New York

John Salt

O.K. Harris

It is not often that I’m sympathetic to representational painting as representationalism tends to function as a crutch, a supposed measure both of technique and quality based on the existence of a prototype—nature—against which the artist can measure his achievement; the closer the approximation to nature the more successful the work of art. The argument is false but once more prevalent. Which is why I’m happy to write about John Salt’s car pictures.

It is apparent from Salt’s present painting—earlier, the wrecked cars were painted in an Expressionist manner akin to Bacon—that the automotive wreck is a point of strict reference but the representation is handled with a tactful respect for surface. This is facilitated by the sprayed thinness of color which emphasizes the matte continuity of grainy cloth and which affects us as a dull, even atmospheric, surface. The composition is curiously

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