Elizabeth M. Polley

  • East Bay

    There have been some startling changes in the concept of watercolor painting in the past decade, and nowhere is it more evident than in the comprehensive 45th Annual National Exhibition of the California Watercolor Society, at the Kaiser Center Gallery, a joint project of the Oakland Art Museum and Kaiser Industries. An exhibition by the California Watercolor Society is always outstanding for the tremendous variety of approaches presented, and this one is no exception. Also outstanding is the high degree of professionalism shown by each and every exhibitor––a professionalism that in no way infers

  • Wayne Thiebaud, Tony DeLap, Jerry Silva, Anthony Berlant, Ralph Goings, David Dangelo, Darrell Forney, Alan Post, Gregory Kondos, William Wiley, Gary Pruner, Walter Ball, Larry Weldon, Dan Shapiro, Irving Marcus, Jack Ogden, Mel Ramos and more

    Collector Malcolm Weintraub and Robert Else, Professor of Art at Sacramento State College, have selected 60 works by 31 artists of the immediate area in a show that is of much higher calibre than one might expect from a city too far away to be part of the Bay Area metropolitan complex of galleries yet too close to be wholly independent of it.

    In a strange sort of dual role, San Francisco has been both a boon and a curse to the outlying cities. Too often unforgivably parasitic, city fathers of perimeter metropolises are apt to take a dim view of building museums or developing art centers since

  • Marjorie Ehlers

    The first one-man show of oils and drawings by an artist of great potential whose brushwork and whose design is nearly flawless, but whose symbolism is so personal as to need her special interpretation. Which limits viewer participation. In short, she prefers monologue to dialogue.

    Miss Ehlers has chosen to speak through the human figure as it is involved with a group. The central figure in each picture is part encapsulated in broad black line, and is presumably herself. The major part of her show is a sort of charade about one important event in her life. But what the event was and why its echo

  • William Morehouse

    In a gallery far too small for its stock and much too cluttered for comfortable viewing, Morehouse’s measured landscapes still show to advantage. He is exhibiting mostly small things in which his ability to state and support eloquent space is clearly revealed, although his tendency lately to break the frontal plane of the picture with an ox-bow line is tricky and unfortunate.

    Morehouse has recently enriched his palette by extending the range of color to include more reds, a condition benefiting such small pictures as “Black field,” which is best in the show here, and in harmony with the thick

  • Roger Baird

    The 44th National Exhibition of the California Watercolor Society stresses an astonishing range of technical approaches to the handling of a medium that was probably in use before man had a spoken language. One sees here the full spectrum—from the transparent to the opaque, from the objective to the non-objective. The jurors, Jonathan Scott, Leonard Edmondson, Noel Quinn, Clem Hall, and Hilda Levy, apparently placed but one requirement upon an accepted work: that it stand as a painting. They have admitted very few duds. Yet despite the depth of subject matter and the general excellence of

  • Robert Hartman and Richard Wagner

    Mixed media paintings expounding the romance of the aviator, and constructed metal sculpture playing weight against measure.

    Hartman scrubs his canvases with subtle variable grays and into this nebulous background he photo-screens sepia-toned pictures of early-day biplanes or monoplanes in pairs, multiples in tight formation, and occasionally a single plane in lone-eagle concept (although there is no special reference to Lindberg). By keeping them compartmented in white rectangles he isolates them from the elemental sky area and suggests the artificiality of the flying machine despite its marvelous

  • John Mancini

    Mancini’s division of the canvas into large uncluttered areas of strong color and his ability to summarize trees and houses by means of reducing them to simple volumes give a quiet power to his paintings. Recently he has turned from the quiet serenity of understated landscape to the quiet serenity of understated urban scape—thereby escaping the threat of monotony which sometimes menaces his shows.

    Elizabeth M. Polley

  • Cordoba Bienal

    30 paintings by 20 artists from Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, selected by Paul Mills, curator of the Oakland Art Museum, Lawrence Alloway, curator of the Guggenheim Museum, and Robert Wool, president of the Inter-American Foundation for the Arts, from the Second Bienal Americana de Arte held at the University of Cordoba, Argentina, last fall.

    The South American artists are apparently an eclectic group. In some cases they have achieved a syncretistic style in which their obvious borrowings have been made to serve a new and personal purpose. And in other cases one searches

  • Genevieve Edwards and more

    An astonishingly weak selection of 28 paintings. For some obscure reason a jury comprised of Elmer Bischoff, Paul Mills and Wally Hedrick rejected 388 of the 416 paintings and drawings submitted for this year’s annual, to come up with a show that resembles a high school annual more than the sophisticated work one has a right to expect from an area supporting some of the better known artists in the state.

    Insecure jurors can create a minor scandal, and at the same time buy a cheap reputation for having ’’tough eyes” by this process of mass rejection. The West Coast has seen a rash of such jurying

  • Jose Posada

    A selected group of 100 wood engravings by a printmaker who, for the better part of his life, was a salaried employee of a Mexican publisher and conducted a sort of picture journalism of his own for the illiterate peons of his time. It is estimated that he produced more than 20,000 engravings, with a single design running in some cases to as many as 5 million prints.

    In using his work to satirize contemporary Mexican life, Posada wielded a forceful and vitriolic weapon. As a prophet of revolution he paralleled Spain’s Goya and France’s Daumier. The limitations of the medium plus the vehement

  • Ronald Dahl and Carl Jennings

    Paintings and drawings of figures in a strange state of weightlessness, and decorative iron works that have the feel of honest craftsmanship and the look of beauty.

    Dahl has his own ideas on subject-matter and has painted in a style strongly influenced by Frank Lobdell, which would indicate a thick, painterly surface and wonderfully plastic composition, with shape defined by sinuous brush-stroke. Despite its suggestion of Munch and Kokoschka, Dahl’s idiom borders on Surrealism: floating figures of fantastically colored dogs and people (in that order of importance) held in suspension just above

  • Tio Giambruni and Harry Lum

    Giambruni’s recent sculptures have lost their tentacley quality and have now taken two separate di­rections—one in which flotsam is assembled in an ascending stream on a vertical column, in direct opposition to his former enfolded “cephlapods,” and one where he again enfolds shapes, but they are streamers which become globes. He also shows a number of small discs. They suggest an involvement with Buddhist philosophy, especially as the meticulous drawings he also shows seem to have been inspired by contemplation of the navel. Giambruni still takes his subject matter from nature as it is revealed