Los Angeles

Paul Wonner and William (Theo) Brown

Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara

This dual show displays watercolors and drawings of Paul Wonner and paintings and drawings of William (Theo) Brown. These two artists have individual, rich vocabularies with which to articulate their observations and render their images. Wonner, a native of Tucson, Arizona, received most of his art education at the University of California, Berkeley. During his development he has accepted the permissive standards of abstract expressionism, and before that of pure plastic art and of cubism. He is now considered a figurative painter. He has also sweated through the workshop of disciplined classroom drawing of myriads of plaster casts and life drawing, to which he feels deeply indebted. He has an impressive knowledge of structure and his drawings display the quick self-confidence and sureness which can only come from a painter who knows what he is doing.

The finished resolution of his quick structural sketches are the result of his skill and mastery. They are direct, clear observations done on the spot. He is especially concerned with the quality of expression which the drawing assumes. His watercolors are sensitive and restrained and have a convincing timeliness.

Brown is a vigorous, spontaneous painter whose work has great vitality and a restless strength. He is a brilliant colorist, a powerful draftsman, and packs his paintings with action and challenge. He uses color in an unconscious, uninhibited manner. There is psychological insight in his paintings as well as fresh creative inventions.

Paul Wonner’s Reclining Figure, casein on paper, is a beautifully conceived figure with a remarkable play of light and shadow over the female torso. Brown’s Interlude is a package of rich color with a painterly surface, and strong emotional content. They both have mature creative powers and understand the strength, vitality, and variety of their fellow man and his relationship to other men and his environment.

Harriette Von Breton