Los Angeles

Clinton Adams

Felix Landau Gallery

Most of the paintings in the present exhibit contain a vertical band which halves the canvas and upon which is a circle placed centrally and partly covered by the two side areas. These elements provide a field day for interpretation.

Alexei Jawlensky once wrote that “precisely because the artist creates according to intuition—that is, more or less instinctively—he says more than he intended to say.” There is a fringe of experience still waiting after the physical work of art is completed. By extension therefore, the creative process is not complete without the appreciator, and it behooves a spectator to keep reviewing the series of Adams paintings, trying repeatedly to take more and more from them. This process is not the same as that of projecting meanings onto a susceptible universal form, as one could do with a geometry textbook open before him.

The Adams show has substance because he has imbued his paintings, consciously or not, with their story. Color reinforces themes as do the incandescent hues in “Corona,” and the quivering pastels and yellow sphere in “Solstice.” Communicating on the psychological level, the colors in “Aureola” vibrate optically and the circle in “Insignia” is placed off center. Proving how symbolic the circles have become in the viewer’s mind, “Trompe l’Oeil,” a canvas late in the series (which was painted in sequence) has two shaded circles and their presence in real space feels offensive and surprising.

But to continue in the series, one is thrown back into symbolism as in the last canvas, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow.” Vertical black lines cut through parts of a horizontal line of circles. Again the viewer is thinking of solar systems and space explorations, the next year of his life, the monotony of last afternoon, and all in terms of the circle which Mr. Adams subjects himself to and subjects so well.

Molly Siple