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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

September 25, 1987|Colin Gardner

Jim Ganzer's latest combination of artist's furniture and paintings resembles a modernist design showroom's idea of Polynesian lanai decor. Ganzer constructs chairs, tables and floor lamps from date palm stems and slabs of marble, stressing his materials' organic properties as well as a do-it-yourself homage to native artifice. The results are slick and funky, betraying a predilection for kitsch as well as a genuine affection for the work's roots.

A simple functional reading is complicated, however, by Ganzer's placing of his handiwork before large representational paintings of the objects themselves. These are sketchily rendered against black or white backgrounds in a variety of styles ranging from expressionist splatter to spray-can graffiti. Each painting either tends to abstract the object into simple parameters of line and volume or depict it from another angle entirely, creating a multiple perspective through the combined rhetoric of both media.

This is not quite as complex as it sounds, largely because Ganzer tends to fall back on simple object/image, reality/fiction dichotomies that are neatly packaged into a generic conceptual statement. If he's going to push beyond the constrictions of decorative utilitarianism, he needs to stop sitting comfortably on the functional fence and instead try fraying a few aesthetic loose ends. The results might not be furniture or painting, but they will at least be more challenging than what's presented here. (Gallery 454 North, 454 N. Robertson Blvd., to Oct. 12.)

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