Elizabeth M. Polley

  • “1,000 Years Of American Indian Art”

    108 outstanding art items highlighting the culture of American and Canadian Indians, selected by Dr. Frederick J. Dockstader, Director of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, New York City, and circulated under the auspices of the American Federation of Arts.

    The point is made that Indian art from about 900 A.D. to the early years of the 20th century was traditionally functional. Art for art’s sake is a recent concept, most notable in the form of watercolor paintings—six of which are included here. Decoration was obviously of tremendous importance to Indian art. In many cases it

  • Bernice Bing and Margot Campbell

    Bernice Bing, born in San Francisco’s Chinatown, has been living at the Mayacamas Vineyards this past year, and is just beginning to come to terms with the rugged landscape there. Her 12 paintings, selected from 20 recently completed, are something of a biography. The earliest works, though competently painted, are completely detached views of the expanse of valley from a mountain top—lifeless, without the foil of a figure. But in #12 and #13, done in October and November of 1963, Miss Bing begins to see the landscape as environment, and to enjoy it as such. She loses the dry, still-life-of-mountains

  • Barbara Spring

    Mrs. Springs wooden foods bespeak the little girl who used rocks and roots as playhouse foods, and, growing up, retained a sharp eye for food associations in natural objects. She also retained a sense of humor and enough courage to indulge her seeing eye. She has no inhibitions about her concern with food—as a wife and mother she must deal with it constantly.

    Her show here comprises sculpture and assemblages of wood burls, knots and roots which have been selected and refined into the shapes of common food item—hams, hot dogs, cakes, cookies, bottles of cola drink, even vitamin capsules—then

  • Bryan Wilson, Ruth Horsting, Galerie de Tours Group

    Wilson, one of Gump’s regular exhibitors, is also an ornithologist, which gives his paintings of bird life an air of authenticity. But unlike such predecessors as Audubon, Wilson does not dwell upon detail. Nor does he merely catalog fact. With a minimum of means he depicts the life of birds and small animals in their natural habitat, depending upon characteristic gesture and shape for identification of species.

    Wilson is a master of placement. He foregoes aerial and linear perspective in favor of the Oriental’s climbing perspective, and in doing so gives his forms a dramatic and pleasing

  • “New Faces”

    Wilbur Curtis, Dwight Eberly, Jane Garritson, Jean Kalisch, Helen Landgraff, Gary Rogers, Frances Velasco Shinn and Don Yee are introduced with several recent works each, although for several of them this is not a first show.

    Landgraff paints flags, to the point of chauvinism; Yee follows Gregory Kondos’ “bluish landscapes” and does it well; Curtis shows competent abstracts; Rogers is morbidly interested in vomit stains in grape-juice purple; Eberly’s Populated Silence, a sfumati rub-out reminiscent of Leonardo’s unfinished works, is spoiled by a too-glossy surface; Kalisch continues her house-top

  • Alexander Nepote, James D. Estey, and Ruth Rippon

    Nepote has won an enviable number of awards in both oils and watercolors, and has done so without having changed either style or subject matter to any great extent for more than a decade.

    The development of his present idiom was gradual. At first concerned with the scarred and tattered facades of abandoned buildings in the Mother Lode ghost towns, he abstracted them to near decorations, using wonderfully transparent water-color washes or black-lined oil stains. Yet he was seemingly frustrated by an inability to penetrate the subject. Then, he discovered the alpine level of the Sierra Nevada, with

  • “English Pottery, Swedish Folk Art”

    120 pieces of early English pottery from the Frank P. and Harriet C. Burnap collection housed in the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and the Atkins Museum of Fine Arts in Kansas City, and over 500 items of Swedish folk art in an eight-part exhibition from the Nordiska Museum, Stockholm.

    The new policy lined out for the de Young Museum by new Director Jack R. McGregor, does not eliminate the showing of contemporary art, but it evidently aims at curtailing it, which has its unfortunate side. However, such historical and educational exhibitions the de Young’s program, and some validity to

  • Alex Nicoloff, June Felter, Pat Tavenner and Lillian Elliot

    Nicoloff, a sculptor, is Senior Artist in charge of exhibit design at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology, University of California. It is not unexpected, then, that some of his work would relate, in part, to primitive art, and some to sophisticated mutations. He shows small bronzes here, cast by the lost wax process. The character of the wax is apparent in thumb-printed surfaces, sensitive rotation of masses, crudely gouged grooves and thumped edges. Nicoloff, however, disclaims any special interest in materials as such. He says “That an image is Mainstream Abstract, is of the New Figurative

  • Karla Moss and Richard McLean

    Karla Moss uses letters, bands, symbols and script to heighten the visual interest of these recent paintings. Some are mainly decorative while others have that depth of content that is often born of form (like Inside a Diamond). It is the smaller paintings which, lacking that pretentiousness that so often characterizes works of exaggerated size, are most successful here. Among the drawings included, the group composition titled “Thinkers, Listeners, Watchers” is outstanding.

    McLean seems to be reaching for direction in this show of paintings and drawings. His works vary from stimulating drawings

  • Jane Wilson, Jeoffrey Fricker, African Sculpture

    Jane Wilson exhibits pretty much the same show she had at Gump’s Gallery, San Francisco, in October. Her atmospheric landscapes are symphonies of color and movement. Reminiscent of Monet’s impressionism and of Sargent’s flickering watercolor brush-stroke, they evoke a romantic mood suggesting capsules of time and nature to be held in the memory like pearls on a rosary. Miss Wilson speaks the firm visual language of the action painter, but in a breathless whisper. And she knows when she has said enough.

    The African sculptures are from the collection of Dr. Ladislas Segy of New York. About 40 items

  • “Clairol Collection”

    An exhibition indicative of the growing trend among large American corporations to form art collections and circulate them for public exhibition. In this collection the prints and drawings are from The Clairol Collection, with sculptures and paintings lent by various museums, art galleries or private collectors. Will Barnett, Ben Johnson and Lester Johnson have lent their own works. As with many collections, this one is limited by the tastes and aims of the patron, and is further confined by the theme: “Mother and Child.” It is circulated under the auspices of the American Federation of Arts,

  • William J. Hughes and Walter N. Ball

    Paintings in diverse approaches by two new members of the art faculty. Hughes was a science major before turning to art midway through the University of Oregon. He has selected canvases from four years of work here, and in them indicates that science and the tendency to categorize are still with him. This in no way devaluates his work; the scientist’s analytical approach can be of great value to the creative artist. Others, Mondrian and Albers, for instance, have preceded him in this field, but he does not emulate their work although he refers to their findings.

    His largest painting here is a

  • Wally Devlin, Freeman Gadberry and Ruth Surdez

    Devlin’s big yellows are the most exciting works in this group show of new names. It also includes fantasy abstractions by Gadberry and assemblages of found objects, mainly of kitchen origin, worked into relief sculptures with richly colored surfaces by Surdez.

    Devlin pushes the yellow color to its extreme, in textured nonobjectives, and landscapes with figures. Yellow suggests the form of the triangle or pyramid with the point or apex down. As the color of highest visibility in the spectrum, it is sharp, angular and crisp in quality. Yet it does not have much weight, is more like light than

  • Elmer Bischoff

    A special preview of 10 paintings and 8 drawings from Bischoff’s Spring-scheduled exhibition at Staempfli’s, in New York. The purpose of the Bischoff preview is to select one of his works for the Crocker Gallery’s Contemporary Collection.

    An incurable romantic, Bischoff still holds mainly to figurative painting, and currently favors rounded, strongly modeled figures reminiscent of Corot’s Italiennes. Stripped to their bare emotions, they stand, clothed or nude, staring with unquenchable yearning toward a far horizon, or gazing with tender narcissism into a mirror or pool.

    Some of his more recent

  • Frank Hamilton and Arne Wolf

    Geophysical surrealism, calligraphy as pictures, plus an educational exhibit of the methods and materials of casting.

    Hamilton, a former potter and sculptor, abandoned clay in 1960 to become a full-time painter. He has studied with Hans Hofmann and Ralph DuCasse, and before he quit pottery he must have come into contact with Miró’s ceramic plaques. Excepting for an occasional flare of color, there is little of Hofmann left in his work. DuCasse, however, seems to have left an indelible impression. Hamilton has used his islands and pods of color, adding to them Miró’s precise and lively freeform

  • Harold Margolis and Gardiner McCauley

    Margolis is a highly competent painter who gambles with various styles, coming up with certain notable benefits. (From such sources as Goya, Ensor, Redon and Gauguin.) Despite his study with the late David Park, whose influence shows here only in the lush paint surface, his most substantial gain seems to be from Gauguin, not so much in the use of color, although his colors can be rich as well as bright, or in 2-dimensional space, but in his aspiration toward a pictorial equivalent of states of mind.

    His small landscapes, in which he creates spaciousness by refusing to linger over details, are

  • Dan Szpakowski

    Szpakowski shows both paintings and drawings here. He identifies with that group of Sacramento artists who examine the landscape of the surrounding area with an eye to its structure rather than sweetly describing it. But he varies in that he chooses his subjects from mountain tops: creeping snowpacks, precarious rockfalls and flying wedges of forest. Subjects which offer compelling diagonals in contrast to the endless horizontals of the Valley floor. Szpakowski is at his best in those small drawings where strong oblique lines trace the special flaws in a rock, or a glacier, which are first to

  • Warren Parker and Victor Heady

    The Vido is Sacramento’s newest gallery, located in Town and Country suburb. Its current exhibition roster indicates that it will cater to the more plebian tastes of the suburbanite. Which confronts Heady and his partner, Don Wilson, who own the gallery, with a problem of policy: determining their responsibilities as tastemakers as well as merchandisers.

    This small opening show features an exhibition of works done in the past three years by Parker, a young man of very irregular performance, and a token show by Heady, himself. Since the gallery is small (though tastefully appointed) and emphasis

  • Joseph Mallard William Turner

    This first comprehensive American exhibition and only West Coast showing of his watercolors re-establishes Turner as one of the most complex and contradictory artists England has produced. Circulated under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, it is intended to illustrate the extraordinary range and versatility of Turner’s genius. This it does, magnificently, insofar as 80 watercolors can represent an artist who is known to have produced some 19,000 of them during his long career. Emphasis is upon his lesser-known early and late periods, tracing his development from a mannered watercolor

  • Northern California Annual

    Northern California Arts, Inc., formed in 1937 as a service organization to promote art activities in the community, has had its ups and downs, swinging fitfully between “modern” and “conservative” styles of painting.

    In this, its 10th Annual Open Exhibition, it goes conservative to the point of being reactionary. Apparently the artists noted the jury panel, comprised of Ken Morrow, Dr. Marcus Reitzel, and Robert Rischell, and the outmoded terminology, and submitted accordingly. Why, after 26 years, this organization still clings to the silly categorizing of its shows into modern and conservative