San Francisco

John Haley

Worth Ryder Gallery, U.C. Berkeley

What is enjoyable about Haley’s work is his deep concern for painting rather than the search for a brand image. His paintings reflect a deliberate and classical temperament in conflict with the expressionist style he has adopted. A sound painter, he can never sufficiently relax his guard to encourage what might be described as the necessary series of coincidences to free his work from the circumspect mark. Like Guston, he appears to be obsessed with certain ideas of Mondrian in organizing his pictures. In the earlier paintings small brush marks are piled hesitantly, touch by touch, to form the image. They create a sensation of the vibration of light and fall of shadows. In the later paintings he adopts the palette knife which clarifies his decisions and, unlike the brush-marks, creates a tangible surface to the paintings.

John Coplans