Los Angeles

Phelan Awards

Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park

There have probably been other “lean years” since 1935 when by a bequest from the late California Senator Phelan these annual compe­titions for native California artists aged 20–40 were initiated. But the uniform dullness of this show could inspire some fallacious but intriguing conclu­sions: either the vitality in southern California painting has come from out­siders moving in on the territory or ages 2–19 and 41–80 are the only good years for painters. Dominantly a show of wearisome academic abstractions, any five paintings from the monotonous whole would have been equally suited for the awards as the actual winners. As a matter of fact, this year the judges, James W. Foster, Jr., Rex Brandt, and Thomas W. Leavitt dispensed with designating the prizes in an order of merit: instead five $300 awards were given to Walter Askin, Donald Leake, Wesley Johnson, Channa Davis and Guy Wil­liams.

Rosalind G. Wholden