San Francisco

Dicron Injeyan and Richard Crawford

Distel Gallery

This gallery, another in the ever-increasing list of vanguard galleries on the suburban perimeter of San Francisco, affords the best possible hanging space of any gallery in the Bay Area. The two rooms are provided with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing a maximum amount of natural light to enter throughout the day. The physical characteristics of the gallery make it impossible to overcrowd the current exhibition of paintings by Richard Crawford and Dicron Injeyan. Both artists can be described as “Pop” and written about in terms of “commonest subject matter,” ironic social protest, unpainterly paint handling and commercial art technical devices. It is, however, more rewarding to note their differences rather than the obvious similarities. Injeyan, the more technically able and formally precise of the two, works through problems with delectation, as seen in the painting Masterpiece, consisting of a well-drawn facsimile of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus on a white canvas with small painted rectangles of color pertaining to each figure. The painting is a very adequate combination of visual punch coupled with sensitivity of execution. Injeyan’s other works freely include the multiplications of various images commonly seen in the work of Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. Injeyan’s artistic debt to Jasper Johns seems freely acknowledged and is used as a creative starting point which will hopefully develop on more independent lines in the future.

Crawford’s work, equally as interesting as Injeyan’s, also elevates banal and vulgar imagery (in this case, mail order catalogs) to the realm of art. Crawford’s work differs from his co-exhibitor’s calm repose, as seen in Go, a large work filled with advertising slogans of the lowest level combined with images of grimacing models displaying the baubles seen in Johnson & Smith catalogs. The free-hand lettering plus the objects depicted are scattered pell-mell over the face of the canvas as if they were dispersed by a monumental cannon shot.

Both artists, born in the mid-thirties, are recent art school graduates; this is the first extensive public viewing of their work. They are to be congratulated on the depth and strength of this, their first exhibit.

James Monte