By Cate McQuaid, Globe Correspondent  |  January 26, 2006

Playful dollops

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Martin Mugar’s abstract, candy-colored paintings in the gallery at the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University are sheer fun. Mugar takes a square of canvas and applies massive dollops of paint, which gravity pulls downward in thick, textured licks. One pastel dollop drops over the next, casting shadows, shouldering into its companions. Each has its own gullies, stipples, and coils, concave or convex. The whole canvas takes on a pulse, the suggestion of a colored pattern that may be organic or formulaic; either way, it works.

Each painting is different. Some are denser; one is matte, rather than glossy. But all turn paint into sculpture, and all dream up a field day at the ice cream shop.