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The Galleries

Santa Monica

February 19, 1988|MARLENA DONOHUE

Tom Lieber is a faithful student of the spirit if not the letter of Kandinsky in paintings and monotypes that aim at empowering pure paint and pure gesture with the same expressive potential as recognizable imagery. Dark vertical areas of pigment coagulate on either side of paper and canvas. These lateral bands throw out explosive ribbons of rich color that convey physical engagement or outright combat. The filaments meet in the middle, melting into one amorphous field that all but oozes with unity and reconciliation. That's the good news. The bad news is that Lieber is so naturally adroit with agitated gestures and Frankenthaler-ish fields that the format tends in several works to fall into formula. (Tortue Gallery, 2917 Santa Monica Blvd., to March 12.)

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