Van Vliet at Knoedler & Co. from New York Times

This small piece was taken from the 27th November 1998 edition of the New York Times and was written by Grace Glueck. Many thanks to Michael H. for sending it along.

Don Van Vliet
Knoedler & Company
19 East 70th Street
Through Dec. 5

Known in an earlier incarnation as the rock musician Captain Beefheart, Don Van Vliet left the music world in the late 1970s to concentrate on painting. Self-taught, he works in a primitive style, deploying crude animal and more abstract shapes in black and various colours on snowy white grounds. For a rock musician, he knows how to keep his decibels down, using white space like musical rests. In his best work, the shapes establish lyrical relationships that make for catchy compositions. In “Dreams in the Daytime Colored With Sunshine” (1995-96), a black, panther-like creature with a long curving tail lurks at the bottom of the painting, while colour-shapes hover around and above it. One, a trio of spidery black legs reposing on a multihued cloud above the panther, adds to the animal energy of the work. Among the knowing placement of the color shapes the whites stand out in arresting contrast. Mr. Van Vliet is still a composer.

– Grace Glueck

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