Knute Stiles

  • 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,

  • James Grant and William Wiley

    Transformation is replacing illusion in today’s art. The paraphernalia which seemed essential only a short time ago has been shelved. Perspective may survive, but it can stand a season’s rest. The actual thing is now bodied forth, when not in actual fact as sculpture in the mass, then as a cast or print of the actual object; not a picture but a replica is replacing the former illusionist’s magic reproduction.

    During periods of experiment with new methods and materials the artist almost invariably abandons romantic expression and nostalgia, and the work becomes classical and formal. An exposition

  • Karl Kasten and Claire Falkenstein

    The experimental attitude among artists which has turned many painters to sculpture, and has induced many sculptors to paint or color their surfaces, has also extended itself to graphics. The Hollis Gallery is exhibiting just such a show of experimental prints by Karl Kasten, a painter, and Claire Falkenstein, a sculptor. Kasten has made collages which he inks and then runs as a master, through the press. He has made these printable collages of objects with a slightly raised character, flat in the main, but having some thickness, as metal, cardboard or plastic, rather than paper. (Two of these

  • William Geis and Bruce Nauman

    William Geis and Bruce Nauman, whose sculptures are now being shown at the San Francisco Art Institute, began the season by joining in a group project in transformation called the Slant Step Show in which the participating artists took a common object, ambiguous but functional, a very used slant step, which had probably been devised for a very routine but specialized purpose, but whose shape seemed to epitomize the anti-functional, or even impossible, and produced their own variations on its shape and meaning.

    Geis’s sculptures in plaster are large objects of an organic nature, but they are not

  • Harry Kramer

    The Dilexi is showing Harry Kramer. Each piece is a deliberate development of a known object into an anti-functional extension of itself which nonetheless is very active in its mechanical involvement: a relentless continuity of an absurd unfunction.

    The man-made, and man-influenced nature, is present even in the more pastoral reaches of modern life as Richard McLean’s exhibition of paintings at the Berkeley Gallery attests. McLean’s cows are alert and perfect as the examples on posters for livestock shows. His fleecy ram is mounted not on a hillock or turf, but on an inclined plane of sheet metal.

  • Art Holman

    At Gump’s the gallery goer will return to an idyllic set of landscapes suffused with light and painterly nuance. Art Holman has left behind the abstract linear vortex of past exhibitions, but curiously enough the bed springs, manhole covers, can lids, etc., seem much more real and natural.

    Knute Stiles

  • Deborah Remington’s New Work

    DEBORAH REMINGTON’S NEW PAINTINGS ARE mysterious, and romantic. With this admission no one would expect that the description could continue and successfully relate her to the new suprematist color painting faction of the avant-garde. Isn’t their color preoccupation almost a study of light wave physics? Aren’t their formal improvisations on symmetry and the near-symmetrical equilibrium mechanistic? And aren’t these words antithetical to such words as mysterious and romantic? In these paintings the methodical approach of the “Vibes” has been applied to the expression of esthetic ideas very similar

  • San Francisco

    The San Francisco Museum has had two large group shows this summer. The western regional exhibition of the Mead Corporation’s “Art Across America,” and the Art Institute’s 84th Annual were both juried by professional taste-makers from various museums, several of whom have identified themselves with the newest idioms. Since this was widely known in the art world, many established or well-known artists did not submit work this year. The shows were bright, colorful, youthful and full of invention. The Mead show included fourteen artists who were also in the Annual; that the count was actually that

  • Sidney Gordin’s New Work

    THOUGH SIDNEY GORDIN’S NEW STYLE, as seen in his recent exhibition in San Francisco, has been the preoccupation of two years, the pieces shown were mostly from the last year. The style has been a progressive and growing thing, almost unrelated to the serial attitude which has been a dominant mode recently. Not, in other words, a decision followed by the production of uniformly similar improvisations on a theme, but a working, pragmatic approach which grows out of the process. A board is sawed on the jigsaw; the artist is not sawing to a line, he is creating a curve as the blade moves; the shaped

  • Lee Mullican

    These are powerful and electrifying paintings. The exhibition is made up of two types of paintings, both exercising a similar palette and technique: short knife-strokes of paint using the whole gamut of reds from dark siennas to bright cadmiums have replaced the dominant yellows of earlier Mullican exhibitions, though there are some golden paintings here, too. One of these types of painting is a saw-tooth repeat pattern reverberating in a sort of hypnotic incantation. Two of these are entitled, suggestively, “Earth Rhythms.” The other sort of painting uses the knife-stroke to form pictographic

  • Dimitri Grachis

    Some of these paintings are entirely black. The definition of shapes has been obtained by using gravel in the black, which is to be positive: a disc of graveled black is seen in relief against the negative silvery black of smooth, thin paint. This is counterpoised against a graveled black square with the disc as a hole reversing the negative-positive relationship. Or the whole painting may be unevenly graveled with a scrived line as though a clam had moved from there to there. (If one is prone to literary simile only such modest allusions are allowable: the painter has scrupulously avoided

  • Karl Kasten, Elmer Bischoff, Herman Cherry, Hassel Smith, Sidney Gordin and John Haley

    Karl Kasten is interested in the manipulation of paint, and setting colors in jewel-like relations; for example, small impastos of bright reds, blues and actually metallic gold with broad fields of black. Elmer Bischoff is also interested in paint quality; if the focus is on the subject of the picture, the brushing seems nonetheless to be the artist’s real interest, the inactive figures only vehicles for rich fat paint, opaque with white. Herman Cherry, who has recently come back to the University after several years absence, exhibits torn paper and scotch tape collages. Hassel Smith has just