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The Galleries

Santa Monica

March 31, 1989|SUVAN GEER

Once again Susan Rankaitis presents enormous photo-based images that combine bits and pieces of technology and human experience in a dark and light jumble of Cubist space. They mimic the fragmentation of the contemporary mind. Her newest works are increasingly lush, with metallic color adding a sensuous industrial patina. Color washes over fractured space in copper and electric blue fields in "Black Reach," adding a gleaming mystical illumination to an outstretched arm.

Most of Rankaitis' works resemble oversized composite negatives produced mechanically from strips of old W.W.II airplane footage. But besides their rapid-fire visual editing they have the dark, ominous quality of memories burned into celluloid while documenting disasters. Even her paintings retain that remnant-of-tragedy edge. "Blade Wing" juxtaposes images of two planes at lift-off with enlarged sections of a kite or wing. Hung to one side is a sheared-off piece of an actual airplane wing that speaks of the spit and bailing wire that keeps those crates flying and pragmatically contradicts the grace and magic of flight itself.

Rankaitis' fertile images suggest fragments steeped in the love/hate relationship we have with our modern world. They offer no solution to our fears and even hint darkly at our loss of faith in technological salvation. (Meyers/Bloom Gallery, 2112 Broadway, to April 22.)

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