Southern California and her favorite adopted son David Hockney have spawned a school of artists. Local painter Ken Durkin numbers in their ranks. Their formula is marketable, bright, digestible imagery abbreviated enough to not seem dated, readable enough to assure that the azure skies, pools and parasoled beaches, California palms and browned bodies garner mainstream appeal.
In a show of acrylic on paper works, Durkin shows the range of the genre, from the pointless commercialism of a poorly rendered, magazine ad gal slathering on oil in “Suntan Lotion,” to the convincing poetic tension of wind swept poised bathers in “Coming Storm.”
The good news about Durkin-- who he once studied architecture-- is he weaves good solid structure into images that appear to be doing nothing more than having a good time. He is a decent colorist, giving the oftimes matte properties of acrylic on paper an oil-on-canvas versatility and depth. In “Dive Boat” he trowels on muscular bands of paint to make impastoed seas, then shifts easily into sprawling slabs of snappy graphic color in “Busboy.” This is by no means cutting edge provocative art, but rather takes quite literally Matisse’s credo that art should, like a comfortable easy chair, lull and entertain. (Hunsaker/Schlesinger, 812 N. La Cienega Blvd. to Nov. 12)