San Francisco

Joel Barletta

Dilexi Gallery

Barletta has reduced to the fundamentals of abstract painting. He is five paces forward from the artist facing the blank square of canvas wondering what he can do to make it more perfect. Pace one is a ninety-degree angle reiterating a corner of the original, and forms a rectangle. Pace two is a curving corner suggesting the organic, and opposing the first form. The third is the recognition of the space between these forms, the distance varying from painting to painting; thus this becomes a designed form, too. Pace four is the introduction of the element of color, giving the three forms substance or void, sometimes expressing chromatic variation, sometimes tonal progression. And the fifth pace is the consideration whether to paint the picture upright, or sideways, thus varying the gravity of the different relationships.

The exhibition is an orderly serial index to almost statistical possibilities, but is formulated by intuitive intelligence, not determined necessity. This work is a logical step in Barletta’s progress as a painter. One phase was the horizon picture, including somber expressions of mood. Then verticals were added, obviating the landscape associations. And now the total divorce from romanticism and the expression of the formal. It is still possible to translate to possible literary interpretations, but at a much more abstract level; for example, the organic is related to the geometric, or, perhaps, man to machine. Barletta’s is a small vision of modern harmonic.

Knute Stiles