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La Cienega Area

Now that members of Abstract Expressionism’s second generation are being revived with fervid regularity, it seems strange to come across a member of the first generation so little known as Milton Resnick. His name is surely familiar to those who went to art school in the ‘50s, but any attempt to call up a mental image of his work may draw a blank. As we renew a nearly forgotten acquaintance and take a welcome look at his recent paintings, in a show from the ‘80s, we see that his oeuvre has evolved slowly and consistently into rugged fields of thick pigment that shrinks and puckers as it dries on canvas or linen.

Resnick’s work of the mid-'40s, with its biomorphic shapes and fluid line, puts one in mind of De Kooning. Gradually the line grew into agitated brushwork--reminiscent of Philip Guston’s--then leveled out and coalesced into broad fields of variegated color. Now surface has taken over, to the point that Resnick’s wrinkles and scrapings look rather like chunks of a lava field. One might be tempted to call this Minimalism if Resnick hadn’t taken surface to the max and built each of several solid-looking colors from a full palette.

“Eld,” the largest work (about 6x10 feet), can appear olive or iridescent rose at a distance, though it’s actually composed of a myriad hues that mingle in the eye. Dark brown and near-black canvases are equally complex in their orchestrations. It’s as if Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings had gone through a compactor but somehow retained their scale. (Daniel Weinberg Gallery, 619 N. Almont Drive, to Oct. 1.)


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