Los Angeles

John Mason

Ferus Gallery

Recent works by John Mason show the artist moving from the columnar sculptures with which he has been identified to a radically different and severely formal style. Mason has been concerned simul­taneously with inventions in both the Cross Form and the column or Ver­tical Sculpture. Particularly within the untitled vertical pieces there has been considerable variation: there are the totem-like structures; there are those that twist on their axes; there is the introduction of frontality; there are great rough units that are almost or­ganic in nature; there are even vaguely geometric shapes. In the cross forms, the variation is less evident, but there is significance in the artist’s juxtaposi­tion in these pieces of the loosely handled outer contour of the cross with the consciously controlled cut slab of the inner cross. In spite of these modi­fications, the pieces shown in the ma­jor gallery maintain a unity of feeling, both in technique and concept. Only when one moves to the most recent works displayed in the outer patio does the impact of radical change take place. Although idea and scale remain similar, the visual experience is completely altered by a shift to modeled form that is as formally restricted a the former sculptures were uninhibited. Triple Cross Form is the most suc­cessful. It is yet to be seen what Mason’s new approach will lead to. It could be exciting; it could be arbitrary.

––Constance Perkins