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Animal Spirits 

"Endangered Species," Larry Bell

Wednesday, Mar 5 2008

An exhibition pointing at the disappearance of numerous fauna doesn't simply preach to the converted; it can prompt the converted to action and can awake the convertible. Many of the works in "Endangered Species" are good enough to inspire viewers' care for their subjects, even when those subjects are objects of extravagant fantasy. Daniel du Plessis' exquisite neo-Baroque renditions, Moira Hahn's neo-ukiyo-e confabulations, Laurie Hogin's tigerabbit hybrids, Peter Zokosky's Renaissance-portrait apes, Robin Palanker's beasts in the bedroom, Marion Winsryg's television "interview" with zebras and tigers, the magical little sculptures of Sarah Perry — all these are motivated by an empathy for animals so fervent that they convey a sense of blanket endangerment: The animals go first, then we do. Similarly, the more straightforward depictions, such as Alia El-Bermani's dignified dead-bird still lifes, Ed Tarvyd's near-clinical drawings or the smooth-contoured rhino and cat sculpted by Gwynn Murrill, embody an easily grasped fragile vitality. "Endangered Species" surrounds you with the subject at hand, and thus with the problem at hand. Pete and Susan Barrett Gallery, Santa Monica College, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; Tues.-Fri. noon-5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; thru March 8. (310) 434-3434.

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Larry Bell, AAAAA 114 (2007)

No problem in Larry Bell's new works on paper, the latest to issue from his unique vacuum laminator. These crackling, iridescent collage-drawings shimmer and shift with an intensity not seen even in Bell's better-known glass sculptures. Clustered around a centered rectangular form that functions as a nucleic void, the brittle forms change color, fold back on themselves, flap into empty space and onto each other, and generally behave as if struggling against an imposed decorum, like less-than-perfectly behaved choirboys. From the mouths of those babes issue the most gorgeous sounds, or in this case colors — although these elusive, glowing hues are so ephemeral you almost hear them. Frank Lloyd Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., No. B5B, Santa Monica; Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; thru March 8. (310) 264-3866.

  • "Endangered Species," Larry Bell

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