Los Angeles

Four-Man Show

Molly Barnes Gallery

The members of a miscellaneous four-man show at the Molly Barnes Gallery fare just as divergently. Wall Batterton’s works, despite the promise of a word-of-mouth reputation, proved disappointing. He depends on patent derivativeness and a scattering of techniques and approaches more appropriate for a commercial art portfolio in their thin if openhanded slickness. Ray Smith is more than adequate in sequentially elaborated geometric paintings based on recent Op designs.

The funky fantasies of Michael Peters blend a variety of modes; comic strip formats, wild metamorphosis, biomorphic cartooning, and dazzling linear patterns. The cast of characters includes an assortment of spotted animals, bloated and rubbery machinery, and funnel-headed people popping in and out of writhing landscapes and interiors. Even if one might not be inclined to puzzle out the plots, zany conflicts reign supreme, including patchworks of quilt-like colors. Peters shares stylistic affinities with Terry Allen (drawings at the Pasadena Art Museum), but his are good humored whereas Allen’s are more formal, ritualistic, and sinister in their bulky bound figures with tubed interconnections.

Jay Maddox is the most serious and ambitious member of the group, showing geometric sculptures contrasting bulky chromed slabs with their shine and reflections with the dense color of centrally located plastic hemispheres. One wishes for more daring now that the security of stable and professional groundwork has been set.

Fidel Danieli