Susan Freudenheim

  • Patricia Patterson

    The easiest thing to like about Patricia Patterson’s paintings is her subjects, but that is not what makes them important. The strength of the work lies in the artist’s sophisticated technique of building space with color, and her rapid, fluid painting style. Until the past year, almost all of Patterson’s work has portrayed a small community of people in the Aran Islands in the north of Ireland. These simple folk are often shown in the kitchen, near the symbolic hearth. In Mary and Jigs, 1988, a woman who looks to be in her late forties sits at a table smoking a cigarette, while her dog stands

  • Raul Guerrero

    Until recently, the paintings of Raul Guerrero have been light, whimsical, stagey, and somewhat forgettable. Although they shone with sensuous brilliance, the seemed to lack conviction. The new paintings and drawings demonstrate a marked change. They focus on a segment of the night life of Tijuana; the bars and bordellos from the poor people’s barrios. Guerrero renders his images with a loose, generalized style; the compositions are simple and centrally focused, with uncomplicated action. He employs a fauvist palette, working in flat planes of single hues, rarely mixed. Somehow, Guerrero’s use

  • Rick Stitch

    Without falling into cliché and seemingly without guile, Rick Stich makes Impressionist-inspired paintings—primarily still lifes and landscapes—that are remarkably fresh. Stich prevents the work from becoming mere imitation by using a highly personalized brushstroke and, on occasion, by creating a kind of penetrating perspectival depth. A small tempera-on-silk entitled Reflection: Pond, 1986, seems at first like a too-direct quote from Monet but, on closer examination, the work conveys a welcome tension between pure surface and illusion.

    Stich’s paintings tend to be small and intimate, and their

  • Dan McCleary

    Dan McCleary’s recent portrait paintings and pastel drawings share an affinity with works by the old masters. His small oil paintings of Michael Abatemarco, for example, are strongly reminiscent of Renaissance portraiture. McCleary depicts his subject only from the shoulders up, yet reveals much about the person’s character. Abatemarco looks like a boy in late adolescence, with an unlined, almost innocent face that nevertheless is marked by a look of defiance verging on belligerence. In one of the works in this series, the youth’s face is portrayed almost straight on, with just a slight turn to

  • Eric Snell

    The work of Eric Snell, a 35-year-old artist from Guernsey, England, suggests a revival of process art: questions of how the work was made assert themselves throughout the exhibition. All of the pieces are simple in form and often exquisitely rendered. The largest body of work shown here was the burnt-wood drawings. When he arrived in La Jolla a week before the show, Snell spent a day gathering wood and local brush. Using these, he made three large-scale wall installations and several smaller drawings on paper. For each, he burned the wood with a torch, and then used the charred stick as his

  • Manny Farber

    Manny Farber’s paintings haven’t changed much in the past few years, they’ve just gotten better. The works are more subtle, both in color and form; the palette has become richer and the application of the paint more graceful. This exhibition of new works shows Farber making some of his most beautiful paintings in recent years.

    Still life is currently Farber’s favored medium, and he has breathed new life into this traditional art form. Each of the pictures, all of which are painted with oil on board, is composed of a scattering of objects laid out on a background of one or more colored panels. In

  • Janis Provisor

    Janis Provisor infuses an edgy, nervous quality into her new paintings that counterpoints their seductive beauty. Although these works might be read as lush, elegant abstractions, their imagery recalls thorny landscapes of thick, leafless brambles. With their mixture of oil paint and metal leaf—gold, silver, or copper—Provisor’s paintings bring to mind the memory of Byzantine murals or medieval manuscripts. In contrast to traditional painting’s illusionistic depth and perspective, her images play along the surface, like shimmering reflections on water that remain visually impenetrable. Interspersed


    OPTIMALLY, ALL WORKS OF art are experienced repeatedly. In reality, none are seen more frequently than those in the public arena, which are alternately appreciated, disliked, and/or endured by an audience that often is not a voluntary one. The Modern work of art in the street, park, or square is in a sense an oddity, for the esthetic vocabulary it at least attempts to insert into its context may not be familiar to many of its viewers. Outside the protective walls of the artist’s studio, the museum, the gallery, or the collector’s home, art is revealed daily to a large audience that as often as

  • David Avalos, Louis Hock, and Elizabeth Sisco

    “Welcome to America’s Finest Tourist Plantation”—this was the slogan that taunted the citizens of San Diego from the rear advertising panel of nearly one-half of the city’s buses during the month of January. It was art with a message inextricably tied to a specific place and time, designed by three local artists: David Avalos, Louis Hock, and Elizabeth Sisco. San Diego is a city with a boosterish attitude, based mostly on the climate and waterfront; it loves to call itself “America’s Finest City.” It is also a city that reportedly relies heavily on illegal immigrants for its support workers,

  • Steve Ilott and Kenneth Johnston

    Sometimes in an exhibition one comes across works by two different artists that, seen together, provide a context for each other that illuminates them both. Such was the case with this two-person show. Although Steve Ilott and Kenneth Johnston did not produce their work collaboratively, in preparing for this exhibition they exchanged ideas at length via the telephone and an extensive correspondence. As a result, Johnston’s quasi-figurative cardboard sculptures and Ilott’s dark abstract paintings complemented each other more profoundly than the work in a typical two-person show.

    Ilott’s paintings,

  • Janet Cooling

    “Brave New World” was the title of this exhibition of portraits of women by Janet Cooling. The show concentrated on her recent paintings and drawings, primarily from the past two years, but also included a small selection of paintings from the early '80s. The later works are so superior, both in technical sophistication and approach to subject matter, that it was almost painful to see the early work. Cooling's paintings have evolved from very flat, gaudy images painted on black backgrounds, resembling psychedelic posters from the '60s, into richly textured, painterly portraits that evoke real

  • Bert Long

    The ’50s revival is becoming so ubiquitous that it’s beginning to seem as if the aura of that period has never left. The work of Bert Long, a painter/sculptor who lives and works in the small town of Shepherd, Texas, just outside of Houston, brings this point home. The images in Long’s recent paintings, from 1982 to ’87, demonstrate his continuing affection for the pretentious goofiness of a particular aspect of ’50s art: that whimsical juncture in the devolution of style that saw kitsch transformed into high camp, the Jungian archetype into a cocktail cliché, the Chagall bird into a corporate

  • Nancy Barton; Leslie Ernst; Erika Suderburg

    Three sound and sculpture installations were shown recently at this artist-run alternative space in downtown San Diego, each of them with an underlying social and/or political theme. Nancy Barton’s The Power of a Singular Vision used a multimedia portrait of the artist's father to represent the clash between idealism and economic reality. Leslie Ernst’s Get Dressed played off the image of a typical department store dressing room to raise issues about the plight of garment workers. And Erika Suderburg’s Trip without Travel—Irrigation Channels commented on the propagandistic nature of the conventional

  • Elizabeth Murray

    Elizabeth Murray’s works of the last seven years are composed according to contradictions. With most of them constructed of multiple canvases, usually in layers, the format is neither painting nor sculpture but a little bit of both. Images are often fragmented like puzzle pieces, but the parts never really fit together to make a synchronized whole—the temptation to mentally fit the square peg into the round hole is always present. And as a further complication, although these works might initially appear to be abstract, they are always filled with imagery—sometimes obvious, sometimes not. Some


    RECENTLY, THE SUBURBS HAVE REASSERTED their impact on contemporary vision. More than a nostalgic quirk, more than more ’50s memorabilia, they have become a point of departure, a diving board, for images of life in the ’80s. Suburbia, of course, is not a new subject for art; there have always been poets, writers, painters, photographers, and architects who have pursued an interest in it. Yet it has been more of a consistent, significant subject in literature than in the visual arts, where it has been approached most often flabbily and almost without purpose, as if it were a kind of passive Sunday

  • Joe Guy

    Joe Guy subscribes to a kind of transcendental spiritualism that has one foot in the Middle Ages and one foot in the process art of the ’70s. Working slowly and in extremely gradual steps of development, he creates wall-mounted painting-objects that have the sculptural quality of reliefs. Each of them is made by stretching several layers of paper across an arrangement of frames of different sizes, applying a mixture of powdered graphite and Rhoplex to the surface with brush and palette knife, and finally coating it with clear wax and burnishing it with a smooth stone. The result is some very

  • Jack Mims

    I realized when I saw this show that Jack Mims’ paintings have always intimidated me, and that this time they did not. It was a relief and a pleasure. Mims is an allegorical painter, and his images are extremely literate, personal, and dense. They combine primitive mythology—allegorizing the artist as a shaman—with direct autobiographical detail, including portraits of friends and descriptions of actual incidents. But they also borrow from a vast range of historical art, including references to major and minor European artists and tribal cultures from around the world.

    Faced with the paintings,

  • David Bates

    David Bates is an extremely prolific young painter. During the past few years he has produced a constant stream of work, with annual one-person shows in New York, Houston, and Dallas (his hometown). In Dallas, however, Bates has shown only graphic work in recent years, and his new paintings on view here prompted some fresh thoughts on the work.

    Bates’ pictures of cowboys and “barb-que” stands might seem exotic outside this region, but in Dallas such sights are infinitely familiar, and in nearby Louisiana or Arkansas Bates’ swampy fishing scenes ring true. Although the work does not always suffer

  • Harry Geffert

    At age 52, Harry Geffen is a modern-day Pre-Raphaelite, although he began his career some 20 years ago as a Modernist abstract sculptor. Today, working exclusively in bronze, his sculptures illustrate moralizing symbolism through detailed realism. The centerpiece of this show, The Creation of Eve’s Consciousness, 1985–86, was a large multileveled sculpture dominated by a life-sized man and woman; this piece, along with a group of smaller works (mostly excerpted vignettes), revealed Geffert to be both reactionary and visionary. Working in a traditional medium and using straightforward metaphors,

  • Alfred Leslie

    A small selection (five) of Alfred Leslie’s oil paintings and 34 of his black watercolor landscapes from the series “100 Views Along the Road” (1977–83) clarified the remarkable contrast between the starkness of the artist’s well-known portraiture style and the warmth of his intimate views of the American landscape. I had always admired Leslie’s early abstract painting, but felt no rapport with his portraits; to me, they’ve always seemed rather cold and unfeeling. I was therefore struck by the romantic softness of the landscapes. Though technically as complicated and sophisticated as any of