When an artist gives over the mixed blessings of traditional representation, as does Theo Green in these ink drawings, he casts himself upon the shifting currents of chance, the unconscious, in a more direct or integrated vision. Since the works overtly reject conventional reference (and are referential only to relatively recent trends in abstraction created by artists such as Kline, Pollock and Tobey) our methods of interpretation must accordingly change if we are to avoid falling into self-righteous or offended philistinism. Furthermore, if the paintings do not refer to what is familiar, convenient and reifying, thereby reassuring us that all is well with our habitual ways of viewing ourselves and the social world, then we are forced in upon a dimension of experience whose marketing characteristic is the unusual, the mysterious. Fortunately for us, Green has chosen the unsure and the unpredictable. These paintings exist under the sign of spontaneity and freedom, the obverse qualities of the above mentioned mysterious. It is not that the paintings lack intellectual rigor; indeed, a high degree of formal structure places them firmly in our experience with a solidity upon which can be played all the beautiful variations of the indeterminacies of colouration & spatial shiftings. However, conceptual strength is infused throughout, as I have indicated, by a tender lyricism which only becomes possible once its shaping context has been established. Net-like linearities set up such a firmness. We then fall through the openings into a dazzling richness. The eye is turned in upon itself. A release is achieved from its former slavery to the mundane. The obvious echoes of Oriental calligraphy, with the non- spiritual philosophy which informs it, demonstrate that if Green's paintings emphasize play, it is a higher form of this activity, that which has been called civilization.
Dr. Harry Polkinhorn
San Diego State University