Los Angeles

Ray Parker

Molly Barnes Gallery

I admit a prejudice in favor of Ray Parker; many second-line abstractionists, excellent artists, suffered from the presence of the heavies like de Kooning and Kline and the funnel-focus of “serious” art in the late fifties. Some, like Al Leslie, switched styles and survived on the market; others, like Norman Bluhm, stuck maniacally to the heaving about of paint. Parker, like Robert Goodnough, happened to find an open spot within Abstract Expressionism and homesteaded it (in Parker’s case, the tract lies between Rothko and Gottlieb). Although, as students, we had a hunch there was something pretty middle-class and safe about them, we could recognize a Parker on first glance and generally liked its ability to reconcile avant-garde painting with the design pronouncements of our professors.

His new show is a strange affair: thirteen oil paintings, ranging from two by three feet to four-and-a-half

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