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The Galleries

Wilshire Center

February 12, 1988|MARLENA DONOHUE

Art fit for a small museum offers four good size solo exhibitions and another satellite show of some two dozen New York artists.

Mary Corse shows black paintings modulated into atmospheric surfaces with glitter, as well as glossy Miminal grids built from black ceramic squares. The work straddles the fence between ruminations on surface and pure unadulterated glitz.

Charles Fine also thinks about surface using slowly built layers of alkyd resin, wax and oil to produce nuances of color and shape that look trapped somewhere deep in the pigment. The result has the ephemeral, tricky dimensionality of a scene viewed through sheets of rain.

Roger Herman is a painterly realist with an eye for structure and a sense of humor about the ironies of contemporary life. Huge, well-endowed women occupy separate canvases and strut away from us. In "Social Security Bungalow" or "Large Yellow Housing Unit" Herman gives anonymous chairs or rows of condo terraces the tight, clean order of beehives.

Most vigorous of the solo shows is that of Pauline Sanchez who makes conceptual orderings of objects along the lines of the late Eva Hesse. Sanchez wrings a poetic melancholy from rows of glass jars or large terrifying syringes imbedded in a matte blue canvas.

The New York group includes enough pleasure and aggravation to go around. For the conceptualists hailing the death of painting, there are robust, unrelenting paintings of the Machine Age by Collin Lee and spoofy trompe l'oeil views of huge carved birds in claustrophobic boxes by Cheryl Laemmle. For the pictorialists hailing the return of the figure, there are arcane linguistic exercises like Peter Santino's plaques bearing the repeated names of artists like Mark Rothko, as if there weren't enough names already tucked in every nook in the cavernous gallery space. (Ace, 5514 Wilshire Blvd., to March 31.)

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