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Santa Monica

Veteran Bay Area sculptor Fletcher Benton long since has graduated from the machine-driven kinetic art to make impressive, amiable geometric-abstract pieces that hold still. A current exhibition is large and ambitious enough to stand for a small museum show. Several massive 9-footers in rusty metal are as macho as Richard Serra but a lot less intimidating.

Benton seems to work like a designer. Take a rectangular piece of illustration board, cut a half circle and bend it out. Now cut a wig-wag hole in the circle and bend that out. Lookee it stands up all by itself and makes interesting angles and shadows. Send to the welders and enlarge.

You catch Benton thinking about other artists. A red piece remembers Claes Oldenburg’s Mickey Mouse head. A couple of maquets have passing flashes of Michael Todd’s eccentricity. Neater of course. And there is quite a bit of admiration for the painter Al Held with his galaxies of interpenetrating circles and angles.

This is good sound professional work. If its lack of emotion and specific program bothers you just think of it as a presidential candidate. (Dorothy Goldeen Gallery 1547 9th St., to Nov. 26.)

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