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THE ART GALLERIES

La Cienega Area

October 23, 1987|COLIN GARDNER

New York-based Richard Mock is an abstract painter whose work has been dogged by an overwrought, cartoony pluralism bordering on kitsch. Mock's latest paintings are positively minimal in comparison, presenting a series of floating biomorphic and geometric forms against textured silver backgrounds.

Circles, arcs, rectangles and painterly splatter interconnect and overlap like carefully composed primitive hieroglyphics, setting up a predictable dialogue between the concrete image and a seemingly infinite surrounding space. Many forms have been painted over so that they shade through like ghostly palimpsests, as if each material incarnation were but one momentary step in a cosmic continuum.

Mock tends to think in mystical terms, referring in his artist's statement to such vague spiritual concepts as "the equation of Beauty and Truth of Vision," the work is ultimately undone by its shop-worn, self-reflexive language. Instead of the intended "mystery of being," we are simply aware of the recycled vocabulary of Miro, Klee and Kandinsky. As a result, Mock comes across as an unwitting mannerist, quoting his abstract forebears in a vain attempt at transcendence. (Gallery 454 North, 454 N. Robertson Blvd., to Nov. 12.)

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