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Hollywood

June 03, 1988|MARLENA DONOHUE

There's a diligent, internal intelligence to bee hives and coral reefs. For years sculptor Ann Page has been making fragile paper and stick constructions that convincingly tap this instinctive will to order.

Seeped in the Oriental philosophy of functional items that are also beautiful objects, Page's weird bundles of tied sticks and pod-like compartments of hardened, barnacled paper look like they might have once served a useful purpose. "Neither Dust Nor Lead" has a spindly lateral arm of thin wood reeds. From one end of the arm dangles a cocoon shape formed of bowed wood filaments glued with shiny daubs of white paste, tied with skeins of weathered string and draped by taut white paper.

The piece suggests the abandoned home of a strange life form or a primeval pendulum scale. The beauty of this and all Page's works is that she meticulously works out every ephemeral detail, down to the last rice paper wisps lingering on armatures like the remains of some diaphanous shell.

Page repeats the hexagonal pod shape in complex woven "baskets." Like the lacey matrix "Retina," which is formed of hand-tied blackened ribbon, these allude to cellular units, primitive traps or ritual containers.

Page's works are as naturally feminine and sensual as any of Judy Chicago's or Georgia O'Keeffe's, but they have an organic quality and a spiritual bent that takes them out of the rarefied air of "fine art" and into the world of artifacts. Also shown is a handsome, conceptual installation relating to ritual and Page's favorite leitmotif, repeating cycles. (Space Gallery, 6015 Santa Monica Blvd., to June 25.)

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