San Francisco

Clay Jensen

San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art And Bruce Velick Gallery

In honoring sculptor Clay Jensen as the sole recipient of their annual Art Award, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s adjunct Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art—perhaps inadvertently—challenged the current hegemony of expressionistic painting. Considered less reactively, they recognized the deepening sensibility of a younger artist whose painted steel constructions synthesize planar color-field abstractions of harmonious beauty with metaphoric allusions to urban experience. The work’s hybrid format is expressively original and distinctly classic in spirit.

City Slicker, 1983, dominated the Museum’s show in its formal strength and multiple references. As in much of Jensen’s work of the last few years, a large rectangular plate of painted steel, with a welded composition on each side, stands on a section of horizontal, darkly patined I-beam. The relationship suggests a

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