Los Angeles

Group Show

Frank Perls Gallery

James Strombotne’s work stands out in this exhibition like the proverbial sore thumb. His feckless drawing and apparent disdain for pictorial unity seem to be offered as justified by man’s absurdity. The masked and spectral males are in worse condition than the grinning shes. Perhaps the affection with which he paints the mount of Venus will someday extend to the pictures themselves.

In choosing browns and violets applied striatedly within delineated shapes Robert Chuey’s paintings are akin to Picasso’s early Afro-Cubism but the billowing compositions swirl as an organic vortex. The painter seems to be pursuing an elusive naturalism. More expressionistic, a series of wash drawings, eventually culminating in a large oil painting, by Arnold Mesches recall Marie Powers in Menotti’s The Medium. The stout spectral woman is cloaked in black, rising like Rodin’s Balzac from the bottom of the canvas. Mesches paint-handling can get a little labored. The Three Fates is an intriguing dark painting by Sam Amato. Unlike the savage or indifferent depictions of previous times, these ladies are watching the goings on with the happy lunacy of the television addict. Not harpies but peeping Tammies, Amato’s loose painterly characterization has given a benign candor to the faces of destiny, an amazing act of courage in this apocalyptic era.

Depicting figures in an environment, William Brice draws elongated bodies jammed into rectangular niches. In contrast, James McGarrell sets the perceiver reeling by creating panoramic exteriors behind labyrinthian intrigues formed from silent people. The lithograph Wings II reveals two women at a table in front of great spreading glass windows; they have trapped themselves inside the jungle of their security. McGarrell commands a unique skill to manipulate vast spaces so that they are simultaneously psychological frontiers.

Rosalind G. Wholden