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Art Review

Lots of Eclecticism, but Little Discipline

June 13, 1998|DAVID PAGEL

In terms of photographic techniques and subject matter, Toni Wells' first solo show includes a little bit of everything.

At Newspace Gallery, black-and-white baby pictures hang next to colorful snapshots of middle-aged punks and grungy pretenders. Glorious sunsets and spectacularly back-lit clouds are juxtaposed to graphic depictions of road-kill, in various states of decay. Blurry images shot from televisions compete with ghostly multiple exposures, whose painstaking darkroom labors are evident.

The human form undergoes all sorts of distortion in many of Wells' 46 prints. A series of multi-part panels ranges from the seriousness of "Crucifixion" to the silliness of "Fishface," and includes the formality of "Geometry" and the mutant cartoonishness of "Spiderman."

Unfortunately, the 26-year-old photographer's eclecticism does not include the discipline to stick with a technique or subject long enough to do more than demonstrate her curiosity about the world. In this case, a little bit of everything adds up to not much of anything.

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* Newspace Gallery, 5241 Melrose Ave., (213) 469-9353, through June 30. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

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