San Diego

Steve Ilott and Kenneth Johnston

Dietrich Jenny Gallery

Sometimes in an exhibition one comes across works by two different artists that, seen together, provide a context for each other that illuminates them both. Such was the case with this two-person show. Although Steve Ilott and Kenneth Johnston did not produce their work collaboratively, in preparing for this exhibition they exchanged ideas at length via the telephone and an extensive correspondence. As a result, Johnston’s quasi-figurative cardboard sculptures and Ilott’s dark abstract paintings complemented each other more profoundly than the work in a typical two-person show.

Ilott’s paintings, which feature large, black, amorphous forms against brown grounds, are reminiscent of a decorative strain of Abstract Expressionism and its descendants. They recall the work of Franz Kline, only prettier and more cleanly rendered, without paint spatters or rough edges, closer to the decorative

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