Los Angeles

Courtenay Moon

Esther Robles Gallery

This is Moon’s second one-man show this year—the first was held in March at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, where he also exhibited in the 1961 winter and the 1963 Contemporary West Coast invitationals.

A painterly painter, Moon has been developing his personal idiom for 25 years—although he made no attempt until comparatively recently to enter the highly competitive exhibition scene.

An action painter in method, his abstractions show unusual discipline plus strong emotional impact. The thematic compositions are held in quiet areas of tones by broad, forceful strokes, much as color areas in stained glass are sustained in leaded framework—but without the static effect, as his canvases seem to be continuously in movement.

The strokes are broad, there is no fussy calligraphy or detail. Spatial areas are juxtaposed with reoccurring imagery. His subject matter shows a preoccupation with everyday familiar objects; tables, chairs waiting to be used, chairs long in disuse and noble chairs slowly disintegrating. These symbolic chairs become imbued with a quality of humanism, heavy with psychological portent. Other canvases point up different pressures—the slipping of traditional beliefs, crosses shifting from firmly grounded faith, or the velocity of a wheel brought suddenly to a crashing chromatic conclusion.

This exhibition is an almost overwhelming statement on the acceleration of today’s living patterns—the continuous meshing of gears, the tensions, pressures, forms, shapes of space and involvement, with time running out.

Betje Howell