los-angeles

Jay Willis

Hank Baum Gallery

Fifteen years ago painting hit a peak and, to reverse the metaphor, it’s been trying to dig itself out of a hole ever since. For a while, in the early sixties, it struggled a couple of rungs up on the ladder out; Frank Stella, et al, discovered, it appeared, a way out of the obligatory featherbed of brushstrokes: pictures coated with flat bands of color bent to fit specially carpentered exotic/systemic formats. But, advancing into the opening pages of that catalog-to-be, “Painting of the Seventies,” the whole enterprise is melting again into little puddles of acrylic Romance and the oubliettes of serious, funk anticraftsmanship; the edges are unraveling and, in my opinion, things are becoming healthy again. But for a time, the thick attendance of formula, How to Paint a Neat Clean Contemporary Picture, slowed everything into Jell-O molds. Maybe it has to be that way: bursts of real creativity

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