Los Angeles

“New Images, New Materials”

Mount St. Mary's College Fine Arts Gallery

The Colorado Memorial Center Art Gallery has prepared a touring exhibition which features the experimental works of four aggressive artists who are working with acrylics, polyester, polyvinyl, polyurethane, epoxy, polystyrene and other all but imperishable materials. The results are not always esthetically convincing but certainly the endeavors of these four artists to apply the newest media with which to solve contemporary pictorial problems is commendable.

Of the four participants, Los Angeles’ own Jack Hooper appears as the most inventive and most dramatic. Primary Form I and II are quite entrancing compositionally depending upon textural innovations and color nuances which play over richly fabricated forms. Whether erupting nearly a foot from the surface or only a fraction of an inch, they manage to identify their presence with reflective highlights. For the most part Hooper employs muted heavy greys and browns contrasting with walnut or soft yellows and blues to suggest heavily laden atmospheres surrounding the jagged or polished protuberances.

Roland Reiss, who hails from the University of Colorado, extends his attitudes to team up some electrical devices with plastics. The physical movement of most mobile sculpture allows the senses to adjust to transitional changes at a comfortable pace. The movement Reiss thrusts upon his audience is at the speed of light. Flashing lamps behind large round bulbous shields of semi-clear plastic allow no time for such visual harmonizing. Attempts to predict or track the lighting sequences do not free one from the tedious business of adjusting to constantly changing brilliance. The plastic surface has been decorated with various patterns in transparent and opaque hues which are in themselves undistinguished save for a solo nod in the direction of Pop Art—Winged Victory, two large stylized yellow and red wings on a bed of geometrically arranged black dots.

Terry Krumm, now at New York University for his Ph.D., breaks up his large picture planes into six various patches. The fields are divided by monstrous pourings of opalescent plastic which flow like lava over and around the borders to anchor themselves to the panel in a death grip. Krumm’s five entries are almost identical except for alterations of his palette, which tends to soft pastels and limits two to a customer.

The fourth participant, De Wain Valentine, balances all his large, square entries on one corner. The formal compositions are arbitrarily divided by dikes of plastic, creating fields which are brilliantly colored. There is a certain association with aerial views of various geographical and man-made formations in bold relief. Except for the introduction of some interesting textural and sculptural innovations on the surface, Valentine seems to have traveled the shortest distances in developing use of his chosen medium.

Except for many of Mr. Hooper’s trials, which demonstrate a pretty strong understanding and imaginative use of plastics, this exhibition might best have been delayed a few months or a year or until such time as greater refinements of handling and application could be placed in evidence.

Curt Opliger