Los Angeles

Gene Viacrucis and Katherine Page Porter

Hale Galleries

A most tasteful selection of small canvas works in patterned collaged squares and rectangles gives Viacrucis a kind of presentation unlike many contemporaries that assume surface gusto or flagellation is art. The emergence of figures, ovals, shapes of a high and subtle order awake in the viewer a more than casual persuasion; orientalized black rubbed pasted hints of calligraphy are studded with other images or hieroglyphs which give notice of a highly organized work that intones a causative emotional or intuitive response. “Victory Garden”’s soft squares vie with oval flower forms that flow over enamel, mat or flat grey-black areas—ridges are created at times by a palette knife edge, and a bloom is evoked by half-dry enameled or glazed pigment patted to afford veins of a blackened leafy form. “Yen Belt” is one of a number of long panels where patches of coarse and fine cloth as well as button forms and gesso are tastefully arranged around half or full ovals, a mask or map of a felt intent. In “Dress Rehearsal” a figure emerges from a mat flat canvas, sensual calligraphy overlaps varied gesso patterns, and a kind of personalness emerges in costume; over scumbled areas of great tactile variety, glazed black india lines running over and through other consciously evoked surfaces, a kimono follows rubbed collage aggregates that seem to offer the moment between silence and revelation.

Katherine Page Porter shows soft moulded casein and tempera over masonite works, rubbed or softly muted, carefully arranged balances of overglazed color areas held together and pierced by dark black ivory lines that pressure through figures, vases, flowers, and tables. “Cleo” is a form subtly transfixed by planes—although a right foot extends below the frame edge, the rest is well composed giving a luminous kind of scumbling where palette knife builds striated areas for high light. “Juene Fille” finds planes of color and linear currents swirling through a reclining young nude girl built up in planear activity, the figure as usual holding its own against an active ground. “Bouquet of Yesterday” is a handsome piece where through glazed planes the forms and blacks play a baroque Braque configuration over a charcoal drawing. Concentration could be extended during the concluding phases of each piece, where the over-all sensual excitement would yield a distillation of only the most perfect selection in balance, form, pattern, and line.

S. C. Schoneberg