Los Angeles

Bruce Barton and Al Sarvis

Flea Market West, San Diego

Bruce Barton’s work illustrates again the central (and often commented on) problem of the San Francisco figure painters: how to install two vastly different paintings in one rectangle. Although this gives the best examples of the school an exquisite nervousness, it’s really a risky business. It’s like drinking sea water. Only once in a while does a person get away with it. Barton works strongly and occasionally elegantly in this mode, and although he never seems to come up with the big painting, there is never a lot of mere gesture either. Neither he nor Al Sarvis, who shows some art school woodcuts of no mentionable merit (a matter of employment rather than art) have been served too well by their gallery, which has imbedded their work in rooms impossibly cluttered and fussy.

John Reuschel