San Francisco

Joel Barletta

Dilexi Gallery

Barletta’s 1961 exhibition at this gallery consisted of a series of horizontally banded romantic landscape images derived from Monet’s wave series of 1880. Painted in dark low key colors used atmospherically and expressionistically, they had a certain interest due to the multiplicity of the horizon lines. In his current exhibition the horizontal landscape bands have been replaced by vertical and horizontal divisions with harder edges. The color, black, white, grey and dark brown, still atmospheric, is scrubbed on in a slightly flatter manner than his previous work. The organization of these paintings recalls the work of Theo van Doesburg, about 1920. It is quite common for artists to raid the past. Many of the best and most important artists do so today, but they also add something from themselves of importance to us. Barletta, however, completely fails to gain our interest or attention; one may even say in looking at these works that he appears never to have painted before—he shows so little insight.

Bruce Boice