" suggest human figures, while the titles and weighty forms of "Shovel" and "Anvil" establish allusions to tools.
Yet for all the metaphorical handles Lere offers to the viewer who would grab onto his work--and despite its familiar presence--his sculpture remains almost inscrutably strange. In fact, the tension between concrete, abstract form and mysterious meaning is largely responsible for the work's staying power. Lere talks of "ideas that exist in real space" and of "an art of impossibilities" while offering us things we vaguely know but have never seen. (Margo Leavin Gallery, 817 N. Hilldale Ave., to Oct. 17.)