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The Galleries

Santa Monica

November 27, 1987|CATHY CURTIS

Lawrence Gipe paints inky silhouettes of smoke-billowing industrial sites and the gleaming complication of locomotive wheels. Working in a rough-hewn style sometimes augmented by wadded sludges of paper its as if he's doing in paint what Alfred Stieglitz began in photography. Gipe seems torn between the beauty of proud towers or molten exhaust clouds and the need to point a rueful latter-day moral. Along the lower edge of some of these paintings, the word FAITH is spelled out in widely-spaced capital letters.

Work is most effective when it retains a crisp outlook on a large scale--"Untitled 1" disintegrates into neo-expressionistic spatterings, and the tiny "Canal Series" offerings are too slight and murky to register. The nostalgic, smoky presence and sweeping profile of the other paintings so persuasively reinvents Machine Age heroism that one almost believes in it, despite ironic disclaimers. (Karl Bornstein Gallery, 1662 12th St., Santa Monica, to Dec. 31.)

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