Douglas McClellan

  • Sculpture

    SCULPTURE IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA was for many years a series of individual efforts within a Twentieth Century form-material definition. The sculptors were independent and there was a school-lessness typical of the area. There was also an isolation that may stem from the fact that sculpture by its nature is a less portable tradition than painting, and there was less past to overcome when modernism finally struck. But even in isolation their works were united by the large tradition of the form-maker. To anyone who even pretends to tradition today, the whole definition under which he works

  • Vasily Kandinsky

    The large Kandinsky show organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents massive evidence of the artist’s historical importance in the modern movement. The exhibit is the most comprehensive ever to represent the man who played such a large part in moving painting beyond the object into the forms of the 20th century. Confronted with almost 100 paintings it is no longer possible to think of him (comfortably) as merely one of the representative “greats” who exists in survey books as a link in the chain: one must face him as a painter. Such a confrontation of Kandinsky’s total sequence of

  • Paul Wonner

    Taken as a group style the figurative painting of the Bay Area has certain consistent trademarks. The figure is impersonal but it is viewed intimately. The spatial framework almost always contains a collision between the illusion of space and the coincidences that flatten space. The lavish use of paint does not elaborate forms or enrich surfaces but seems more to muffle the sense of immediate contact—to “distance” the painting in the sense that Brecht used the term. If color is strongly used it acts as a foil, fuming and fussing at cross purposes with the objects and their space. These paradoxes

  • Paul Darrow

    In his recent work, which represents about one-third of the current exhibition, Darrow has become more directly and sensitively involved with nature, especially the sea. Direct in that the works are no longer involved with a style or organization, and sensitive in that this unstructured nature of the work provides the freedom to move in the ways of nature. In a loose sense they have a Turneresque sweep which is unconcerned with specifics. “Night Sea,” with its warm greens and elusive points of focus, speaks of the phenomena of changing light and atmosphere without freezing them in a pictorial

  • Hitchcock Collection

    The collection of Ruth and Elwood Hitchcock presents a range of small works by moderns. Some of those present are in the “master” category: Picasso with “Head of a Young Man” (etching, 1905), some Chagall, some Klee, two Rouault wood-blocks, a Lautrec poster. Of pioneer Americans there are several Marin watercolors, a Dove and a very convincing drypoint “Head” by Walt Kuhn. All these are of top quality and seem to be the result of sensitive choice. Of the more recent works the quality is not as even but still the batting average is good considering the risks of “fresh art” Lebrun is represented

  • Karen Neubert and William Ransom

    An exhibition of paintings, collages, and object sculpture by this husband-and-wife team range in content from Krazy Kat to an advertising campaign for Pop-sex. Karen Neubert (HERS) shows a very real affinity for paint and the things that paint can do. In her supersaturated non-objective canvases she uses a soft enameloid consistency, wet into wet, to produce viscous shapes precariously arrayed in the flux of the visual field. Ignatz Gets the Mean Reds, one of several stemming from Herriman’s cartoons (he would flip at all these soft edges), has a wit that works handsomely with the richness of

  • Holiday Show

    Sixty-three small-scale gems are aired and contain some very good finds. Outside of the gallery group are such things as several trenchant Grosz drawings, a nifty Stuart Davis lithograph, a smattering of Matta drawings that pop all over the place, a brooding Tapies lithograph, an unusually pattern-oriented Max Ernst print, and many others. One particular delight was a collage, Untitled #17, by the Brazilian (now in Paris) Arthur Luis Piza. It consists of subtle cut squares in subtle colors and is roughly reminiscent of Klee’s “constructed” watercolors but has an authority of control that is the

  • Holiday Show

    A mixed grill of small things. The star billing would seem to go to the ceramics of Bertil Vallien for a series of witty pot sculptures. They are nicely impertinent and make capital use of the medium. Of the paintings, Lee Hill and Dean Spille are represented by workmanlike smaller oils.

    Douglas McClellan

  • “20th Century Drawings from the Museum of Modern Art”

    The regular gallery goer in the L.A. area can develop a set of symptoms that give the muzzy sensation that all art is manufactured mint fresh weekly in time for Monday’s Market. So much that is new is being exhibited and so little of the old models are to be seen that one can easily believe that the obsolescence-makers are at work on art. There is a subsequent atrophy of the past tense that the antidotes at the local museum dispensaries are not strong enough or massive enough in dosage to offset. Occasional imported miracles must suffice and often they are so specialized or deep-dyed in the

  • John Paul Jones

    Like the smile on the Cheshire Cat, the portrait image in Jones’ pictures keeps dissolving and the next batch may well be just a smile of thin air. The paintings are dark-to-black surfaces, drawn into with a graffito line and rubbed for a minimal sort of value range in the background. They are less like paintings than suspensions of the developmental stage of an etching plate, inked, rubbed and ready to print. This understatement involves the viewer in the rather trivial pastime of merely trying to read the non-images rather than in participating in what is said. As psychological portraits they

  • “A Tribute to the American Academy: Will Foster”

    With a flourish and a ready brush, Will Foster painted what he liked best in the world. His skill at pulling paint through paint is a lesson and although one can easily find his interests narrow, trivial and annoyingly modish, the virtuosity he displayed in the oil medium must be conjured with. His was a pinchable world populated with vampish women, nubile still lifes, and an occasional exotic bird—but mostly the women. He never seemed to tire of their prettiness and applied his Sargentesque heritage to the task of celebrating them with enthusiasm. The exhibition covers his work for the last 25

  • Robert Frame

    This latest series of luscious paintings are a continuation of the artist’s concern with color in harness with an elegant painterly attack. He has clarified his style further and the total impact is more sure and more consistent than in previous shows. “The Open Window” stands out as one of the best; being a little more economical in color it achieves a lyrical balance of parts and does not become bogged down with a kind of phthalocyanine intensity that affects some. Of the landscapes “Night Trees” is tremendously moving with all the complexity of color and shape held in bold pattern by the