Los Angeles

Morris Broderson

Ankrum Gallery

Large paintings dominate Broderson’s latest output. Their subjects are drawn from Japanese legends, but like West­ern legends, to which they relate, their psychological overtones, modified by the personality of the artist, create a kind of folk-Surrealism that makes in­terpretation difficult. For example: Brod­erson, who is deaf, has introduced hands in sign-language positions into the paintings. Such hand positions re­late to Buddhist mudras and simultan­eously to Broderson’s personal situa­tion. Unlike the usual mystery-for-its-­own-sake of Surrealist painting, Broderson’s work makes a serious challenge to the viewer to apprehend his pictures intellectually. It invites a kind of pic­torial examination that will irritate those raised in the tradition of a purely pictorial statement.

Complication does not ruin the pic­tures. As paintings they show consider­able gains. Broderson has improved his ability to orchestrate large areas; The Rape of Doku-Roni would trans­fer to a large wall without any diminu­tion of impact. In fact it would be gen­erous if someone would give Broderson a wall, since his technique should go well with such monumental undertak­ings. He continues in his taste for flat, designed shapes, modeled from within, and remains relatively indifferent in his use of color and suggestion of light. He has learned more about negative area, and in some paintings it is so eloquent it makes us wish that others were less packed with event. A stillness, which is very personal to Broderson, remains his most absorbing characteristic.

––William Wilson