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The Galleries

Wilshire Center

November 20, 1987|MARLENA DONOHUE

East Coast artist Gabriel Laderman shows some half-dozen ghoulish acrylics on canvas, depicting claustrophobic interiors where gnomish persons with short limbs and large heads play cards, sit mutely or climb spooky staircases. Even in paintings with innocuous subjects like a handsome black female nude built from heavily impastoed paint, canvases take on sinister tension. This undercurrent gets overt in the six-part "House of Death and Life" where cutaway walls reveal corpses haunted by a female specter. Another triptych shows successive steps in what looks like a murder of passion. Dramatic, single-source stage light, vertiginous multiple points of view, perspectives that bend and tilt space arbitrarily and an almost matter-of-fact stillness give these paintings the quality of those seemingly unending nightmares that make us grateful for alarm clocks. (Jessica Darraby Gallery, 8214 Melrose Ave., to Jan. 8.)

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