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La Cienega Area

December 25, 1987|MARLENA DONOHUE

Hal Honigsberg's photographs are fascinating scenarios that look like a cross between the adventures of Gumby and the landscapes of De Chirico. His main protagnonist is a wolfish critter that stands erect on man-like legs with a snout pointed skyward as if balking at the fates in a suspiciously human fashion. We've seen this kind of creature before, part primeval invention, part folkish cartoon, but this version is endearing because Honigsberg gives his creature the ability to laugh at himself.

In "Some Serious Plans Afoot," the wolf/man nonchalantly toys with parched straw in the vicinity of ominous looking electrical gadgets. In another work he steals off with a globe clutched in clumsy little paws, and in another he slumps in a Surrealistic easy chair like a suburbanite in need of a 5 p.m. martini. This isn't pure slapstick; there's a serious edge to Honigsberg, but darker meaning is always delivered with a wink.

Honigsberg's method is weirdly witty too. He first composes textures and objects with paper cut-outs, straw, crumpled tissue, bits of plastic and mock marble. For the final product he photographs, enlarges and laminates the scenes, ending up with clever transpositions of depth and a baudy eccentricity. (Eilat Gordin Gallery, 644 N. Robertson Blvd., to Jan. 10.)

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