San Francisco

Robert Elsocht

Hollis Galleries

This showing of some twenty-seven oil paintings by Mr. Elsocht displays a type of representational (sometimes border­ing on “abstract”) expressionism that has become a cliché of the little com­mercial galleries. Here, in overall dis­position, are primly conventional scenes of boats moored at the piers of rural fishing hamlets, autumnal forests, moun­tain landscapes, and San Francisco cityscapes (with cablecars), all executed with a contrived slap-dash of heavy im­pasto, slickly glossed with high varnish. In the entire show, one could not find a single work that rose above the level of the commercial, or a square inch of canvas that contained a color modu­lation or an exploration of texture, sur­face or “space” that could be desig­nated as a technical or a conceptual insight.

These are paintings turned out for the interior decorator in an idiom that might, a decade ago, have been journalistically dubbed “middlebrow modern.” However, the middlebrow has moved on a pace or two, leaving the greeting card industry as the optimal market for these banalities. Some titles are: Tea Garden, Summer Resort, Mountain Pass, Golden Woodland, and Powell Street.

––Palmer French