Los Angeles

Andrew Staley Wing

Laguna Beach Art Association—Moulton Gallery

“Interpretive Environment Painting,” a phrase used by the artist himself in 1963 to describe his creative endeavors, still is the best description of his current abstract acrylics, which indirectly capture the mood of the Laguna shore. In a large percentage of the paintings, the framing has been incorporated as an integral and essential part of the composition, turning the entire work into a painting-bearing construction. This framing takes varied geometric shapes, often different than that of the inner picture, and consists basically of rough, tinted boards, arranged in a pattern, which serve as an intermediary element between a simple inner and outer frame. Sometimes, as in The Polygon in the Forever Diamond, this patterned board work is additionally built up with additive textural and painted elements, or in such works as the seven-paneled Inferno, the back boards project triangularly outward to a point at the center, producing a kind of counterpoint against the undulating inner panes which bend inward at the center. The inner panels themselves as well as the simply framed paintings are constructed of freely splattered color areas over textural grounds and collage organizations.

The best of these works are evocative, dynamic expressions of the ambience of the artist, with examples among both the frame-incorporated and plain types. The weakest, and there are many, are rather nebulous, lacking substance and form. A number of these latter are small inner-paneled selections which are completely overpowered by the outer, sometimes not too interesting, framing.

Charlene Steen