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October 30, 1987|MARLENA DONOHUE

Over the years Brad Durham has made paintings, sculptures and combinations of the two including cruciforms, misshapen figures and heavy dark pigments. Whatever the media, no one would call the work "light."

Current oil paintings look like a holocaust suite. Hairless, half-clothed creatures stare from vacant, angry eyes or press hopelessly against invisible barriers with sinewy, straining backs. In "Forceful Entry," isolated hands rendered in a nauseous green tinge grip a mallet driving a spike into layers of chiffon. Durham controls line and shading to get clean, rounded contours that give figures the cold, alienated look of stone or petrified flesh.

It would be disturbing in the best sense if it were believable; mostly it is not. In "The Poet" a nude Adam figure cast out from Eden is maudlin; the huge, odd female head resting on its side in "To Awaken From Sleep" is just plain sappy. Only in "Standing Man" and "Hierophant" is Durham soundly on target. (Karl Bornstein Gallery, 1662 12th St., to Nov. 13.)

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