Lucas Reiner's new paintings are built upon conceits of polar opposition. Each painting is a collusion of conflicting forces building up a multi-layered push/pull effect. The works convey a renewed engagement by the artist in the material physicality of the painting process itself, revealing an innate ability to define open, lyrical passages from the corporeal density of his materials.

Reiner's hat trick is loosely lifted from Philip Guston. We find the same scrumbled, discordant coloration and awkwardly defined centralized shapes, combined within a light and fluid environment. Redolent in Reiner's work is also the scorched earth, scarred surfaces of European abstract practitioners, Antoni Tapies and Jean Fautrier. Wherein, abject form becomes a transcendent to an unspecified moment of "truth".

On particularly successful works such as ROPE TRICK and NEVER THE ROSE (WITHOUT THE PRICK), Reiner is able to bring together this play of opposites into a resonating poetic statement. Both paintings suggest discordant, primordial forces at work, a subterranean, comprehensive atmosphere suffusing the picture field. But Reiner, with deft touch ignites his own levity through lyrical, effortless strokes, suggesting renewal, lightness, and resurrection. In other works, particularly BUDDHA'S OF MY CONFESSION and CHICKEN FLOWER DAY, the artist uses a far more playful and wry approach, suppressing his impulse for Romantic indulgence with a fresh and irreverent un-selfconsciousness. In this same vein, are a group of drawings on paper and vellum, replicating Reiner's dexterity with line and gesture in loose ruminations on the process of becoming, birth/death, order, and chaos.

Reiner's new works hold a lot of promise. Not afraid to engage in a serious dialogue with an art historical past, the paintings offer a rigorous, sincere effort to convey genuine emotion, but also reveal the messy collisions occurring in the quest for larger truths. An intrinsic point from which to embark and one which deems further inquiry . . .

Leonard Bravo
Los Angeles, California