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The Galleries

Wilshire Center

February 05, 1988|MARLENA DONOHUE

A frisky group offering includes clever ceramics, drawings and woodcuts by Roscoe West, geometric constructions by Dallas notable Dan Rizzie and a whimsical mixed-media and sequined installation of valentines by that maven of the resonant curio, Betye Saar.

West's most memorable works are fired ceramic vessels fashioned in the tradition of Mexican pottery. The association to anything actually ethnic ends there, as West adds bright primary colors in geometric shapes no Indian has painted and affixes a Sunday-funnies ceramic skeleton onto each. In one pot the silly Day of the Dead symbol rests triumphantly atop the mountain shaped vessel, in another he impishly performs some curative ritual over what looks like a bedridden native boy, on another pot he sits down contentedly to a sumptuous, shiny ceramic fast-food lunch. That Roscoe is more satirist than humanist is evident in a colorful vessel that holds a luscious sampling of that Yuppie favorite, sushi.

Rizzie's pleasant but unchallenging geometric abstractions build collaged and painted layers of literal and limned circles, triangles and wispy tendrils, while Betye Saar's exploding, pulsating hearts--each in its own little frame--share the guileless sensuality and voodoo charm of her best assemblage.

The only artist who doesn't fit this frolic is Charles Luce who makes fine drawings of isolated, emblematic objects--a head, a hand, a spiral. A conceptualist, he adds text and elaborate color symbolism to conjure up freely associative rebuses. Luce is particularly clear in "The Mechanics of Synapses" where his ubiquitous human profile is pitted against the shape of a primate via diagrammatic dots and dashes. (Saxon-Lee Gallery, 7525 Beverly Blvd., to Feb. 27.)

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