Los Angeles

John Hultberg

Esther Robles Gallery

Until very recently it was possible to view the paintings of John Hultberg with the distinct hope that he would never tire of depicting the dream-like ice-floes agitated by jams which erupt jagged flat planes into glowering skies. At least until we had tired of them, which at the time seemed unlikely. A change has taken place, and in view of former adulation of the artist’s vision, it is difficult not to be bitter and a little belligerent at his indifference. This is not to say, however, that the change is not for the better; it is merely that it took place before satiation had set in.

The new Hultberg includes an addiction to dramatic blacks which often engulf the canvas, releasing only fragments of color and only suggestions of forms which seem to resent their secondary role. “Television Sky,” a very recent collage painting, relies heavily upon the limitless horizons theme of previous years but now overly-activated with elemental images—both veiled and untampered—peering from a cluttered maze below and a flattened curtain of sky above. This and several other smaller pieces are most rewarding, but the recent monochromatic lithographs completed on a Fellowship at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop only lightly reflect the admiration that marched before.

Curt Opliger