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The Galleries

Santa Monica

February 12, 1988|WILLIAM WILSON

Exceptional felicity of form and stylistic range have distinguished and dogged the career of L.A. painter Ned Evans. Now he splits a double bill with half a dozen large abstract paintings that try hard not to be handsome but are anyway. "Zadora" is a mottled red checkerboard dominated by a black circular form that might be mistaken for the Oriental Yin-Yang symbol. There is something Japanese in Evans' art, a striving for perfection and artificiality.

There is also something of Georges Braque's carpenter-like love of good materials and honest workmanship that comes out ruggedly handsome without any special effort. "Cijara" is a three-panel painting that evokes fine moldings, burled wood and imitation marble blown up to abstract ribbons of paint. The worst thing this art is, is a high order of decor.

Joe Andoe is a New Yorker largely unknown hereabouts who shows up with small clunky paintings of an owl against the moon, a stumpy tree sprouting spring leaves or an astronaut's-eye view of earth, all signed prominently by the artist. The posture is that of a loony mystic like Afred Pinkham Ryder or Louis Elshemius, tender, wan and innocent but touched with genius. There is also repellent faux-naif canniness about the paintings as if Andy Warhol had come back to haunt them. (Maloney Gallery, 910 Colorado Ave., to March 5.)

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