Los Angeles

Robert Johnson

Aura Gallery

The excellent space available in this new artists cooperative gallery in Pasadena accommodates unusually well the large and often very handsome paintings of Robert Johnson. Seldom, outside of a museum, is it possible to view in ease a comprehensive exhibition of this kind. Almost in anticipation of the opportunity to be adequately shown, Robert Johnson seems to have achieved a new maturity and sureness of expression. The thin color he has used for some time flows freely through great relaxed areas of space and the circle form that began to emerge a year or more ago has become a convincing image. Seascape With Black Sun, Phalanx No. 2, Late March—all are elegant pieces. Usually Johnson leaves a large portion of the canvas white; usually there is an accent of rich full color; usually large areas of muted color expressively define the mood. On the other hand it is a black line, controlled and yet freely dripped that develops a theme against a solid area of subtle color in Etruscan. Or, again in Persian Festival the entire canvas is filled but color alone speaks. One can expect to find a few less successful pieces but there is enough here for those who have feared that Abstract Expressionism has been exhausted to take heart again.

––Constance Perkins