Los Angeles

Gregory La­Chapelle

Ernest Raboff Gallery

A curious aspect of the recent sculptures by 33 year old Gregory La­Chapelle is their immediate adjust­ment to all tastes. The small cameo-like reliefs portray mysterious red cliffs har­boring within their depths precisely modeled miniature cliff-dwellings of Pueblo Indians of the American South­west. At first they seem uncompromis­ingly traditional but before long a kin­ship to the emphatic realism of “pop” art conditions the former impression and arouses doubt as to the artist’s intent. His explanation: a simple con­cern with archaeology which he at­tempts to maintain on a light, amateur level of interest not devoid of humor. Lachapelle meticulously defines each brick in his reconstructed cliff-cities and although the only real variety re­sults from the studied division of pol­ished cliffs from the invariable lead­-blue sky, it is enough to restore one’s interest. Occasionally, the oval and circle compositions appear as table-top pieces in which the artist makes a ce­ment cast from an aggregate of diverse materials including animal teeth and bones, shells and other sea debris, metallic junk, and many unidentifiable items which masquerade as frightening Bosch-like things best left undisturbed. The wet, oily finish in deep black-brown colors suggests a putrescence fortu­nately beyond human experience. There are other works to demonstrate LaCha­pelle’s range of imagination but the cliff-dwellers steal the show.

Curt Opliger