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THE ART GALLERIES

Downtown

July 11, 1986|Colin Gardner

Carl Schmidt's diagrammatic paintings are typical of a current trend that critics have labeled "Supermannerism." All representation is reduced to the level of simulacrum, to a copy of a copy, so that it exists solely for its own sake--for the mere pleasure of its communication. This helps explain the chief characteristics of the oeuvre : a self-reflexive awareness of the rhetoric of form and structure, and a cartoon-like simplicity of execution that features bright, often Day-Glo color fields.

Schmidt's particular contribution is a series of gouache-on-handmade-paper paintings that delineate geometric forms such as circles, squares and rectangles within colorful, stylized landscapes. Schmidt creates the illusion of space and movement through both composition and color juxtaposition, evoking a dreamlike, architectural mise-en-scene that could easily be an animation story-board for Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities." Schmidt's flatness of color and cut-out simplicity of forms are obvious attempts to decode the painterly process, yet while the exhibit might work as pure concept, there is very little resonance in either subject or execution to help transcend its built-in stylistic limitations.

This is also the problem with recent paintings by Beverly Da Nailoff, a pupil and follower of the Scottish painter/poet, Alan Davie. Da Nailoff depicts floating symbology such as angels, trees, fish, buildings and vague hieroglyphs in a naive, expressionistic style that resembles an uneasy fusion of Deloss McGraw and A. R. Penck. Whether the works are supposed to be manifestations of childlike optimism and creative energy, or more esoteric renditions of psychic states, they lack both the painterly depth and complexity of signification required for anything more than a perfunctory experience. (James Turcotte, 3517 W. 6th St., to Aug. 2.)

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