Los Angeles

Piero Averse, John Leeper, Dorothy Brown, Margo Hoff, Edward Kitson, Laverne Krause, Max Kahn, Eleanor Coen, Alice Asmar, Leonard Edmondson, Ann Wolfe, Finkelstein and Rolf Nelson

Adele Bednarz Gallery

One of the area’s better collective exhibitions, well-mounted and an interesting survey of the two-month old gallery’s widely divergent stable. The Italian painter Piero Averse is having his first showing on the West Coast. Highly stylized, Aversa’s still-life painting is a fine combination of excellent draftsmanship juxtaposed against flat color surfaces. His “Symphony No. 4,” a white pot with a white spring growth terminating in flower shapes is both Oriental and organic. Set against pale yellow background tiles with a non-dimensional border reminiscent of Persian motifs, the device of over-glazing with stippled umber enriches the work rather than detracting, lending an appearance of antique Oriental lacquer panels, pleasing but decorative.

John Leeper’s recent painting “The Dreamer,” an oil collage on burlap, creates textural effects on geometric patterns, some built up, which gives an abstracted, cubistic patina to the nebulous nude figure. The delicate watercolor florals by Dorothy Brown are charming, sensitive and pretty. Somehow they seem out of context when compared to her previous artistic output, as they lack the visual excitement and content that she is capable of producing. Unfortunately, many better-than-average artists suffer a similar fate when showing slight works in large group exhibitions.

Chicago painter Margo Hoff has several works on view including “Machine Man,” an expressionistic statement, and “Mid-Air,” its stylistic antithesis in oil collage. San Francisco painter Edward Kitson’s “The Merry-go-Round,” a meticulously painted oil depicting a desert wasteland with an old woman seated on an abandoned and rotting carrousel amid broken fence-posts, is referential in subject and technique to Andrew Wyeth’s thematic works. Laverne Krause, Max Kahn, Eleanor Coen, and Alice Asmar are also represented, and there is a fine selection of color etchings by the veteran artist Leonard Edmondson in the print section. Sculptors include Ann Wolfe, whose “Lamentation,” an agonized, attenuated welded bronze and copper figure and “Milky Way I,” in steel and silver welding attest to her masterly craftsmanship; Finkelstein and Rolf Nelson who works in wood, stone, bronze and endomosaics with equal facility. Although uneven this is a better-than-average group show. However it is difficult to determine the exhibition policy when a new gallery offers such a wide variety of styles, techniques and media. Emphasis seems placed on the familiar and the safe—there was no Pop or Op.

Betje Howell