Los Angeles

Alfredo Ramos Martinez and Joaquin Chinas

Dalzell Hatfield Galleries

Martinez exhibits both strength and clarity in a number of works from the estate of the late Mexican artist. Rich in carefully formed color moulds, clearly linear in outlined intent, formal and evocative in muralesque strength and character, the works are apt counterpart to the slick drawings of the young Chinas. Standout oil of the Martinez group is “Puro Mexicano,” a literal forthright creation where oil layers are carefully built of soft golden ochres, siennas, cadmium green overtones, all encased by rich ultramarine outlines. “La Joven de Cuernavaca” exhibits an Indian girl formally moulded before a cascade of loose flowers and a distant cerulean mountain. The tempera studies are more illustrative with stylized figures before more romantic vistas. The monumental “Las Gemelas,” two sepia women carved from a burnt umber ground, relief-like faces toned sienna amidst hair of sculptured currents, gives some hint of the monumental frescos of Martinez at Scripps College, Claremont and Santa Barbara Cemetery Association. Gem of the Martinez exhibit is in the back room, a sensitive charcoal pastel drawing of “Betrothal,” the simplicity, peace, loving and formal grace of a young woman and man touches the foundation of the artist’s spirit and our own.

Joaquin Chinas displays a number of popular Mexican drawings. Over a subtle soft charcoal-graphite ground form are transfixed innumerable linear movements giving the surface quality of each drawing a self-conscious glaze crackle. The small head of the praying “Jesuscita” is one of his best works where sensitive form and feeling is not obliterated by the etched half-tone screen. “La Familia” and “El Muchacho” give evidence of a fine talent seeking an easy cliché, where more intensive searching of motif, composition, and content might yield a richer, truer benefit.

S. C. Schoneberg