Los Angeles

Ken Price

Mizuno Gallery

Ken Price has done fifteen small paintings which, although incorporating a printed halftone, look like prints and are really unique originals. That discovery is not merely a mechanical thing, but an esthetic matter, with the finely tactile glow of Price’s work manifesting itself only after a bit of looking. All the pictures involve cups, a subject used by Price in his apparent transition from a mainly sculptural artist to a pictorial one. It seems at least possible that Price, who has always been a delicately eccentric artist, concerned more with pleasure than theory, has arrived at the station where any object, no matter how small, finely crafted and colored, is insufficiently mystical to be involved with, and is now making pictures because pictures, being basically false (a physical thing alluding to non-physical things, and vice versa), are basically free. Whatever, the small paintings are quite satisfying, particularly the microscopic bits of human labor he chooses to leave—crumbs in the paint, pencil lines bleeding through the arabesques and his arbitrary-accurate color clashing; they are so precious that they’re not, if you follow, but maybe a sustained flow of cup paintings will make Price that major minor artist he could, with a little difficulty here and there, avoid becoming.

Peter Plagens