San Francisco

Mason Welles

Quay Gallery

Welles, better known as a collector and con­noisseur than as a painter (Mr. Welles was responsible for the Ben Heller col­lection being shown at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor recently), is exhibiting his paintings as a group for the first time. The work relates to the color ambiences in which a number of East Coast artists in both New York and Washington are involved. Welles’ large brushed images are usually di­vided by softly painted stripes floating over both the image and the thinly painted ground. The larger works suffer from a certain lack of color resonance that can be attributed to an overly dry application of oil pigment. Dry, thinly applied paint skins are certainly valid when consistent with the idea and ob­ject being depicted; Welles’ pictures, however, appear under-worked if only by virtue of their surfaces. The smaller works, on the contrary, are nicely con­ceived and executed. A possible explan­ation could be the unprepossessing scale in which the larger pictures were conceived; as yet Mr. Welles has not made an adequate transformation from small to large.

James Monte