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WESTSIDE / VALLEY : Ilene Segalove's 'Photographic Stories' Takes a Video Approach

June 20, 1993|NANCY KAPITANOFF | Nancy Kapitanoff writes regularly about art for The Times.

Ilene Segalove says she approached her new show, "Silent Conversations: New Photographic Stories" at the Julie Rico Gallery, as if she were making a film or video.

Collaborating with photographer Guy Webster--"a real lighting artist," she said--and a host of individuals who have been listed on a gallery wall in a "credit roll," the well-known video artist has created 20 framed wall pieces that tell thorny little tales of life with style and offbeat humor.

"It was an opportunity for me to integrate text with pictures and investigate formal issues as well," she said. "I'm attracted to the power of typefaces."

In a series called "Creation Myths," Segalove explores some less-than-glorious moments in male-female relationships using different typefaces to heighten each story. "Nutrition / Knowing" recalls a youthful experience of hers that began during a nutrition break at school. "Bandana / Seeing" conjures up the image of a '60s protest gathering, and reminds us that many of those events were just as social as they were political. "Hurricane / Acting" reveals the realities of one romantic getaway.

"These are snippets of moments that seemed monumental to me at the time," she said. "This to me is like being a scribe."

The computerized image, "Deep Sleep," and two other highly stylized works grew from Segalove's experiences of being hypnotized. The hypnotizers and the hypnotizees in each piece are objectified, appearing like characters from a '50s mad scientist movie.

"They are dramatic re-enactments of typical hypnotic techniques," she said. "Hypnosis was a good metaphor for love. Two people fall in love, enter a trance. God forbid one should fall out."

The totem of heads in "Deep Sleep" was built on one computer from three photographs. Another computer was used to generate the trance-inducing words, "Deep Sleep." Segalove hand-colored the final computer image with oil paint.

"It took two to three hours to make the picture. The letters were a living hell," she said. But like her use of an old typewriter font in one piece and an old-fashioned sign painting technique in another, she decided to try the computer imaging process because she likes "to ride all the vehicles," she said.

Four works composed of found imagery are illusionary visions. One of them features a photograph of a couple that looks like a promotion for a Hollywood romance, but it is from a news story about parents grieving over a dead child. The piece states: "Insist on a Happy Ending."

In contrast to their illusionary nature, Segalove describes these works as "ways for me to see what is really real. This is a very visual show, but it says image doesn't really count."

That notion is particularly true in her multiple-print works such as the triptych, "Lost Senses" or the eight-piece "Say Cheese." From amorphous thoughts rolling around her mind while driving around town have come these tongue-in-cheek spins on women's place in society. With a film noir look, they "read like comic strips or news of the day," she said.

On an outside wall of the gallery facing the parking lot, Segalove has painted a text mural filled with words and a couple of questions that should start visitors thinking even before they enter the gallery.

Ilene Segalove's "Silent Conversations: New Photographic Stories" is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays through July 4 at Julie Rico Gallery, 2623 Main St., Santa Monica. Call (310) 399-1177.

HUMOR IN ART: Ed Colver sees the humor in art, politics, religion, high-tech telecommunications and almost everything else. There seem to be no sacred cows among his wickedly funny assemblages that make up his installation, "Give Em Enough Rope," at the Art Store Gallery on Beverly Boulevard.

At the entrance to the installation, a large wooden cross sports the word, "art." Adorned with a paint brush at the end of the letter, "t," Colver titled the construction "Got Art Nailed to a T."

Known for his photographs, which have appeared on more than 300 record albums and compact discs, "Give Em Enough Rope" is Colver's first showing of his assemblages outside of his studio. Since 1968, he has collected objects that intrigued him. It is only during the last four years that he has transformed them into artistic statements.

"Give Em Enough Rope: An Installation by Ed Colver" is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays through June 25 at Art Store Gallery, 7301 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. Call (213) 933-9284.

CITY SCENES: Painter Samuel Kaplan emigrated in 1991 from the Soviet Union, coming to the United States and settling in Los Angeles. His colorful, expressionist oils and gouaches on view at the Heritage Gallery depict whimsical, almost surreal city scenes in his native country that counter the familiar images of a drab life behind the former Iron Curtain.

The streets are full of people in the joyous "Holiday on the Square." A couple kisses in the vibrantly red painting, "Spring Evening--Riga." "Cats and Birds" dot fanciful Russian rooftops. In fact, cats, birds and dogs are prominent in his compositions. So are images of himself painting the scene we see or taking part in it.

At first glance, one might dismiss Kaplan's work as little more than pleasant views of city life. On second look, his visions suggest more intriguing, unseen but lurking anxieties, and one artist's cheerful way of coping with them.

*

"Samuel Kaplan: Remembrance of the Former U.S.S.R." is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays through June 26 at Heritage Gallery, 718 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. Call (310) 652-7738.

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