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Art Reviews : Historical Sketch of Academic Works of Edward Dugmore

October 14, 1994|DAVID PAGEL

Edward Dugmore is a first-generation Abstract Expressionist who is often referred to as a second-generation member of the New York School. Although relegating Dugmore to the less prestigious status as a second-generation artist is incorrect (he was born in 1915 and began exhibiting regularly in 1950), it accurately conveys the sense that his paintings are derivative.

His abstractions rarely have the presence of original discoveries or inventions but instead seem to be personal translations of other, more influential artists' formal breakthroughs. At Manny Silverman Gallery, a survey of works on paper from 1948-85 presents a quick, historically interesting sketch of Dugmore's consistently academic explorations.

Most of the 40 modestly scaled works here consist of attentive applications of lessons learned from Still, Rothko, Gottlieb and Motherwell. Dugmore's tendency to make slight adjustments and to fine-tune others' techniques regularly results in fully resolved works that often lack tension and energy.

A colorful triptych and a series of black-and-white ink washes depict schematic landscapes and register Dugmore's connection to Bay Area painting, which traditionally has maintained a strong link between abstraction and representation.

Several gestural acrylics from the early 1980s are unconstrained by the studiousness that otherwise constricts Dugmore's drawings. Looser and more fluid than the other works exhibited, these simple geometric configurations are translucent and seem to be lit from behind. They suggest that persistence might not win one a place in the spotlight but may pay off with quiet satisfactions.

* Manny Silverman Gallery, 619 N. Almont Drive, (310) 659-8256, through Oct. 22. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

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