San Francisco

David Young-Allen

Buzz Gallery

Primitives, as we have come to understand the application of the word to art, elaborate their ideas explicitly. Perhaps we should call this painter an untutored sophisticate. There is the usual over-modeling in painting the figure, and the drawing is primitive, but atmosphere is the-principal concern, and the people have developed character, and are not the primitive’s doll-like dummy who performs some mundane act, or registers one very specific emotion. One painting shows a sinister woman seated between two even more sinister silhouettes of male companions; the environment is a very flowery but musty interior; whether she is gambler, madam or soothsayer is left to the imagination. Ambiguity is of the essence. Nor are the painter’s ideas about space innocent of advanced notions: the legs of a nude seated on a long couch are very long as though distorted by a camera too close up, the rest of the figure much smaller, the furniture in the background and the view out the window tiny. He has only painted for two years; given a couple more he may learn to draw or the awkward drawing may become as unnoticeable as it is in, say, Bonnard.

Knute Stiles