Los Angeles

Richard Haines

Laguna Beach Art Association Gallery

Richard Haines, born in Iowa in 1906, has been on the southern California art scene since the early 1940’s, both as exhibitor and teach er. His latest exhibition is very colorful, and is about equally divided between figure studies and works based on either still-life or landscape themes. In all, the picture plane is very shallow, and all of the works have a decorative, pleasing quality, based primarily on carefully controlled color harmonies and simplified design. The level of abstraction varies, ranging from an almost realistic decorative rendering of building forms (“Noyo” ) through a work with freely brushed strokes defining the light falling on the surface (“Torero”) to an almost completely non-objective work of varying red areas of paint interworked with black calligraphic strokes (“Eclipse at Noon”).

The figure works tend to separate into two planes of existence; a foreground plane holding the figure, and a background plane that is almost always completely flat, either including decorative patches of paint that may become objects such as fruit or flowers, or just areas of color. Against these, standing isolated and alone, are simplified figures, gazing into a space which is not definable. In three of the works, “Beach Boys,” “Island People,” and “Springtime,” the background is worked more closely to the figures, so. that the physical isolation is not so immediately apparent. But the sense of psychological isolation is always present; this sense of deeper psychological communication is the element that brings these works out of the merely decorative and into the area of serious art.

H. W. Weeks