Los Angeles

Jan Stussy

Esther Robles Gallery

Stussy’s catalog statement is appropriately modest. He characterizes himself as unsure and searching. Nothing of this shows in his work. It is assured, mature and powerful. This UCLA professor, like many teacher-artists, occasionally appears academic. Possibly it is his awareness of this that has led him to emphasize drawing techniques such as cross-contour or pattern-to-shape, employing them as elegant, over-all compositional devices, turning an analytical tendency to good use.

His current showing is dominated by figure paintings on brown masonite. Making use of his ground he creates full form with a relatively minimal use of black and white. He is preoccupied with organic qualities of figure within geometrical and perspectival environments. Especially successful are the sensual “Reclining Woman II” and “Life In A Box Depends On How You Turn.” Proportion also concerns him; repeatedly he varies Durer’s famous proportion drawing of a man flayed within a circle. Punning on this theme he turns the figure to an ellipse or makes a flapping Icarus suggested by the figure’s repeated arms and legs.

Small intaglio and relief sculptures, oils, and painterly drawings play strong second themes to the big work.

William Wilson