Los Angeles

Erle Loran

Comara Gallery

Recent paintings bear witness to an amazingly fruitful period of product ion that Erle Loran has recently experienced. The large canvases, most of which have been done in the last six weeks, exhibit a new boldness. There is indeed, a feeling of excitement and involvement that heightens the visual experience afforded by these abstract pieces. The spontaneity with which Loran works is balanced by an unconscious sense of order. It is a feeling for the use of space which reflects his long interest in the works of Cézanne and his admiration for Franz Kline. Loran sees, as typical of American contemporary painting, the aim to keep alive the relation between positive and negative space, between image and ground. This he does with considerable variation in form. “Image in Reds” is an exceptionally fine canvas. The variations in color are exquisitely handled. Countered by a minimum use of blue, the full range of reds works with the unusual juxtaposition of shapes employed to create a feeling of constant excitement. In “The Inner Door” the interchange is achieved almost entirely by color. A loosely-brushed grill of pure blue continually exchanges position with a rectangular red area. Thus any static relation of image and ground is negated. A series of paintings that relate to the atmospheric layers of outer space introduces a sequence of green bands. Here, as in other canvases, Loran does not limit himself by any strict adherence to his original visual stimulus. The piece is allowed to become whatever the spontaneous process of painting demands. Any literary reference is subordinated. In fact, the compulsion to tie down “meaning” that is imposed by titles, becomes distracting and even detrimental to the pure visual experiences of strong color, broad strokes of the brush, thinly textured surfaces and areas of bare canvas that evoke a wealth of sensations. These are works that engage in new adventures, provoke new esthetic responses and at the same time draw on the wealth of background and concentrated study that is the reservoir of any highly experienced artist.

Constance Perkins