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The Galleries

La Cienega Area

January 29, 1988|SUZANNE MUCHNIC

The gospel according to Ben Benson and Elsa Rady is that art is clean, art is fine, art is a fragile thing that comes to life on a wispy breath and threatens to fall apart if you sneeze.

Benson, a Chicago-area artist, presents himself as a poetic version of Ben Nicholson in tiny paintings and collages that explore Cubist form and shallow space. Whether drawing a nude, painting a still life or orchestrating rectangles, Benson strives for a vulnerable sort of perfection that filters life to an essence but doesn't entirely remove its zest.

Rady's untouchable porcelain vessels are better known here, but her current show places this work squarely in the tradition of still life. Single pots, pairs and trios--fashioned as tall vases that narrow to slim stems or as flared, jagged-edged forms--are presented on anodized aluminum shelves and dramatically shadowed. They read both as sculpture and as paintings, with each vessel glazed in a solid color and carefully placed within a composition. We admire the level of control while wishing the work didn't look so much like decor. (Janus Gallery, 8000 Melrose Ave., to Feb. 13.)

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday February 5, 1988 Home Edition Calendar Part 6 Page 10 Column 1 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Ben Benson's and Elsa Rady's artwork is at the Jan Turner Gallery, 8000 Melrose Ave. A review last Friday incorrectly attributed the show to the Janus Gallery, which changed its name two years ago.

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