New York

Walter Darby Bannard

Lawrence Rubin

Walter Darby Bannard showed a series of recent paintings at Lawrence Rubin that had none of the flaccidity or excess that characterizes so much color painting showing these days. Bannard’s paintings seemed to be about color and framing. Each painting used only three or four colors of a range permuted through the series. They were mostly cake-icing colors, but were kept from being cloying by being used carefully, with particular attention to the extent of dominance. The paint, alkyd resin, appeared to be sponged on over large areas, though probably applied with brush to form the fragmented stripes which appeared in each canvas. The sections of stripe had a curious epicene character; being thickly painted, they were actually in slight relief, and though locked in to the painting through color, they were the only remnants of figuration in an abstract field. The most successful paintings in the series were probably those in which the field was, or seemed, the least worked over, as in Mirabelle’s Pale Stream #1. The way the paint was applied made for the sense that the real surface had yielded to paint (and thus to color) and taken on this special sort of deformation. The stripe echoing the framing edge then lost its priority because what happened to it in the field was a particular instance of an event that could happen at the real edge but for the fact that there was no such color at the edge. Part of the appeal of Bannard’s paintings was their dealing with the particularity and generality of certain kinds of coloristic incident.

Kenneth Baker