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Emblems for All Time

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The exhibition title may be a mouthful, but the art’s appeal is simple. “Mask Symbology--A Life Continuum From Ancient Time to and Beyond the 21st Century,” now at the Lankershim Arts Center, presents art that uses masks as an expressive point of departure.

The subject is a deep one. A time-honored and cross-cultural tradition, masks touch on areas of religious ritual and, on a basic level, the transformation of identity. They can seem like arcane, yet relevant, emblems in this age of techno-culture.

Stanley Wilson’s work seems to be the centerpiece of this show. His exuberant “Ceremonial Masks,” made of clay with fiber tendrils, are ready to spring off the wall. Charles Grant’s mixed-media pieces--which freely combine fabric and such found objects as tree bark and twigs--have the rawness and intuitive flair of African art.

Yvonne Cole Meo uses masks as focal points in her paintings and prints. In her “Generations,” a group of masked figures represents the cultural heritage passed down from one generation to the next.

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* “Mask Symbology” through June 14 at the Lankershim Arts Center, 5108 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. Thur.-Fri., 1-4 p.m.; Sat., 2:30-6 p.m. (818) 752-2682.

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CUT ‘N’ PASTE-UPS: Collage, that 20th century art medium and metaphor, has more margin for creativity than many other artistic media. There are countless ways to cut and paste, and one’s materials can come from a range of sources, from yesterday’s news to fabric scraps. Variety is its spice.

Sure enough, the current exhibition by members of the Collage Artists of America at the Finegood Gallery is a tapestry of an affair. With some 116 works on display, the show becomes a kind of collage in itself. All in all, though, it’s a tad too pleasant, supporting the aesthetic of collage as a Sunday afternoon’s breezy lark rather than a radical approach to artistic expression.

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If a lack of intensity keeps the show on the light side, there are notable pieces scattered throughout the gallery. Among them are Chue-Heong Chow’s “Strange Solution"--a simplicity of formal organization accounts for the charm of its stacked cup shapes; Ellen Leven’s “Opus 45, No. 1,” one of the pieces in the show that makes apt references to music; and Robert Doty’s “No Goldfish,” Virginia Sandlero’s “Makkinru,” and Charles Winebrenner’s “McD,” which are all alluringly elusive.

* “The Cutting Edge,” through June 22 at the Finegood Gallery, Milken Jewish Community Center, 22622 Vanowen St. in West Hills. Mon.-Thur., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; (818) 587-3300.


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