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The Galleries

Santa Monica

January 22, 1988|MARLENA DONOHUE

In a two-person show, Gerald Giamportone shows spare, wall-mounted constructions fashioned from raw wood, wax and paint and Robert Kelly shows abstract oil-on-paper monotypes and oil-on-canvas paintings. This is not one of those shows that bowls you over with its intensity, but it delivers a quiet, schooled elegance from two technically careful artists.

Giamportone calls his works "paintings," but they are dimensional and refined enough to compete with any Minimal sculpture. He fashions objects that look like cylindrical stools or tables and mounts them to the wall. The "canvas" is the jutting disc section painted with simple lines of equal width, alternating nude wood grain with rich, wax enhanced blacks or blues.

Some larger cylinders have atmospheric, hazy circles of muted gray and black, suggesting orbs in space and proving that lyrical and minimal need not be mutually exclusive. This work forces us to walk around it, contemplate its parts vis-a-vis its whole, even consider the issue of the artist's hand versus the more anonymous construction of functional objects. Besides doing all the textbook stuff of so-called object art, the work retains its humanity.

Kelly floats organic shapes in subdued, sand-colored fields; we see the vestiges of figures, vessels, embryonic masses, squiggles and honeycombed pods. The handling of his suggestive shapes switches between the visceral fluidity of and the fantastical dissections of invented nature. (Maloney Gallery, 910 Colorado Ave., to Jan. 30.)

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