VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND : Cryptic Curves Define Sculptures

For his show at the Childress Gallery, sculptor Frank Lauran applies an apt, if cheeky title, "Figuratively Speaking." Lauran's figurative work is nudged to the brink of abstraction and colored by Cubist notions about space and anatomy.

With his diversity of ideas within the figurative realm, Lauran seems to be extending an experimental hand, creating cryptic, curvaceous beings--with curves in varying degrees and directions. He's an artist in search of a focus, but fully engaged in the process.

"Willa" and "Winged Woman" are nudes drawn more from the art world than from any human model. Faceless and generous of thighs, "Desert Rose" has a warmer, softer surface, thanks to its New Mexican sandstone. With pieces such as "Sea Swimmer" and "Cumulous Woman," Lauran extends the reference points of the female torso, blending ideals of femininity with natural forces.

Rosemary Rodie's nudes, in charcoal and pastel, provide suitable companion pieces on the gallery walls. Her art has an appealingly hazy, unpolished air, smacking of spontaneity, and with "Drying After Bath," echoing Bonnard's domestic scenes.

There's a lot to look at here, figuratively speaking.

* Frank Lauran through Jan. 28 at G. Childress Gallery, 319 E. El Roblar, in Ojai; 640-1387.

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