A striking starkness pervades “Raimonds Staprans: Paintings,” a group of nine oil-on-canvas still-lifes and landscapes on view at San Francisco’s Hackett/Mill Gallery. Its effect is so captivating that visitors almost lose sense of time while viewing the show.
Staprans, born in Latvia in 1926 and a Bay Area resident since the 1950s, is known internationally to curators and collectors for his vivid, abstract views of nature and natural forms in his work, which bears comparison to that of David Park and Richard Diebenkorn and is in the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, among other local and national institutions.
Because the artist so skillfully integrates shape and color, the nature of the color and the pieces’ sparse, subtle variety and unusual juxtapositions are what give the works their overall richness.
Another quality that characterizes the paintings is the sense of the ordinary that fills them. Paradoxically, the ordinariness adds a fascination to the figures.
“Another Sunshine Table with a Leftover Jar” contains a symphony of subtle coloring on different areas of a simple table. An orange background, perhaps a back wall, is set underneath it. Yet two seemingly minor elements — a small jar with colored liquid inside on the table, and colored drops dripping down from the tabletop, directly onto the orange background — stand out with an unexpected intensity.
Rich, contrasting colors dominate “Red Barn.” The largest area, a reddish-purple background, extends down to more than half the canvas. A solid black roof, a deep red second story and a pristine white lower area complete the color scheme.
“Marin 8,” a landscape, has a kind of softness that makes it unique among this group of paintings. A Rock of Gibraltar-like structure, in various shades of green, sits in the midst of a vast and pale green, almost white, sky.
The remainder of the works in the show include interesting variations and share the same richness.
IF YOU GO
Raimonds Staprans: Paintings
Where: Hackett/Mill Gallery, 201 Post St., suite 1000, San Francisco
When: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; closes July 1
Contact: (415) 362-3377; www.hackettmill.com