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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

October 23, 1987|MARLENA DONOHUE

Bruce Rod accurately compares his colorful painted wood sculptures to a "cross between the Hancock Building and Simon Rodia's Watts Towers." Right. Rod successfully couples method and madness in obsessively detailed abstract sculptures.

Large wall pieces are built of knotty vertical brambles of bright wood suggesting pillars, posts, lintels and other structural supports. Rod adds expertly crafted openings, knobs and all sorts of strange facetings that off-handedly refer to functional architecture but have no function other than to short-circuit our expectations. To fractured surfaces of colliding, gnarled wood, Rod adds painted illusions, so while you're trying to get a logical fix on one of these gizmos, the entire object is oscillating both literally and optically--the more you look, the more you need to look. We can't help but see Marcel Duchamp's "Large Glass" and the whole Dada strategy lurking somewhere in all this.

In free-standing works, smooth missile shapes perch on or pierce their pedestals for effects that are weirdly erotic. Pieces have the clean minimal look of Japanese craftsmanship, wrought with zany, calculated redundancy. (Simard Halm Gallery, 665 N. La Cienega Blvd., to Nov. 7.)

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