|"Drunken Masters" at Gallery C
The latest offering from Hermosa Beach's Gallery C is "Drunken Masters," an exhibition of work from four California painters: James Hayward, Roger Herman, Peter Lodato and Hubert Schmalix. The title refers to a group of Taoist artists who, by surrendering themselves to the arts, became one with the Tao. We can only suppose that the title implies that each of these artists has submerged himself in the arts to the extent that they have experienced "oneness" with the common philosophy.
Great. But what about the paintings?
The painting are good, though perhaps not as great as we are expected to think they are. Because that's what is implied by a show with this name being exhibited in a shiny new venue such as this. These are supposed to be GREAT paintings.
Far and away the paintings that impressed us the most were Herman's landscapes and other outdoor scenes. Painted in broad strokes and sunny colors, these immense canvases remind one a bit of cartoon sketches. A piece such as "Urwald," a jungle scene seems to explode with color and detail, which is odd because it really has neither. Herman has injected energy somewhere between the canvas and the viewer that makes these paintings come alive in an unusual way.
While Herman's paintings make the biggest impression, it could be said that Hayward's are the most intriguing. One of our artist friends was a bit dismissive of Hayward's series of thick textured oils, arguing that given a lot of paint and about an hour just about anyone could do the same. And while we do subscribe to the If-Anyone-Can-Do-It-It's-Not-That-Impressive school of thought, there is something about these paintings that fascinates. In order to make these pieces, Hayward has worked up about two inches of oil on a canvas and then made regular slashes with his brush, thus creating a choppy repeating texture. He has these in brown and blue, and in "Suite in Five Pieces #7," he has them in several colors.
Sure, perhaps we could do the same. But we didn't, and he did a fine job of it.
As for works by Codato and Schmalix, let's just say that our eye fell elsewhere. Schmalix's repetitive images of a native girl in various poses of bondage just seemed bland.
"Drunken Master" is at Gallery C through Nov. 11.
(Oct. 28, 2003)
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