San Francisco

Leslie Kerr

Dilexi Gallery

Kerr would seem to have an about-face in his painting since his last one-man exhibition at Dilexi Gallery, but indications of what he has been doing recently were seen at the continuous group exhibit at the San Francisco Museum last summer as well as the Invitational Show at the Legion of Honor earlier this year.

Kerr is now and has been in the past a most proficient painter. His ability to perform skillfully with meticulously constructed luminous pictures was, until recently, the very subject matter of the paintings. This is to say, the surface of the painting, how it looked, matt or shiny, abrupt or worked with care, was the total reason for the picture’s existence. The specific sensations these pictures announced were a restrained sensuousness and a pronounced reticence of expression. The new work takes advantage of the impeccable technique of his older approach but with important differences. The new work sensationalizes the old. Newer examples make sarcastic visual comments on the well polished surface of the pictures by deliberately inserted mistakes or fumbles of the brush. Kerr’s recent work is best described formally as “Pop Art,” although he does not fit comfortably with the other members of this group. Instead of commandeering a particular group of mass produced objects to immortalize in paint. Kerr has imagined his own group of objects and manufactured them on canvas. He has revived a futurist paint technique to help objectify his formal inventions.

James Monte