No longer in single spies, but in battalions, the figure is making its way back into contemporary art, and, in William Brice’s new paintings and drawings at the Alan Gallery, 766 Madison Avenue, it becomes a vehicle of vehement sensuous communication. Mr. Brice conceives his dramatis personae in poses of ecstasy or despair. In and out of shadow and substance, these figures, mortal and guilty, cling to each other, or lie alone on the quick sands of life.
Such subject-matter demands a highly poetic and allusive style, and of this Mr. Brice, by means of darkling color and shifting line, is wholly capable. Some old master influences—Rubens, Daumier—contribute motifs to his style, particularly in the obliquely emotional neo baroque drawings. Some observers may find Mr. Brice’s general mood of pessimism overwrought, but they will recognize how consistently he holds to his line.