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DOWNTOWN

Martin Gunsaullus paints well enough that he could afford to dispense with the gimmick that’s currently gumming up his pictures. Working on unstretched canvas tacked to the wall, Gunsaullus paints lyrical figurative passages, then flanks them with messy patches of explosive abstraction.

The figurative sections, which tend to be dreamy suggestions of figures or landscapes, are rendered in dark, muted colors reminiscent of Arthur Dove. Nibbling at the corners of these moody visions are heavily impastoed splatters and splotches--it’s as if Gunsaullus cleans his paintbrushes on the very painting he’s just completed. Wonder why he’s defacing his own work? I suspect there’s some weighty theory afoot.

This series is an outgrowth of Gunsaullus’ interest in the Native American Indian culture at Point Conception, and a few of these paintings include beautiful passages. A blue form plummets through a rainbow of color in “The Fallen Angel,” while “The Zenith” depicts a comet streaking through a night sky that’s like purple velvet. Too bad these lovely images are often overpowered by the callow dribbling and drabbling that crowds around them. (James Turcotte Gallery, 3517 W. 6th St., to April 27.)


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