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Mixed Media

Exhibit Meshes 9 Artists' Ideas Into Abstract Mini-Murals


Studio art, by nature, tends to be a solitary endeavor, a meeting of the artist with the muse in a given space, dealing with given materials. Attempts to break out of that inherent and lonely tradition, as represented by the current show at the CSUN Art Dome, can be intriguing even when not entirely successful.

In "Group Nine: Power in Collaboration," several area artists banded together in a common space to create pieces of an aptly mixed-media nature, meshing ideas into largely abstract mini-murals in the main section of the gallery. The integrated handiwork of Patti Akesson, Lynn Bassler, Merrilyn Duzy, Myra Gantman, Donna Geib, Midge Lynn, Barbara Nathanson, Norma Jean Squires and Anita Segalman is melded into singular artistic statements, and compromise is necessarily an aspect of the process.

Still, a kind of cumulative energy is mustered up in a piece like "Cycle Genesis," assembled from bits of painting, collage and other means and wrapped around a stubby column in the gallery's center. A long horizontal work, "Angle Genesis," with its milky washes and hints of skeletal imagery, reads like a scrolling narrative without an apparent story line.

If the results here seem somewhat less than the sum of their parts, it could have something to do with our access to viewing those very parts. The remainder of the gallery is devoted to examples of each artist's work, offering us an analytical perspective on the various creative ingredients in the stew.

The exhibit does provoke thought.

It also reminds that, unlike in the performing arts, in the visual arts, breaking through to find the power of collaboration is tricky, fragile business.


"Group Nine: Power in Collaboration," through Saturday at CSUN, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. Gallery hours: Monday and Saturday, noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; (818) 677-2226.

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