Los Angeles

James Yoko and John Olt

Ramon Lopez Gallery

Absorbed with the images of reflected light, James Yoko, a Dayton, Ohio painter, is slowly evolving an aesthetic that may in time prove highly effectual. His allegiance is now torn between the experimental uses of collage and the painterly qualities of Monet. The Abstract Impressionist pieces shown date back to 1959 when, as in such canvases as Shadow in a Pool, the artist was working with a short hatching brush stroke that built into vertical rhythms of color, usually complementary, occasionally breaking into a full range of hues. The rhythms continued in subtle variations until in Image of Autumn (1960) Yoko introduced wood collage. Here and in Driftage the wood fragments seem arbitrary and, if anything, destructive to the original image. But in Wind Cluster (1961) the incompatability is broken; the movement of the collage and the rhythm of color are closer to being one, achieved in part by a feathering out of the brush stroke itself. In November (1961) the stroke has almost lost its identity, letting color overlay color in a more gentle manner while, to the now restricted use of wood collage, large steel staplers are added. The effect is still too consciously conceived but Yoko seems to be working with the aim of fusing illusionistic light reflection with actual cast shadow. It may be possible. The same experimental concern for material is reflected in the metal sculpture of John Olt, formerly of Dayton but now employed by Sierra Engineering in Sierra Madre. Olt has done some technically fascinating pieces. Using coat hangers laid in successive rows to model form, burned over with bronze, eaten with acid and built into exciting surfaces, they have tremendous sculptural potential. But the subject matter involved too often hovers precariously between the genre and the decorative. The same weakness often threatens the validity of his works in wood or fibreglass. Study in Wood is a bit tricky in that its sequences of round and ovoid forms are so conceived that it may be used vertically or as a reclining figure. Sculpturally the latter is more successful.

––Constance Perkins