San Francisco

John Meyer

Mincher/Wilcox gallery

Even among Bay Area painters, John Meyer is a strict abstractionist. Although he sets rigorous limits on his work, he puts it through big changes from one show to the next. In 1985, he had a show of work that consisted of rectangular sheets of lacquered aluminum. They marked Meyer’s attempt to produce a perfectly true—that is, flat and uninflected—surface. Yet their material qualities were subsidiary to their optical effect: acting as mirrors, they improved the appearance of anything glimpsed in them. Meyer went on to make a series of monochromatic red lacquer paintings on stretched butcher paper. Their finish — hard, slick, and seemingly brittle—rhymed nicely with the tension of the stretched paper. A ghost of the strainer bars impressed itself on each lacquered sheet from behind.

There is much more evidence of the artist’s hand and more nuance of color in Meyer’s most recent show, which

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