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The Galleries

Wilshire Center

February 26, 1988|CATHY CURTIS

Frank Gehry's willful squiggles put the lie to the notion of architects' drawings as the sober products of a spatial concept and a straight-edge. Drawings of fish-motif home accessories and building facades wrestle with the task of capturing the creature's squirm and silhouette in three dimensions. Gehry chases a shape similar to a kitchen range exhaust hood over a sheet of paper, hounding the image until it becomes the plausible core of the Winton Residence. Layers of wobbly, interpenetrating rectangles are baffling shorthand for a play of volumes in one of many sketches for the Chiat/Day building.

The twitching line also spits out a couch that looks like a bent column of vertebrae, an easy chair with an uneasy surface and other furniture Gehry made up in cardboard. These bulky, rugged pieces are all about texture and mass and degrees of density. The sides of a chair have the honeycombed delicacy of thin pieces of cardboard separating tiny triangles of air. Seats are rows of ruffly-edged rectangles marching in wide vertical strips, like the wheels of a military tank (whence the humor of "Sherman Lounge" and its brethren).

Sections of corrugated squeeze together to form giant loopy shapes that support the top of a coffee table or serve as the spine of a "Bubbles" lounge. A chair called "Carrumba" has a fan-back made with the gaily extravagant crunch of cardboard honeycomb and a seat fashioned out of concentric cardboard circles with a hole in the middle. This is furniture on which to rest the eye, if not the posterior. (Drawings at Kirsten Kiser Gallery, 964 N. La Brea Ave., to March 31; furniture at HoffmanBorman Gallery, 912 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, to March 5.)

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