Los Angeles

William Brown

Felix Landau

This figurative painter has fielded an exhibi­tion of consistently good paintings that show his innate sense of the pictorial. Brown finds much relevance in the vision of the early part of the century and makes a use of the Intimist view of the world and the Fauve’s sense of independent color that seems genuinely contemporary. Within the show there are two approaches, that of Brown-small and that of Brown-magnified. In the smaller works the composition is tight with an interlocking of object and space into bite-sized shapes. Only in the larger paintings can the idea of a “back­ground” be sensed. In these there is an elegance of drawing that moves freely in the blue fields of water and sky. In Adam and Eve, the economy of model­ing on the figures and the intensity of drawing create a lyrical freedom throughout the paintings that infers completeness in what are really unpar­ticularized forms. In the smaller works a tautness replaces the lyric sweep and the forms and colors have the sense of being impacted and about to release. The figures become important, not as a human source for forms, but because their personality is so inextricably in­volved in the compositional event. Color, which is passive in the large paintings, becomes a steel spring device to en­snare the major forms and give a para­doxical importance to the incidental areas. On the whole Brown is one of the most resourceful picture-makers of the West Coast artists who deal with the figure, and his abilities have never shown to better advantage.

––Doug Mc­Clellan