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Painter's Brush With Nature

February 22, 1996|JOSEF WOODARD

Veteran Ventura County artist Gerd Koch has long been intrigued by landscapes, mythology, and the metaphorical area linking the two. In his bold exhibition at Ventura College's Gallery 2, called "That Time, This Place," Koch displays his uniquely interpretive approach to rendering nature, sanding down the edges and amping up the color.

He aims a sharpened, painterly eye at natural forms with potential for symbolism--peaks, for instance. With "Mother Earth" and "Birth of Apollo," Koch takes abstruse themes and couches them in a vivid, swirling paint scheme just this side of expressionistic fervor.

"Temple of Apollo-Delphi" shows a lighter palette and a cloudy wash of brushwork, out of which a hint of classical sculpture emerges--antiquity in the fog.

Koch uses nature as a springboard for painting that nudges its way to the brink of abstraction, with an assured and personalized vocabulary.

At the New Media Gallery, Carlisle Cooper shows oddly flamboyant concoctions targeting a new figurative approach, but coming off a bit contrived. In his multimedia works, collage and visual echoes envelope the subjects, looking like photographs abused in the darkroom.

"Dedalus" depicts an astronaut afloat in outer space, in iridescent space. "Rock Musician" seems doused in the color-blinding effects of a light show. The effect is of art turned curiously, belatedly psychedelic.

Gerd Koch and Carlisle Cooper, through March 1 at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road in Ventura; 654-6400, Ext. 1030.

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