Los Angeles

Coar, Heinecken, Rink

Long Beach Museum of Art

Imagination and ability combined make up this superb exhibit of art-photography. In the black and white prints of Robert Heinecken is manifested the most creative and versatile approach to the photography medium. In attempting to “trigger responses on associative as well as on formal levels,” as the artist has stated, Heinecken produces surreal and neo-Dada compositions through innumerable technical devices. Most often incongruous images are juxtaposed in a variety of ways: by fragmenting then reorganizing segments of a single photo, as in the multiple solution puzzles; by combining a number of separate pictures into a single composition, as in the cruciform “Visual Poem about the Imitative Sexual Education of an American Girl”; by translating and segmenting a picture into geometric sculptural forms, often stacked or suspended by a single point; and by superimposition of two or more photographs onto one print, in this case often satirical. He also experiments with blurring the images into almost complete abstraction and over-contrasting the values into black and white patterns. A further extension of this over-contrasting method is his intaglio prints, created evidently directly from the photographs.

Roger Coar’s color prints, although much more limited in approach, are equally impressive. Through the use of vertical striation and blurring, his landscape, seascape, and genre scenes are turned into highly individual, intensely colored pattern organizations. Although most of the prints remain in touch with reality, a few have been distorted into almost complete non-objectivity, as in “High Rise Construction.” In neither case, however, does the representational basis detract from the overall formal arrangement.

Larry Rink’s black and white photographs of landscape and genre are unfortunately badly outclassed. The result of a sensitive and selective eye, they are nevertheless under par in inventiveness and uniqueness of approach. The only apparent deviations from conventional documentary photography are his utilization of focus variations and white outlining by shooting into the sun.

Charleen Steen