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Seborovski's Work Has Obsessive Touch

February 02, 1996|DAVID PAGEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Carole Seborovski's compact, emblematic fetishes at Angles Gallery hang on the wall like paintings but, like sculptures, invite your fingers to trace their richly textured surfaces.

Overrun with nipples, slits and sharp protrusions, these explicitly sexual and handsomely crafted objects have the presence of personal mandalas about unspeakable obsessions.

They seem to be embedded in a life whose days are filled with discipline and whose nights are spent in equally disciplined rituals. Intimate to the point of being embarrassing--yet tight-lipped about specifics--Seborovski's curious reliefs balance the unfathomable passions of a loony mystic against the flat-footed insistence that such craziness is perfectly normal.

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One of the strangest aspects of the artist's low-tech, labor-intensive work is that it seems to belong to the 1920s or 1930s, when Surrealism was just beginning to get a foothold in modern consciousness. At that time, references to sex could be direct and still be shaded with many other meanings.

Without a hint of being retro or nostalgic, Seborovski's deeply kinky things turn back the clock with uncanny ease. Under their influence, history is just an illusion that does nothing but dull one's urges.

* Angles Gallery, 2222 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 396-5019, through Feb. 17. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

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Superhero Souvenirs: Since Modernism began sometime last century, artists have tried on various roles with increasing frequency, sometimes casting themselves as mystics, laborers, teachers, shoppers, moralists or aesthetes. At Richard Heller Gallery, Jennifer Moon slyly proposes that artists are superheroes--cartoon characters with superhuman powers.

Titled "The Startouchers," her exhibition consists of costumes for Sapphire, Princess Clair V and Red Nurse, a group of human mutants led by Deedra Swan, Moon's alter ego. Also included are models of the trio's Malibu compound and stealth jet, plus explanatory wall labels that fuse fact and fiction, like those at the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

One problem with the young artist's promising work is that it would work better as a performance.

Presented as a gallery exhibition, it casts viewers as fans confined to a souvenir shop. While that might be better than being left out altogether, it's not nearly as much fun as being a superhero, or at least seeing one in action.

* Richard Heller Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, (310) 453-9191, through Feb. 17. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

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