San Francisco

Jack Ogden

Belmonte Gallery

Serio-comic paintings by a young artist who sees deeper than most pop artists yet retains a sense of humor, in a newly expanded gallery which is now the nerve-center of Sacramento’s struggling art world.

Ogden combines heraldic symbolism and rococo imagery with flat, uninteresting color and an individual approach to genre to sum up the cornball situation of America’s middle class public—its self-conscious chauvinism, self-generated regimentation, its “star” cult and peculiar interpretation of freedom. He treats these subjects with a penetrating mixture of anger, impatience, ridicule and sympathetic amusement. Although his touch is light, he does not lean toward frivolity. What he most needs at this time is a braking device to hold him to a disciplined paint surface.

Like Thiebaud, also from Sacramento, with his “as man eats, so is he” attitude, Ogden has a special field here, “the glories of mediocrity,” and is inclined to deepen it with studious research. But his decorative idiom, so apt for his subjects which are placed in a state fair environment, is a dangerous one in that it could lead him into grindouts by the carload, at the expense of both sincerity and craftsmanship.

Ogden pays his respects to Rembrandt by including his little girl and frisking dog from The Sortie of the Banning Cock Company, as incidental figures in Art and Pool; and to Courbet, The Artist in his Studio, in A. C. Art.

E. M. Polley