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The Galleries

Santa Monica

November 27, 1987|CATHY CURTIS

Imagine a deck of magic cards, each with soft, true color, mounted on blocks of wood forming a pyramid. Or is it a stepped arrangement or a shield of vertical strips? Allen Harrison performs a startling legerdemain in his new paintings, snapping tints and tones into vivid ranks.

"Pyramid Red" is luminously cherry-hued with sharply scissored edges presiding over streams of green giving way to purple, aqua, violet and dusty pink. "Valuted Construction" is like a pipe organ playing vertical bars of color. "Evening Composition 2" acquires the resonance of a piazza shrouded in deep blue-black then tipped with brights on the outer squares, as if gleaming with colored lights.

Harrison gives color the palpability of architecture. Even when using graphite on paper his softly precise overlapping gray rectangles have the resilient texture of old cloth. (Tortue Gallery, 2917 Santa Monica Blvd., to Dec. 26.)

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