San Francisco

Gene Via­crucis

Artists' Cooperative, Sacramento

The subdued harmony of these paintings (collages) and the taste­ful manner in which they are shown makes it hard to believe that they were done by the same heavy hand that de­signed the display of the California Crafts Biennial Exhibition at the Crock­er Art Gallery. Though far from dainty, these are more in keeping with the Via­crucis who has been steadily growing in stature in what cartographers term “Su­perior California.”

Viacrucis uses collage and paint as one medium, building up surface and design simultaneously in paintings that incorporate such diverse materials as Chinese newsprint, lottery tickets, paper cup tops, overlapping rectangles of tex­tiles, and various commercial letter transfers. With skill and insight, plus a knowledge of industrial chemistry, he concretes his materials into a solid slab overlaid with a tough, transparent tis­sue, glazes with a milky wash to modify any harshness, then further treats it for permanence.

The result is a subtle body of works suggesting an amalgamation of all the cultures of the ages and the basic unity that has preserved them. With a design vocabulary based on rectangles and cir­cles, tactile and visual textures, and translucent earth colors in a low minor key, he has, by means of repetition and gradation, developed a mesmerizing visual language in tune with the time­less chant of medicine men (who so deify found objects) whether they be Pitcairnese, Tibetan, or 2nd Street met­ropolitan.

E. M. Polley