Ann-Sargent Wooster

  • Anne Arnold

    Anne Arnold’s life-size sculptures of animals combine the anthropomorphizing of creatures in Walt Disney creations such as Bambi and the eerie, trompe I’oeil presence of Duane Hanson’s and John de Andrea’s Super Realist sculpture, with a concern for formal relationships between surface and armature. Though obviously sculptural objects, these domesticated and pet animals—dog, skunk, three-quarters of a white horse, his and hers portrait busts of sheep, a reclining cow—are at the same time disturbingly animate.

    What elevates this work out of the category of fancy stuffed toys or kitschy ceramic

  • Blythe Bohnen

    A dancer seeing Blythe Bohnen’s recent graphite drawings of “motions” remarked that they were about dance. This seems to have a certain truth, because going beyond mere depiction of random motion, they bear a resemblance to the vocabulary of choreographed movement, and the sequences of minimal or vernacular movements which characterize recent dance. Bohnen says, “My work defines and categorizes gesture to develop a vocabulary of forms possible through a single medium, a bar of graphite . . . motions consist of human actions on a surface such as pushing and pivoting.” Bohnen’s definition of her

  • Robert Kushner

    It’s hard to tell if Robert Kushner’s painted and sewn textiles and performances are a funky, high-camp spoof of haute couture, a traveler’s hommage, or the making of art/craft “objects” balanced between static two-dimensional design and its dynamic presentation as three-dimensional masses in motion. The truth probably lies in some combination of the above. Kushner has been known for his “fashion shows” and tableaux. Probably the most famous was the one based on food. Nude models wore, for example, carrot necklaces, scallion aprons and red cabbage headdresses. Partially because of his extensive

  • Carolee Schneeman

    Carolee Schneeman is an underestimated multimedia artist and filmmaker. Her recent performance of Up To And Including Her Limits is a work-in-progress which has been developed through a series of six two-day performance installations over the last two years at the University Art Museum, Berkeley; London Film-Makers Cooperative; Art Meeting Place, London; Artists Space; Anthology Film Archives; and recently at the Kitchen. Each installation consists of five parts—a performance area where Schneeman hangs in a rope harness and draws; Kitch’s Last Meal, a double super-8 film; sound tapes; a bank of

  • Morris Kantor

    We seem to be reviving and reappraising the work of many of early American modernists with an almost Bicentennial fervor. The early work of Morris Kantor (1896–1974) makes a fine rediscovery; 28 of his charcoal and pastel drawings and paintings from 1918 to 1924 were exhibited at the Zabriskie Gallery. Kantor came from Russia in 1910, at the age of 14, and supported himself by working in the garment district. In 1916, he had accumulated enough money to enroll in the Independent School of Art, run by Homer Boss. The school’s training eschewed such typical Academy ideals as drawing from plaster

  • Barbara Zucker

    For several years Barbara Zucker has used the Hachi Ho, or “Eight Treasures,” benevolent symbols used to decorate Chinese ceramics, as a source for some of her sculpture. Although they have a consistent geometric/organic formal vocabulary, each time she uses one of them it’s manifestly different from earlier usages. One wouldn’t know the same source is involved. In her previous show she took the “Dragon Pearl,” a disc entwined with a line, produced it as a hand-sized module of pale green hydrocal and cheesecloth, and distributed 136 of these over a wall. Their repetitiveness was an environmental

  • Berenice Abbott

    Berenice Abbott was originally known in the ’20s for her unadorned portraits of such famous people as James Joyce, Djuna Barnes and Marcel Duchamp. They were shorn of fantasy embellishments or formality, qualities thought to be necessary accoutrements of portrait photography at the time. One feels Abbott was completely comfortable with her sitters; occasionally, though, she allowed people to present themselves as dramatic personages. Accessories or props, like the attributes of saints in medieval art, were sometimes used successfully. In an attempt to show his inner, turbulent nature, Max Ernst

  • Harmony Hammond

    Harmony Hammond sets forth a didactic program in which she seeks to inform the viewer of woman’s role in the evolution of art. But the way her recent show divides in half illustrates the weakness of her method of arguing, while enhancing the strength of her art. In an attempt to simulate a section of a natural history museum on the archeology of primitive cultures, she placed an oak display case in the center of the room. On the top and in the drawers are deliberately constructed pottery shards embossed with textile and plaited basket textures. They are made of clay and coated with a thick,

  • Ben Schonzeit

    Ben Schonzeit’s paintings are more closely allied to the potentialities of photography than is the work of almost any other photo-Realist painter. No matter what his subject matter, his overriding concern is with the artistry of the color photograph. A common reaction to his air-brush paintings is the viewer’s questioning of whether they are indeed paintings. This ambiguity is enhanced by Schonzeit’s method of image construction. He projects a slide of a photograph on the canvas and copies it exactly, generating a machinelike paint surface which is identical at ten feet or two inches.

    Realism

  • “Seven American Women: The Depression Decade”

    The most interesting aspect of the exhibition of seven women artists of the ’30s at Vassar College, sponsored by A.I.R. Gallery, is not that seven more female professional artists have been reclaimed from historical obscurity to be interleafed in the ledger of artists, but that an independent feminist gallery has chosen to solicit the necessary funds to mount a historical show. The logic of their action is impeccable. The ’30s are the recent past and as such are still discussed in terms of such new “old masters” as de Kooning, Pollock and Davis. The careers of women artists of the period can be

  • Robert Wilson And Ralph Hilton

    Spaceman, by Robert Wilson and Ralph Hilton, invokes many layers of meaning through its title, one of which is the play on man as master of space. One first stands on the stairs waiting for the door to open. Then one enters a small room disclosing what looks like an aqua satin anteater lying on the floor saying, “There . . . [long pause] . . . there is . . . [pause] . . . there are. . . .” with no mouth to eat the wilting head of lettuce placed at its head. One flipper points to a framed page of The Village Voice bearing the headline, “Loch Ness Monster Strikes It Rich,” with a photograph of

  • Brenda Miller

    Ordination or counting has characterized Brenda Miller’s sculpture for the last six years. Her earlier work was conceived in two parts—first, as a diagram or drawing, then the work was executed on the wall. Rope or sisal was cut in lengths corresponding to the numbers in the diagram and resembled a shag rug of thick and thin densities as the varying lengths of rope overlapped. Eventually she discovered that she no longer needed the sensual three-dimensionality of sisal spilling into space. She realized that her work had two major concerns: literal density and the process of making.

    In 1973 she

  • John Okulick

    John Okulick is part of what appears to be a definite direction within sculpture toward producing objects which are scarcely deeper than an haut relief. Okulick’s boxes occupy a shallow, barely three-dimensional space and are a mannerist actualization of a two-dimensional illusion—a perspective drawing of a three-dimensional box receding in space on the vertical wall. He aligns small bevelled edged wooden planks along perspective lines to enhance the illusion. A photograph reverses the process, causing them to revert to the two-dimensional space from which they were derived.

    Originally Okulick’s

  • Aristide Maillol

    Aristide Maillol’s work lies between French academicism and 20th-century sculptural experiments. He was trained as a painter at the École des Beaux-Arts but, after meeting Gauguin and the Nabis, he abandoned academicism for decorative sculpture and painting. In the 1890s he began producing small statuettes of women in terra cotta and wood, something he continued to do at intervals throughout his career. In 1902 he made his first monumental sculpture. Never feeling the need, like Giacometti, to come to terms with Cubism, the remainder of Maillol’s career, as this major retrospective reveals,

  • Susan Hoffman And Molly Upton

    Jonathan Holstein’s collection of traditional quilts shown at the Whitney Museum, especially the intensely colored geometric Amish quilts, implied a likeness between American pieced work quilts and geometric abstractions such as those of Albers, Malevich, Noland and Rothko. Within the searching for “fore-mothers” on the part of women, the statement often was made that pieced work quilts were the women’s art of the 19th century whose abstraction predated the innovations of the 20th century. Whether or not this assertion has any validity, an issue which has died down rather than being satisfactorily

  • Peter Voulkos

    “I began to understand what art was all about through clay; I hadn’t even known what I was doing as a painter. Clay is an intimate thing—just beautiful! It’s a blob of nothing, then the minute you touch it, it moves.”

    Peter Voulkos began as a painter and received his graduate degree in ceramics. But, through a combination of attending Black Mountain College in 1953 and meeting the Japanese master potter Hamada, he was intoxicated with the power and potential of ceramics as a high-art medium. Voulkos accepted the Japanese Tea Masters’ esthetic of the Zen idea of the embraced accident applied to

  • Lynda Benglis

    There is a bit of an air of a used-car showroom when confronting Lynda Benglis’s recent show. At first it seemed to be a rerun of the poured polyurethane pieces cast in metal. It appeared she had done what the tradition of modern sculpture indicates all established sculptors do. They work in perishable substances in their youth and when they have achieved a modicum of financial success, they go back and cast the early work in more durable materials. But Benglis’s casting of the foam pieces in metal is indicative of a new direction in her work. When she executed the foam sculptures, she was

  • Katherine Porter

    Katherine Porter’s early work resembled the design esthetic of Micronesian textiles where an overall pattern in large geometrics is established by the weaver and is then interrupted by inserts of smaller versions of the larger design. The inserts in Porter’s paintings differ frequently from the textiles in their ultimate effect. They rend the flatness of her edge-to-edge painterly zig-zag system, breaking down the textilelike quality of the surface, and allow an illusion of space passing through sections of her canvases.

    Imitating Agnes Martin spiritually if not actually, when Porter moved from

  • Gilbert and George

    Normally, Gilbert and George (Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore) are the direct subject of their work, either through their performances as living sculptures, or through the flotsam and jetsam of the documentation of their passage or projected passage through particular spaces, times, or events. The documentation takes the form of deliberately antiquing drawings and photographs of themselves in situ and the usual ephemeral matter, such as match boxes and cocktail napkins, which record one’s presence in a specific locale.

    In the present “sculptures,” they use a more depersonalized medium, old

  • Alice Aycock, Jacki Apple, Martha Wilson, and Rita Myers

    Alice Aycock’s constructed wooden scaffolding with ladders and the two drawings shown with it for towerlike buildings—Study for a Hexagonal Building and Study for a Building with Footholds for Climbing the Walls may be seen as the pendant to her recent Project for a Network for Underground Wells and Tunnels, built in the fall of 1975 in Far Hills, New Jersey. When I asked Aycock why she built a scaffolding, she answered that when she goes outdoors she builds down and when she is inside she builds up. The scaffolding looks like a giant jungle-gym, a participative play structure in the genre of