Los Angeles

Richard Hunt

Felix Landau Gallery

Hunt’s work, welded sculpture from salvaged materials, is marked by a high degree of professional competency and ambition. His strengthening development is traceable in samples from the last four years. The earliest, “Extending Forms with Arc” (1961), “Organic Construction” (1961), and “Standing Form III” (1962) serve to define the general area and intent of his abstract, mute formalism. The eye is forced to survey slowly, so controlled and serious are his statements. Empathy is all. Set are the motifs of linear linkage, a tidy concern for detail and appropriate terminating endings, and his blending of mechanical and organic vocabularies.

The major part of the show (his first West Coast exhibit), is taken up by truncated columnar pieces capped by slightly flaring, wing- or plant-like, knuckled growth. They are overlaid by vague references to Classic torsos and winged figures, to busts, and blossoming things. The two versions of “Antique Study,” “Hybrid Form,” and the three variants on “Hybrid Figure” shrink within their closed contours, slow and somewhat ponderous, and suggest a dense compression of weight and energies. These are fertile introversions, compared to the assertive flowering pod/head of “Curling Hybrid,” which borders on the spiked surreal, and the largest piece, a shined Nike, “Minor Monument IV.”

Creeping monumentalism and grim determination disappear completely in the best and major pieces with a radical and appropriate redirection to the linear. Special mention must be made of the superior studies (pencil drawings) for similar sculptural ideas. The streamlined, articulated forms, unbounded by environment, slip in a rubber stretch of notched and flanged limbs, related to “Opposed Forms” and “The Chase.” In these, lightweight organic masses spring on attenuated legs and gesture most knowingly and with a slightly brittle sensuosity. The standout, “The Chase,” sails, running rapidly in a bounding repeat of directional arcs. Off the ground and given a Baroque twist they suggest a decidedly more original and challenging pursuit.

There is yet much anonymity—the sculptor is twenty-nine—but the promise of authority also.

Fidel A. Danieli