Los Angeles

James Jarvaise

Felix Landau Gallery

In his new Leaf Series of painted reliefs at the Felix Landau Gallery, executed during the last three years, James Jarvaise follows through in a direction begun in his Hudson River series of oils. The show points out also how unnecessary was his departure to Spanish (Bay Area?) figures in 1963. Recovering lost ground, Matisse reappears as an influential factor, but now crowded out by a host of other masters; Arp, Calder, Gorky, and Marca-Relli.

The reliefs are sawed and epoxied plates of shaped aluminum staggered in and out of a four-inch deep space and coated with a base of white enamel. There are two varieties; the more classically oriented tondos with only line and shaded greys, and the partially to completely painted rectangles. The shapes are a tightly controlled combination of mechanical curves and abrupt straights; a highly refined method of designing. That he should feel obliged to exert so artistically design-conscious a sense of control, indulge in shape painting and line work which deny the sculptural reality, and include in his repertoire transparencies and shading clearly stamps his production as having developed and emerged in the late 1950s. The style might be described as a highly involved hybrid of Cubist space and juxtaposition filtered through the biomorphism of the thirties. New York School painters of the ’40s and ’50s of course fused these same elements in quite a different way. Jarvaise is generous if informal and light.

Fidel A. Danieli