los-angeles

Ron Davis

Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

Ron Davis’ new paintings at the Pasadena Art Museum are not, in my opinion, as good as his earlier work. But Davis is mature enough, even at only 34, to have his ups and downs and remain interesting; and he’s novel, radical, or whatever, enough to be newsworthy (as opposed to, say, one of those fellows in his fifties who is still, nobly enough, turning out the things which made his name in the first place). Michael Fried rated Davis right up there with the New York biggies (Artforum, April, 1967) for, to boil it down, reinforcement of Stellaesque “shape as form,” illusionistic perspective reinforcing the “literal shape” and “orienting the viewer” at odd angles, and employment of plastic as painting. Assuming such importance for formalist mechanics (I do), Fried is right. A couple of years later my favorite art critic, Darby Bannard, said, “The most striking characteristic of the best

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