Los Angeles

Jim de France

Janus Gallery

Also working out the possibilities of bands or bars is Jim de France. Always characterized by intelligence and reserve, de France’s new work is pleasingly spruce, elegantly simple. Flat, monochromatic canvases of pale colors—yellow, peach, cream—are transected by narrow stripes as Minimal and elegant as the custom pinstriping on a Malibu Colony Rolls.

These stripes of orange, grayish-green or grayish-blue intersect in such a way as to imply the existence of wider or narrower bars, with the stripes as edge or separation. All lines are on the diagonal; the bars (or stripes) seem to enter the plane from exterior space, and focus attention inward to the central section of the composition where they meet and end, are overlapped or overlap.

Triangles appear of necessity now and again at the edge of the canvas; there’s no way to know whether these represent sections of unidentifiable bar-forms, or whether they are instead the ground over which the intersecting system operates. The ambiguity is both mischievous and intriguing, like the ambiguity between the pin-stripe and bar, for the scan of the work, in both cases, varies greatly with the interpretation.

The implication which de France makes is of a unique incident—the bars extend infinitely into space in their four directions and only here do they intersect. Like a novelist (who generally chooses to present only that point where opposing forces finally collide) de France seems able to imbue this simple schema not only with significance, but with formal elegance as well.

Bjorn Rye