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ART : From Creating to Curating : Artists organize their own show. Works range from drawings to pieces made of things from the trash.

June 09, 1995|NANCY KAPITANOFF | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Nancy Kapitanoff writes regularly about art for The Times.

WOODLAND HILLS — In these tough economic times, when city funds to operate art galleries in the San Fernando Valley have disappeared, local artists are curating their own exhibits.

Painter Merrilyn Duzy, who worked at Artspace Gallery when the city's Cultural Affairs Department ran it, called artists she'd worked with there and others who "had the money, the time and were responsible," she said. Together they organized the show, "7 UP," at Artspace. It presents the very different work of seven artists.

The gallery is operated by the nonprofit Cultural Foundation, which makes the space available to artists.

"We endure, regardless of support," Duzy said. "Artists will always do whatever it takes to get their work out to the public."

In Duzy's sensuous landscapes, rich, bold and dark colors produce an atmospheric intensity that seduces and challenges viewers. That dual effect is especially evident in the red- and black-hued "Trummelbeck Passage."

Painter Norma Jean Squires continues to focus her attention on the universe and our place in it. Her works contain painted images of everything from scientific charts and visions of chaos similar to the fractals of computer imagery to the recognizable fire of "Fire Diagram." Squires said "One-Way Runaway Railway Over Many Sunsets" reflects her feelings about her own life now.

Airbrush-on-aluminum works such as "Cloisters" by Diane Destiny are based on photographs she took during her travels. Priming the aluminum with a wire brush to enhance its texture, she then applies transparent inks that intensify her quasi-impressionistic images' colors and reflective properties.

The subjects of Destiny's computerized images come from the grocery store. After scanning such vegetables as an onion, a cabbage, an artichoke and a pepper into her Macintosh computer, she turned out boldly colored, stylized pictures of each that retain a semblance of the edible while presenting appealing, artistic abstractions.

Computer-art aficionado Dona Geib continues to make unusual artwork using things she recovers from trash dumps. Her "SASE" series and the "Postage Due" installation consist of computer-generated images on small, unbleached muslin bags she found 15 years ago. The bags were made for mailing film to Kodak for processing. There are 77 of them in the installation with images that almost work as little models for larger prints, she said.

Midge Lynn describes her pencil-on-paper drawings as "dream images." She brings together two or more drawings in each work. As in dreams, where fragments of one's life randomly mix together, Lynn's combinations of images tell stories that aren't necessarily clear, yet make some offbeat sense.

Charcoal drawings and assemblage figures by Don Sanders clearly convey the struggles of being human. Anguished portraits represent "a painful period in my life--some things I had to face," he said. The three-dimensional "Saturn" depicts a figure breaking out of a lead skin. An untitled figure made of earth and black grout with embedded glass pieces opens to reveal several small glass figures inside--representatives of various human facets that we tend to hide.

Kathi Martin provides a more whimsical view of the struggle to be oneself in her display of a section of her major installation, "Dr. Martin's All-Purpose Vanishing Cream." Martin has strewn about imperfect, three-dimensional doll bodies that are joined to two-dimensional head images. A rambling, inventive text on a beauty cream that promises perfection is the perfect counterpoint to the dolls.

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Where and When

What: "7 UP."

Location: Artspace Gallery, 21800 Oxnard St., Suite 100, Woodland Hills.

Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. Ends July 1.

Also: Conversations With the Artists, 1 to 3 p.m. June 24 in the gallery.

Call: (818) 716-2786.

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