Los Angeles

Joe Goode and Ron Davis

Nicholas Wilder Gallery

Drawings by Joe Goode and Ron Davis are on display at Nicholas Wilder. It is an oddly suitable juxtaposition. The Goodes are arranged in procession along two sides of the gallery, and the Davises similarly on the facing walls. It is peaceful and serious but certainly not deadpan.

Goode’s ten pencil drawings elicit a special elevated kind of response, rather a whole absorbing frame of mind. They are of white pillows and sheets, and sometimes edges of mattresses. The tonality ranges from grey near-whites all over to some with heavily darkened places. Their quality of perfect airy lightness has to do more with how they are abstractly, as simply gathered subtle surfaces, than with what they refer to. The kind of irrelevance which subject has in these drawings, the paradoxical feeling for the insubstantialness particular to the things represented, is a key to Goode’s art in general.

Goode is also beginning to think again about color. Five of the drawings have splotches of pastel-simulating paint, one color to a drawing. The spots of color strangely aren’t on the substance of the drawing, but as if affixed to the frame. They hardly intrude on the image; still, one thinks about wiping them away.

Ron Davis’s drawings aren’t strictly drawings at all but colored geometric decals. He has painted on shapes of acetate with shiny celvinyl paint and stuck them against pieces of board. Ten small ones are like complicated puzzles, each different and as though seen from very far away because the perspective is gravely exaggerated. They are about elements of design and space. Despite their miniature colored-block appeal, they are really ingenious and not lighthearted in intent. Two larger pictures are simpler groups of blocks strung out in five variant stances against their respective mats. These sketches of Davis’s have a way always of pointing to bigger conceptions, though they are enough in themselves.

Jane Livingston