San Francisco

John Little

Worth Ryder Gallery, U.C. Berkeley

Little’s oil paintings rehash New York School abstract expression­ism, stripped of its interest in space, form or color. His working modules are small patches of color, vigorously brushed helter-skelter to achieve an amorphous compromise between all­over painting and a centralized state­ment. His paint is muddied, for no ap­parent reason. Little’s abstract expres­sionist gesture seems to be all pooped out from the exertion it takes to over­work a canvas. His collages fare a bit better, although most of them are con­vincing demonstrations that paper is no way to get a composition when one is incapable of painting it. A few col­lages do not endlessly repeat a torn paper square but use it to create a structure. Blue, White and Black, White Plane, and Postscript have a better understanding of space and more freedom in the use of materials than is shown elsewhere. Blue, White and Black also conveys some of the stiff­ness of a woodcut or stencil in its rigid­ly allocated spacing which gives it more character than it probably deserves.

––Joanna C. Maglott