Knute Stiles

  • James Johnson

    James Johnson is a hard-edge painter who often works with two panels. One such duo (in his show at St. Mary’s College) actually forms a trio of forms when brought together, the third member being parts of each panel which finally obscures the separation. The muted and harmonized colors are so balanced that the vibrant action which could obtain with some of the color relationships do not produce the expected after-image ghosts; for example, blue-purple-gray steps in one painting are contrasted with a brown-gray on the risers of these steps which hover right on the point where brown is almost

  • Joe Oddo

    I went to Joe Oddo’s studio. He had mentioned that the work in a group show at the Oakland Museum earlier this year was a couple of years old, and that it was hard for him to think about it because he was so thoroughly into his new work. I wanted to know about that so I persuaded him to take me to see the new work. I can’t reproduce a picture because nothing is finished and decisions for major changes are still coming up. He is working with both spray gun and brush and is carefully eradicating evidence of undercoats with each change of mind. The description I will make is tempered by the knowledge

  • Bernice Bing

    I knew that Bernice Bing’s paintings had altered to a new course so I invited myself to her studio. She spent a year at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur doing a Jungian, mystical, encounter group period of study. The prototype comes from there. It is like a Chinese landscape with subtle painting in concert with rough and feathered brushiness, but foggy stripes keep a figure entrapped in an unknown space. Bernice Bing puts her life wherever it takes her into her paintings, and back in San Francisco the prismatic stripes cross a mask-like face of pipe smoking placidity, but with bullets in its

  • The Sculpture of James Reineking

    JAMES REINEKING’S SCULPTURE HAS had an accompanying hum or buzz for the last three exhibitions. The sound did not really seem connected until recently. Perhaps the image he was seeking to project was an air of mystery. Actually the sound is so unobtrusive that it is easily mistaken for the quiet sounds of the ventilation system, or some other automated utility device. It sounds functional. There were other elements of mystery in the shows prior to this one. The plastic hull of a shallow pyramid would glow and a mechanical, light-sensitive organ would rev up the pitch of the buzz when a light

  • San Francisco

    Don Potts’ car, treated elsewhere (“Don Potts’ Game of Car,” Artforum, October 1970), went on exhibition elsewhere than in the pages of a magazine or in Potts’ studio by the tracks. It had to be delivered to the fifth floor Hansen-Fuller Gallery in pieces and reassembled. Rather than standing around pretending the art wasn’t there at the opening (which is the custom at most openings), this time the onlookers were standing close and all around, three deep, looking over the sculpture in detail and discussing it animatedly. The gallery goers had been somewhat prepared, not only by the magazine

  • San Francisco

    A few years ago Manuel Neri’s carved plaster figures were a familiar sight in San Francisco. He was a sculptural relative of the broad-brush figurative painters who enjoyed a period of ascendency in the Bay Area. The new work is still often in stucco plaster, and the carving is still there in places, but the human figure is entirely absent, and the new form is a low, wide ziggurat, looking much like some monument from the past still showing its basic form, though ruined and eroded. Some are exhibited on the floor, some on the wall, and perhaps all could be used either way. One group of three

  • Don Potts' Game of Car

    THE GAME IS PROCESS: find an abstract function and think out the most appropriate material for the function. Even the most appropriate material has its own nature, and to use it with a feeling that the material is being used in an optimum way naturally bends the initial function; not exactly changes it, but moves the focus. Don Potts is a builder-artist of the experimental turn of mind necessary to make the process game a working method. He begins with a tentative function and reads the next step out of the possibilities as they present themselves. When an object is perfectly crafted there is

  • An Ilya Bolotowsky Retrospective Travels the West

    THE SUBJECT MATTER OF Ilya Bolotowsky’s painting is the shape of the canvas. There are other factors, such as the nature and resolution of the previous painting (perhaps that factor may have indicated the selection of the shape), but the shape of the canvas poses the problem to be resolved. The shape itself is always symmetrical, at least bilaterally symmetrical in the case of a rectangle, but often a square (usually hung from its corner as a diamond), or a circle, or an ellipse, and when they are merely rectangular, the long sides of the rectangle are closer to the square than the traditional

  • The San Francisco Annual Becomes an Invitational

    UNTITLED 68, THE SAN FRANCISCO Art Institute’s show at the San Francisco Museum of Art, provides that city with a viewing of several artists who are in the limelight elsewhere, but who haven’t been seen here recently, and in some cases not seen at all. It doesn’t, of course, manage to show us everyone we haven’t seen, and it leaves out entirely those whom we have seen in depth over the last year or so. The show is divided into several departments or categories which might be described as heaven, hell and the real world. Thus, you could say that Noland, Olitski, Parker, Held and Louis were in

  • The Paintings of Al Held

    THOUGH AL HELD’S PAINTINGS are literally big, they have been painted with a monumentality which makes them seem even larger. They look like details cropped from an immensely larger whole which continues beyond the canvas. A bulky simplified facade will have been truncated with enough left to suggest what the absent end would have looked like. His circles are not only cropped to suggest a bigness beyond the space of the canvas, but they bulge and expand making them larger than a geometric circle could be.

    He likes to tell people he is a “realist” not only for the irony, which he undoubtedly relishes

  • 85th Annual of the San Francisco Art Institute

    There were 180 pieces of painting, sculpture and assorted media in The 85th Annual of the San Francisco Art Institute at the San Francisco Museum. Michel Tapies, the French collector and critic, was invited to jury this year’s show. Tapies is perhaps best known as the man who organized the Parisian exhibition of the American Abstract Expressionist painters which is said to have been the first time that Europeans had really given American art their respectful attention. Though the Annual is open to entrants from the whole United States it is generally expected to be an index of Bay Area tendencies,

  • Louis Gutierrez

    At the Arleigh Gallery is an exhibition of paintings by Louis Gutierrez, heretofore known for his work with collage. His collages were first quite loose though structured, and were textured by the appearance of wear and age, an accidental quality. Gradually Gutierrez’s collages tightened and grew more rigidly geometrical, and the surfaces became more finished, still textured but more like a patina. It might have seemed to many that he was progressing in the direction of the centralized flat field of color sort of painting which has become so popular. But when he decided to go over to paint he