Dennis Adrian

  • The Art of H.C. Westermann

    H. C. WESTERMANN’S ART PRESENTS to the critic numerous problems of stylistic definition and classification, but not merely within the context of mid-20th-century art movements which, if anything, offer an embarrassment of choices among Procrustean beds. The difficulties really lie within Westermann’s oeuvre itself, which, since its beginning in about 1953, has presented extremely varied facets of form and imagery, and has developed, not through the systematic working out of a formal vocabulary and syntax, but through the relentless and nervy exercise of a specific sensibility. While it is

  • Sidney Tillim

    Sidney Tillim’s exhibition of paintings this past spring at the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery raises, as it is meant to, questions about the current viability of realist art, the meaning of the term “realist” nowadays, the formal integrity of any sort of realist painting, and, of course, the visual interest of Tillim’s painting in and of itself.

    Since Tillim is a critic as well as a painter, it seems best here to put his criticism aside, for the moment at least, as no more than oblique to his own painting since criticism, if it is not diffuse, presents evidence of the operation of esthetic principles

  • Jack Beal

    Several still lifes in previous exhibitions, involving deliberated elaborated dealings with light, signaled, for Jack Beal, a new vision of the subject as clearly ambivalent between pattern formed by the light on the color of things, and the arrangement of the things themselves. Space in these works was tipped up, congested, and Manneristic. In Beal’s current show, the four earlier of the eight figure paintings progressively forced this clear ambiguity to a point of ruptured coherence in the large Nude with Four Vertical Patterns.

    In the paintings of this group, the subject consists of a female

  • George Bireline

    George Bireline’s show at the Emmerich Gallery belongs to that category of contemporary work which seeks, within defined and published critical boundaries, to take up the challenge of forming and projecting an original voice. Bireline’s paintings are all in long rectangular formats, principally horizontal, although the show was strikingly punctuated with big, narrow, vertical pictures. He composes with rectangular bands of matte colors stained precisely into the rough canvas. In the horizontal paintings, the bands and parallel blocks of color produce an illusion of deep color fields framed by

  • “Language to Be Looked At and/or Things to Be Read”

    “Language to Be Looked At and/or Things to Be Read” at the Dwan Gallery stumbles the gamut from Du-champ mss. and Futurist typography through a vintage Magritte oil to a stenciled Indiana log (HUG EAT DIE). The pleasant little gimmick is a quick and reasonably thorough survey of the use of letter forms in painting and objects since about 1914 to the present day. It has been pretty clear that letters are things to look at in their own write at least since the time of the Book of Kells, and Western painting has made considerable use of this fact through the early Renaissance. From 1450 to the

  • David Von Schlegell

    At the Royal Marks Gallery David Von Schlegell shows two immense pieces coursing and flung the length of the gallery. Each piece is conceived as intervals of swooping planes. One piece has three such large off-square fins which scallop off curving chunks of space as the forms progressively decline. These fins are kept apart and together with struts, cables and turnbuckles. The sloop-like progression of forms has aerated intervals whose tensions and dynamic interrelations are diagrammed by the aluminum struts and steel cables.

    The second and longer piece consists of two smaller planes, more sharply

  • Juan Gris

    The exhibition of drawings and gouaches by Juan Gris at the Saidenberg Gallery presents an important group of nearly fifty works from the period 1910–1927. In it, the special nature of Gris’ approach to draftsmanship is made unequivocally clear. One sees throughout the impulse toward a classic idea of form and composition—solid, stable, architectonic, cleanly contrasting volumes and planes, and with images set on and within the page with great care. Among the major Cubist painters, his drawings are unique in that they are almost wholly autonomous. Their relationship to the paintings is rarely

  • Drawings From New York Collections

    The second of the exhibitions of Drawings from New York Collections, organized jointly by the Metropolitan Museum and the Pierpont Morgan Library, is now at the latter of these institutions, and represents very well indeed The 17th Century in Italy. The preceding exhibition, that of Italian Renaissance drawings (held at the Met), had dealt exceptionally well with a field made extremely problematic both by the rarity of the material and the consequent limitations of local collections whether public or private. With 17th-century Italian drawings, there is a happy abundance of material and a

  • Fairfield Porter

    Fairfield Porter’s exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery presents a complete exposition of the different currents in painting with which the artist has been involved over the years. Porter’s approach to painting is not to scatter his shots over a group of only tangentially related modes, but rather, within the tradition of painting from nature and life, to frame and resolve pictorial questions suggested by his various genres.

    The show is dominated by three large canvases, each striking a different note. Columbus Day gives us the familiar Porter landscape with houses, with a large flickering

  • David Weinrib

    At the Royal Marks Gallery David Weinrib has a good sized spread of pieces in the new manner and technique seen in the just-past Whitney Annual. Superficially, the novelty of Weinrib’s new pieces is in the material. He is now using a clear, or at least translucent plastic that can be solid-cast quite freely. Right off, this produces several unique effects, in that light is not only reflected from the surface of the work, but may penetrate into and through it as well. Happily, it is the spatial implications of these phenomena which Weinrib has chosen to work with; that is, now that the works not

  • Edward Avedisian

    At the Robert Elkon Gallery, Edward Avedisian shows seven large canvases which continue the line of simplified color abstractions he has concerned himself with for several seasons now. In this show, the ideational framework of each canvas is the same: into a square or rectangular color field, we see the intrusion of several forms which read as part of a very large striped circular disk. These stripes are in two colors only, and there are always three of them in an a-b-a arrangement. All the color, of both field and stripes is stained on the canvas, there is no trace of brushwork. However, the

  • Jason Seley

    Jason Seley’s current show at the Kornblee Gallery has taken a decided step away from his earlier open, predominantly frontal manner to a confrontation with the massy problems of working fully in the round. The compositions are still additive, in that they are assembled from the automobile bumpers which are his trademark, and the knobs, thickish flanges, bulletlike mammary projections of the raw material make up a basic repertoire of forms which the artist uses again and again in different ways.

    The three largest pieces in the show form a group in themselves by virtue of the particular way they