Los Angeles

Group Show

Cowie Galleries

Bearing their certificate of acceptable acade­mism (Royal or National) as if it were a seal of Good Housekeeping product approval, the paintings here divide themselves evenly along lines of old school innocence and contemporary slickness. They ignore the axiom that a lack of pictorial invention or inspiration equals little viewer response. Homely subject matter and illustrative senti­mentality abound in old and new: F. T. Johnson’s cattle ruminate contempla­tively around the ol’ campfire while Burt Proctor’s Indians prove him to be the fastest palette-knife west of True and Argosy.

Stylistic brand names appear: Ameri­can Impressionism by Mark Fisher, echoes of Redon in the sulphurically lit fashion genre of Klein, as Kester re­calls Eugene Bergan, and as Watson re­calls latter-day Surrealism.

Surviving in this inundation of poverty-stricken content, the landscapes of Petrovitchev, Wendt, and Kosa ra­diate honesty, and Willet Foster and Sergei Bongart compound their repre­sentational observations with flourishes of elegant paint application. One senses a measure of personality behind these paintings.

––Fidel A. Danieli