Los Angeles

Rico Lebrun

Silvan Simone Gallery

Considering “identification with the freight of flesh” the starting point for drawing, Lebrun hoists and trundles great mounds of rump and torso like a burly longshoreman pacing out a day’s pay. But there is little other than mus­cle power behind this current sampling of drawings, for Lebrun, who can create bastions for the universe from rocky bellies and mountainous thighs, dissi­pates the structural grandeur of his wash technique by superimposing anec­dotal linear elements. The two works which defy his simper of irrelevant elaboration, White Body and Maya Torso are heroically architectonic. In Maya Torso the broad bands of black at bra and stocking level (instead of adding an erotic note) create the analo­gy of post and lintel construction. The re­maining drawings approach low comedy through the grossness of the lines that peep into the private places of these hulking human islands climbing and sprawling across one another in awk­ward bestiality. If the intention was mockery, the artist has achieved only a trivial success. Or perhaps it is a Zola-like concept of truth which inspired Lebrun’s depiction of man’s nakedness and his love-making as the grotesque fumbling of jaded fleshpots. The meat of these creatures hangs from scrawny bones with as singleminded an obedi­ence to the law of gravity as their fur­tive complicity in the urge to couple. But Lebrun, who may view himself as prophet for a populace about to witness the Flood, has weakened his visual jere­miad by denying any interior life to these creatures. If the artist is sounding a warning, he has simultaneously stifled any response because the anonymity of Lebrun’s realism makes it necessary to see the action as taking place to the “other fellow.” The drawings do not en­courage becoming your brother’s keeper.

––Rosalind G. Wholden