Los Angeles

Reginald Neal

Primus-Stuart Gal­leries

Reginald Neal’s canvases appear at first to be derivations from Rothko in which rectangular fields occur one on another in close color ranges of low intensities, defined largely by value con­trast. A textural treatment of pigment adds to the illusion of melting boun­daries and contributes a uniquely sensu­ous quality to canvases otherwise basically classic in spacial order. Most curious, however, are the conceptual as­sociations established, partly by image and partly by title. In the Beginning and A Quiet Place seem simple, silent reservoirs of strength. Orange Con­stellation introduces the star symbol, Banner for a Crusade, the flag. Seem­ingly sequential, both symbols occur in Big Flag, Green Flag, Battle Flag, Blue Flag, and the imagery of Rothko is forgotten. In Duality the artist comes to something quite strange and personal. The large piece, actually two canvases, is bound into a single unit by a sequence of borders. On each, the star appears in an irregular form, bounded by a circle on a rectangular ground, red on the left side, blue on the right. An ambiguity of meaning compli­cates what was at first simple and fa­miliar. But, in the end, the novelty of Neal’s image seems to have been ex­plored completely and exhausted––­possibly not. Although his drawings and lithographs appear redundant (Old Fragment, a drawing dated 1962, echoes closely Celtic Apparition, an oil of 1961), he may find new resources compatible with his present style. 

Har­riette von Breton