San Diego

Philip Van Aver

In a showing of ink and watercolor miniatures (5 by 7 inches is usual) he has wrought scenes of artifice of a scale and dedication almost beyond belief. Certainly he is contenting himself in an indulgent, private backwater in combining the patience associated with the East with the allover tangibility of the Italian Quatrocento and manuscript illumination.

Fashioning still lifes, luscious bouquets, languorous women in interiors, and winter landscapes, they are cut off by elaborately decorated frames, each object covered with (indeed, made up of) varieties of these same ornaments. The color is subtly blended within each delineating boundary; washes applied to suggest a vibrant repousse. The even value and color distributions cause a suspension of light which exists only in the realm of an active imagination. Though the range of temperature/mood is surprisingly wide, it clusters about the opposites of sultry afternoons and the woodcut black and white of crisp, wintry outdoors. One is left with a dazzling haze of impenetrability. At twenty-five Van Aver promises to become a major source of curiosity, wonderment, and delight.

Fidel A. Danieli