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Santa Monica

The Galleries

June 16, 1989|MARLENA DONOHUE

Andrew Stevovich's paintings defy categorization and that's always good. The label of social realism doesn't quite fit his '30s garbed men and women crowding theaters and cafes. The women look like those straight-nosed, full-lipped damsels from Pre-Raphaelite art, but Stevovich distorts and flattens his figures just enough to give everything the doughy, unshadowed look of folk work. Details are edged with a fine black line that adds a fussy sense of precision and truth-to-fact, but you soon conclude that his ripe imagination has choreographed every stilted gaze and gesture. In "The Audience of the Club Durango" a dozen figures dressed in their post-Depression best are crammed into a tight agitated composition. Depicted only from the waist up, the sea of white faces looks furtively aside, their hands tug nervously at clothing, they whisper or lurk in the background to caress. (Tatistcheff Gallery, 1547 10th St., to July 8.)

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