Palmer D. French

  • Iranian Art

    CURRENTLY TOURING THE U.S. is an impressive exhibition entitled “7000 Years of Iranian Art.”* This exhibition, circulated by the Smithsonian Institution through the cooperation of the governments of Iran and of the United States, consists mainly of objects loaned from the Teheran Archaeological Museum and the Collection Foroughi. The exhibition’s range of subject matter is highly diverse and comprises not only works of art, craft, and decorative artisanship representing the many cultural transitions experienced historically by the Iranian people, but also artifacts of peoples of other nations

  • William King

    In its most engaging exhibition of the season, the San Francisco Museum of Art, leading off the itinerary of a traveling show organized by the Dintenfass Gallery of New York, presented a new series of 14 sculptural constructions by William King. In these works King turns radically away from his former style—the fragile, attenuated figures clearly embodying a classical European heritage transmitted through Giacometti, which King first realized in traditional bronze casting and later translated into amalgams of cloth, polymers and other contemporary “soft” sculptural media—to a fresh and invigorating

  • Richards Ruben

    In an adjacent corridor, mixed media drawings (crayon, oil and oil-pastel on paper) by Richards Ruben featured stylistically manipulated studies of the nude female figure in which erogenous anatomy and erotic gesture provided the dominant motifs for highly intellectualized graphic variations including much double entendre in terms of dormant images and “field-transpositional” dual readabilities. An obvious preoccupation with the optics and dynamics of surface patterning, both in the schematic (and primarily linear and attentive) distribution of a sparsely applied, limited selection of colors,

  • “Arts of San Francisco”

    Reviving the practice of its excellent “Arts of San Francisco” program of over two years ago, the San Francisco Museum of Art inaugurated its 1970 exhibition calendar with three concurrent one-man shows by Bay Area artists, in this instance, Jerry Ballaine, Fletcher Benton and Sam Richardson. Installed as the Museum’s feature presentation for the month of January this triad of exhibitions occupied three large galleries and comprised an in-depth survey of recent trends in the work of these artists.

    Mr. Ballaine was represented by 20 vacuum-formed-plastic wall plaque reliefs from his 1969 Air Tight

  • Carson Jeffries, Jack Ward, Joe Riccio, Howard Jones and Jim Pennuto

    Artistically oriented technologists, as well as technologically oriented artists, were represented in the small but diversified selection of machines, electronic devices, optical systems, constructions, and kinetic sculptures which comprised the inventory of an exhibition entitled “Kinetic Light Show” recently presented at the Galeria Carl Van der Voort. Carson Jeffries, a professor of physics (UC, Berkeley) currently collaborating in an interdisciplinary symposium involving relationships between recent developments in physical technology on the one hand, and the graphic, plastic and performing

  • Toni Onley

    A large selection of serigraphs by the Canadian artist Toni Onley was exhibited recently at the Graphics Gallery. Onley’s style of evoking landscape recollections in abstracted, simplified forms and muted pastel colors is unique. It is nature’s quiet moods—the placid majesty of forest vastnesses, the stillness of mountain lakes and the somnolence of mead-owed hillsides and hidden valleys that provide the theme for these tranquilizing works.

    Palmer D. French

  • Gordon Yamamoto

    At the Arleigh Gallery, Gordon Yamamoto exhibited a dozen witty, burlesque charades in leather and in wood (with fittings and incidental accessories of brass and various other materials). The leather pieces were flamboyantly casual cowhide novelties, such as Banana Blanket—Combination Summer & Winter, a small holster-like leather envelope with optional fur lining encasing a banana. Bawdy allusions, visual puns and double entendres abounded, as well, in other cowhide exhibits entitled My Marbles, Zipper, _Dilation, Girl’s Bicycle Seat and Marshmallow Cartridge Belt. Three carefully crafted walnut

  • Alexander Nepote

    At the Quay Gallery, Alexander Nepote exhibited collage paintings executed in acrylics and paper on masonite board in a method and style strongly recalling the collage technique of Don Reich. Nepote’s recent work competently essays a familiar idiom of lithoid, organic free-form composition to which his chosen medium is uniquely suited—the torn edges and flattened crinkles of stiffened paper being readily adaptable to suggesting the ridges and corrugations of natural rock surfaces. In a prolific series embracing such titles as Mossy Rocky Niche, Rocky Slope, Lost Rock, Under the Cliff, Another

  • James Prestini

    Geometrically schematized forms derived from variously combining segments of H-beam, I-beam, cylindrical pipe and other foundry-standardized structural steel elements were the subject of an exhibition of recent sculptures by James Prestini organized by the San Francisco Museum of Art. The almost doctrinaire Bauhaus viewpoint which Prestini acquired in his long affiliation, first as a student and later as an instructor, with the Chicago Institute of Design in the 1940s, persists in his current work and in his expressed artistic platform. Prestini plates his basic steel elements with nickel or

  • Fredric Hobbs

    An exhibition of paintings, sculptures and graphics by the versatile Fredric Hobbs recently shown at the Bolles Gallery featured works in various media which were in one way or another peripheral to the production of Hobbs’ cinema epic in three parts, Troika, and included not only sculptural props used in the film together with working sketches for props, sets and special cinematic effects, but also subsequently conceived variations and adaptations to plastic or graphic media of ideas and motifs explored in the film. Perhaps because cinematography has given a new focus to Hobbs’ diverse interests

  • Boyd Allen and Lee Adair

    At the Berkeley Gallery, Boyd Allen showed neo-Romantic landscape fantasies with variations on a mountain theme. These paintings, of vast unpeopled panoramas, contrast sharply with the earlier series of localized nightmare labyrinths with fugitive, shadowy figures. In that earlier group the pictorial space, although not shallow, was proximate, and tensions were created by a fragmented non-regular grid schematic of composition generating nervous, cross interferential, directional rhythms.

    The recent landscapes feature a striate band composition of perspectively receding horizontals realized

  • Edward L. Higgins and Gerald Walburg

    Two simultaneous exhibitions at the Reese Palley Cellar featured, respectively, paintings by Edward L. Higgins and sculpture by Gerald Walburg. Although topologically interesting manipulation of a three-dimensional planilinear organizational schematic constitutes the predominantly intellectual appeal of the ten elegantly conceived and crafted pieces in black chromed steel which Walburg presented, they were nonetheless designed for wall-mounting and hence explored their geometric theme in terms of “frontal projection” rather than “in the round.” The essential abstract functional format adopted

  • Barbara Rogers

    In a stunning show of large canvass at the Michael Walls Gallery, Barbara Rogers conjures humor fully conceived bucolic fantasies in which voluptuous nude women, often with permanent wave coiffures, are depicted variously in attitudes of languorous luxuriation or of exuberant frolic, in settings of dense tropical foliage, and with exotic birds of brilliant plumage perched on their heads or alighting on their upturned palms. In some of these canvases this theme is treated in a manner unambiguously alluding to the whimsical and richly elaborated jungle fantasies of Henri Rousseau, while in others,

  • Jugendstile Expressionism in German Posters

    DR. HERSCHEL B. CHIPP, WHO ORGANIZED the University of California’s 1963 exhibition of works by Schiele, Klimt and Kokoschka under the title “Viennese Expressionism, 1910–1924,” has come up with another outstanding success in “Jugendstil and Expressionism,” an exhibition of the poster art of Germany and Austria from 1893 to 1934.

    Flyers, placards and playbills, in which small illustrative vignettes, trade symbols or monograms serve as subordinate embellishments to printed or lettered announcements and advertising tracts, were already commonplace by the last quarter of the 16th century. However,

  • San Francisco

    A comprehensive exhibition of sculptures and drawings by Gaston Lachaise (1882–1935), which is scheduled to tour some fifteen small museums and college campus galleries over the next two and a half years under the management of the Felix Landau Gallery of Los Angeles and the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery of New York as agents for “The Lachaise Foundation,” began its tour at the San Francisco Museum of Art last October.

    In 1906 at the age of 24, Lachaise, a native of France, came to America where he spent the remainder of his life, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1917. The era between his arrival here and

  • San Francisco

    An engaging selection of polymer-media painted wall plaques by James W. McManus recently exhibited at the Ala Gallery (Arlene Lind Associates) resembled large, flat, ingeniously conceived cutouts, while their surfaces provided the grounds for dynamic geometric designs in automobile paints and lacquers, exploiting in novel and inventive ways tensions generated by optical counterpoint with the complex edge-shapes or two-dimensional “silhouettes” of the plaques. Within the simple limitations of this plaque format, McManus demonstrates keen resourcefulness. In much more than the edge-pattern or

  • Wesley Chamberlain, Richard Graf and Robert Bechtle

    Mr. Chamberlain’s representational lithographs, such as Still Life for a Catholic Vintner and Sunday’s Ladies, comprise a tour de force of the draftsmanship and technical virtuosity employed with more range and imagination in his intaglio collages and tusche drawings. In Tuttle Flowers and in the Morning Objects series one finds sensitive explorations of “tonal” and morphodynamic space.

    Mr. Graf, turning to the rich heritage of North European Expressionism, essays lithographs and drawings evoking erotic fantasies and eerie, dreamlike architectural interiors, and demonstrating a consummate grasp

  • Williamson Mayo and Francis de Erdely

    In Mr. Mayo’s oil paintings a torrid and colorful treatment of Tahitian landscape and people veers from a Folk-Primitivism (that is more West Indian than Polynesian) in such statements as Three Tahitian Churches to a Fauvist handling of landscape rhythms and colors in “Glade Near Papete,” and then careens into a Gauguinesque exposition of figurative themes. To all of these assimilations, however, Mr. Mayo adds an individual transformation derived, according to the gallery statement, from his virtuosity and experience as “one of the best living poster artists.”

    Co-featured is a small selection of

  • Robert S. Neuman

    Opening at the Wallis Gallery as this goes to press was the first West Coast exhibition since 1954 of work by the Harvard-based Robert S. Neuman. Mr. Neuman’s paintings in oil on linen of four and five years ago present a survival of Abstract Expressionism, intellectualized, tempered and suffused with a mellow, no-doubt Harvard bred, academicism; some more recent mixed media drawings (1966–67) have, however, engaging vitality. Crisply stated geometric shapes and astringent linearities are skillfully manipulated in two series entitled, respectively, Mirage Studies and Voyage Drawings. In these

  • Art Holman and Ruth Asawa

    The graphic work of Mr. Holman here exhibited, in which the pastel crayon predominates, falls into three chronologically sequential phases. The exhibits are untitled and may be identified only by dates of composition. The earliest phase (1959) may be desig­nated as the “color-fabric” phase, in which, but for a narrow margin, the en­tire rectangle of paper presents an ho­mogenous, hazy surface of some basic hue, through which, like fibers in a tweed swatch, miniscule threads and points of various colors are more or less uniformly distributed; the “lithoid” phase (1960–61) explores intersecting