Los Angeles

Paul Sarkisian

Aura Gallery

Recent paintings by Paul Sarkisian achieve an intense vitality of both color and surface structure that reflects a zealous enthusiasm for the physical realities of pigment. Working on the rough side of masonite on which he lays a ground, most often white, Sarkisian allows some color areas to ooze their way through undefined space, while other areas, sometimes built up with filler, form bold reliefs deep enough to cast shadow. Only occasionally do these areas take on the character of form; more often they retain the quality of the vigor of application. At times this vigor becomes obtrusive but, at its best, adds a new dimension to the energy of action painting. Pure color dominates. The 8 x 16-foot mural (“#10”) is a real tour-de-force of pigment handling, suggesting what Pollock might have done had he continued in the spirit of his experiments of the early ’50s. Sarkisian, however, involves a great deal more space than did Pollock, using it as an active foil against the arduous rhythms of color that move with Miró madness and gaiety. In smaller scale, “#6” is an entirely satisfactory resolution of color and sculptured areas. “#1” is a piece in transition from the earlier very small paintings in which the germs of Sarkisian’s present ideas are seen, and the larger canvases that dominate the show. Likewise, “#11” may be transitional to future efforts of the artist indicating the introduction of more studied form, and composition held together by more than apparent sheer chance.

Constance Perkins