Los Angeles

Charles Hinman

Feigen/Palmer Gallery

Hard-Edge painting seeks expres­sion through control and careful tech­nique. But purity and sterility may be synonyms, and many artists explore variations on the approach in an attempt to stay on the fruitful side of the line. One of the most successful practitioners of a varied approach seen recently is Charles Hinman, who paints three-dimensional works. His first ap­proach is to give each flat area of color a stretched canvas of its own, so that the shape, the color, and the canvas are one. He then hangs the can­vases in relationship to one-another, sometimes uniting felt relationships with a line of yellow string. This ap­proach also brings the surface of the wall into play so that it becomes a part of the composition. # l is composed of two large triangles in red and blue, hung in such a way that they become a vertical rectangle cut from upper left to lower right by an uneven band of the wall. It works beautifully. Libera­tion is composed of three large rec­tangles, hung with their lower corners touching and their axes, if projected, meeting somewhere below the floor. Their far edges are connected by a line of yellow string. This composition does not work; the ensemble falls apart visually, but one suspects that different results might obtain if it could be seen from a greater distance. Two other works, both smaller, composed of three rectangles arranged at right angles to each other, are very successful.

The other direction Mr. Hinman explores involves varied-shaped can­vases stretched over partial hoops to give a non-flat working surface. The composition is then composed in relationship to the outline shape and the bulges of the canvas.  Ingot is an outstanding example. In these works, the limitations of the shapes possible to a tightly stretched canvas are a unifying factor which Mr. Hinman successfully exploits. These works seem stronger and more unified than the works which utilize separate shapes.

––H. J. Weeks