Santa Monica

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Mark Perlman has been living on the El Paso-Juarez border for several years, and the dryness and decay of his surroundings pervade his recent work. The paintings have a forlorn and lonely air, with arid, cracking surfaces and effortfully delineated, hard-to-decipher little objects generally situated at vast distances from each other.

In “Members,” a glass, a fish and some vaguely phallic forms float on a muddy, pinkish-white background. “Snakebone” is more crowded, with quasi-primitive arrangements of bones and bottle-like figures and some bitty things that might just be little movements of the brush.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. May 7, 1988 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday May 7, 1988 Home Edition Calendar Part 6 Page 11 Column 1 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 18 words Type of Material: Correction
The Mark Perlman painting exhibit at Roy Boyd Gallery in Santa Monica will close May 21, not May 1, as reported in Friday’s Calendar.

There is an unresolved quality about these and other paintings that seems to stem partly from a clash between the painstaking care involved in building up the surfaces and the just-dashed-this-off-because-it-occurred-to-my-subconscious impulse behind the mark-making. Allowing seemingly random objects or signs to find their way onto the canvas can be a seductive process; the trick is either really to let go or to allow an artistic super-ego to step in.


Perlman’s untitled works on paper seem much more immediate and unforced at the same time that their impact is more concentrated. Done in blurry, dusty chalk and other mixed-media ingredients, they have a desolate, buzzing presence that seems to combine a state of mind with a state of nature. Pod-like black objects create a swarming effect in two of these works. A third contains bleak crowns of cactus and scrubby hives on a dull yellowish background. (Roy Boyd, 1547 10th St., Santa Monica)