Los Angeles

Moses Soyer

Heritage Gallery

The paintings included in this display arrive as a mild surprise since the name of Moses Soyer has been associated with the banal illustrative style appropriate to the New York figure painters of the thirties and forties. In recent years Soyer’s work has taken on a much more textural and poetic surfacing. The newly manifested freedom of his brush stroke has initiated both intimacy and vibrancy. Though the loss of his former precision has added drama, it is, unfortunately, still only skin deep.

In spite of the maturity of execution now in evidence, Soyer only occasionally penetrates to where he draws convincing blood. Sober, contemplative, serene, his subjects remain mannequins and though possessed of somewhat individual personalities, they are posed with all the familiar gestures and bland stares appropriate to the May Company windows. Andrea and Felix, a 1963 oil, is perhaps the most successful of the current show, though Girl in Green Stockings also demonstrates Soyer’s potential. A few red chalk drawings included suggest Renoir’s quick sketches of plump standing nudes.

––Curt Opliger