Los Angeles

Frederick Wight

Esther-Robles Gallery

Highly personal and outside current contemporary expression, the recent paintings of Frederick Wight follow three distinct themes. There are the figure pieces: “Two Figures, Four Figures.” Perhaps these are the most disturbing of all the works for each can be discussed only in terms of coexisting polarities of thought and feeling. Bound together in pulsating rhythms, the figures lie motionless and apart, heavy and yet floating without gravity, existing in a timeless immediacy, a cold romantic color prevailing. The moon series are another thing. Here the illusion of fantasy is more constant and the color so restricted that one perceives only light and darkness. Only the brush treatment changes with the image from canvas to canvas in an attempt to evoke different references: “Descending Moon, Moving Moon, Crescent Moon.” The palm series follows with an incredible wealth of variations. There is the “Dancing Palm” where the pattern of nature is forced into a designed circle on a square; there is the dark, heavy, tight-centered “Palm II”; the full “Black Palm”; the “Red Palm” that pushes a blue ground away from it, out to an orange frame. There is the “Evening Palm,” delicate, weightless, Redon-like, and finally the fantastic “Twin Palms” where the trunks of the trees become erotic figures and the fronds great feathers. In orange, blue and yellow something like a frenzied Indian dance takes place, yet not frenzied at all. The real becomes unreal, the unreal real with amazing conviction. It is the disarming directness and complete honesty with which Frederick Wight reveals the deep resources of his own imagination that make these paintings extremely valid. Little else matters.

Constance Perkins