Los Angeles

Lenard Kester

Cowie Wilshire Gal­leries

Lenard Kester’s popular appeal is based on a kind of romantic imagery that makes use of the recognizable ob­ject but surrounds it with the unreali­ties of the dream world. Although his style draws heavily from both Social Realism and Surrealism, strictly speak­ing, it is neither of these. Its nostalgic mood has been compared to that defi­nition of poetry as “emotion recol­lected in tranquillity.” Here popular taste and the taste of the contemporary art world part company. Neither such a definition of poetry nor its translation into visual images is acceptable as apropos of today’s intellectual or artis­tic thought. It seems rather to be symp­tomatic of an escapism—of a rejec­tion of reality and the meaning of life. Kester is, however, a fine painter, capa­ble of producing some exquisite pas­sages of color and texture. If anything, he is too capable. Even the process of painting becomes a cliché. It is redun­dant as are the chairs, tables, gates, lamp posts, fences, doors, architectural fragments and even the nuns in their gracefully blown habits that occur and recur with little more than decorative meaning. They set the stage but no drama takes place.

Constance Perkins