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Review: Raimonds Staprans at Peter Mendenhall Gallery

December 18, 2008 |  5:15 pm

'The Empty Table With a Green Stripe'

Raimonds Staprans’ midsize paintings come straight out of Cézanne, streamlining and separating the French painter’s blocky forms that gave birth to Cubism and inserting big chunks of empty space between them. Staprans bathes these spaces in icy light, treating tabletop still lifes no differently than expansive landscapes: as equally valid reasons to make seemingly empty space solid, robust, muscular.

The Latvia-born, San Francisco-based painter’s oils on canvas at the Peter Mendenhall Gallery are West Coast versions of European Modernism. Like Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud, Staprans is as interested in locking every part of every picture into place as he is in giving shape to a particular place or mood. What his art lacks in excitement and innovation, it makes up for in tasteful seriousness.

-- David Pagel

Peter Mendenhall Gallery, 6150 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., (323) 936-0061, through Dec. 27. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Photo: Raimonds Staprans' "The Empty Table With a Green Stripe" (2007). Credit: Peter Mendenhall Gallery