Palmer D. French

  • Richard Fiscus, Robert Maki, Connor Everts, Matt Glavin and Donald Campbell

    The GALLERY REESE PALLEY afforded San Francisco one of the most genuinely enjoyable gallery shows of the summer season in exhibiting a large selection of recent paintings by RICHARD FISCUS. In these paintings, which elaborate landscape themes in linearly defined, two-dimensionally schematized form-simplifications, relatively dense, overall meshes of linear patterning, emphatically stated in heavy, flat ribbons of black paint, engendered a mosaic of fragmentary interstitial shapes, each of which is “filled in” with a single, uniformly applied color. The compositions make oblique reference to the

  • Arlo Acton

    Early last fall the Hansen Gallery presented a retrospective exhibition of work by the San Francisco sculptor Arlo Acton. That show contained no immediately recent work and was, in bulk, comprised of those large, somewhat neo-Dadaist, found-object assemblage-constructions (predominantly of wood) which occupied Acton during the early sixties (see Artforum, Vol. III, No. 1), most of which have received sufficiently frequent local exposure over the past few years to have become quite familiar to the majority of Bay Area gallery-goers and museum habitués.

    Recently, the Hansen Gallery staged the second

  • Charles Mattox

    Kinetic showmanship with some buffoonery also held sway at the Quay Gallery, which featured a veritable carnival of bright colored, noisy devices contrived by Charles Mattox. In contrast, however, to Acton’s vaudeville slapstick and burlesque double entendres, the Mattox exhibits were all good clean fun for the kiddies, and the show as a whole exuded the seasonally appropriate atmosphere of a novelty toy shop before Christmas: here was Mattox’s kinetic wizardry in its most jovial and Harlequinesque aspects, together with a few elaborate gadgets resembling the more imaginative sort of stage props

  • Mark Shroeder

    The newly opened A.L.A. Gallery (Arlene Lind Associates) presented the first one man show of paintings by Mark Shroeder, a recent graduate of the California College of Arts and Crafts. These exhibits comprised a series of rather morbid biomorphic fantasies combining sexual and pathological anatomical allusions in a manner definitely not designed for comfortable contemplation by the squeamishly impressionable; for here was a kaleidoscope of imagery that seemed like the nightmares of a hypochondriacal nervous breakdown—imagery obviously inspired by medical illustrations of organic deformities,

  • Barbara Barengo

    Another young artist’s debut show was featured by the Michael Walls Gallery in presenting paintings by Barbara Barengo, whose lyrical abstractions in subdued, opaque colors, expounding highly involved, composed relationships of well defined shapes, color masses and linear rhythms, represent not only a rejection of Abstract Expressionism but likewise a turning away from the rigid and quasi technological schematism associated with Op and Hard Edge techniques, toward a re examination of some of the approaches to the esthetics and dynamics of abstraction that prevailed a half century ago.

    In such

  • William Dubin

    The Dilexi Gallery sustained the predilection for ornamental crafts which has characterized its current season in an exhibition of small wood carvings by William Dubin whose sculptures are for the most part somewhat decorative essays in organic freeform executed in highly polished exotic hardwoods.

    Palmer D. French

  • “New Art and Design of Sweden”

    A large part of this exhibition takes on the character of a decorators’ show, participated in by various importers, and promotive of Swedish housewares, furniture, office equipment and items of industrial design—all of superb quality and attractively elegant.

    On the less utilitarian side, a hollow, quadrilateral glass shaft corrugated with polyhedroid configurations, designed by Sven Palmquist, achieves a scintillating prismatic beauty, and an abstract tapestry by Alice Lund exploits textures and luminosities of color uniquely within the domain of fabric surfaces and textile dyes.

    The Fine Arts

  • “Decorative Art of the Young Balinese”

    These are charming paintings of Balinese village life sensitively executed in the busy opulence of color and foliate rhythms that characterize the decorative and illustrative arts of Southeast Asia. Within the conventions of a traditional style, each of these young artists nevertheless achieves an individual expression. There are marked personal preferences in both choice of subject matter and tonality of palette. The exhibition is small but rewards perusal.

    Palmer D. French

  • Jacques Fabert

    This exhibition gives the impression of an off-season schedule filler. Mr. Fabert essays a slick and clichéd expressionism featuring studies of statuesque, muscular female nudes in which the figure surfaces together with elements of background are schematized in a purely decorative quasi-cubism. While Crosses on a Field, a landscape with figure,and La Beige, in which the manipulation of shapes approaches pure abstraction, are more convincing, the thinking, if not literally the style, throughout this showing, tends toward the Rockwell Kent genre of popular De Luxe Edition woodcut illustration.

  • “Modern Twentieth Century Masters”

    This gallery has come up with its best show of recent months in turning dealer and importing from Europe an impressive selection of drawings by Feininger, Grosz, Klee, Lautrec, Modigliani, Pascin, Schiele, and Villon. Too much has been written and widely read on these familiar artists to say anything here, other than that this is an extremely worthwhile exhibition. One finds none of the student sketches, studio doodlings and potboilers often so eagerly bought by dealers to be cashed in on for the mere prestige of a distinguished autograph. Each exhibit is a telling and distinctive revelation of

  • “The Square Drawing”

    While the San Francisco Art Institute would appear all too willing to accelerate confusion in the nomenclature of Art by its elastic definition of the word “drawing,” the simple and specific limitations it imposed upon works to be submitted for this juried exhibition stimulated some of the most crisply economical and highly individual statements in black, white and grey that one has seen locally for some time. Jacques Fabert’s Finlandaise (oil) is a singularly powerful figure study, heroic in its mannerism but without bravura affectation or Expressionist cliche. Sonya Rapoport’s abstract Dream

  • James Grant and James Melchert

    The syncopated plastic rhythms, sharp spatial transitions, and “dissonantly” juxtaposed shapes and color contrasts that so strongly characterized Mr. Grant’s collage-paintings, exhibited a year ago at the De Young Museum, are nowhere to be found in his current show. He has, to be sure, retained a few stylistic mannerisms from his earlier work, but the vitality has considerably waned. Most of the recent work here shown essays related colors in like tonal values; color masses and linear configurations are distributed in such a way that each work is a study in composed static equilibrium and tonal

  • Fletcher Benton and John Ihle

    Mr. Benton’s “Kinetic Paintings” are sophisticated mobile geometric montages in the crisply economical symmetries and black, white, and primary color palette of the Hard Edge school. In a modern spirit Mr. Benton has turned to the mechanical principles underlying the famous automata of the great 17th and 18th cen­tury horologists, executing colorful compositions on a metal plaque or “face” equipped with various sliding bars, squares and panels, the synchronized movements of which are predetermined by an essentially “clockwork” type of mechanism encased behind the plaque. Technologically the only

  • Charles Safford

    This is a memorial exhibition of selected paintings by Charles Saf­ford, veteran Bay Area painter who died at the age of 63 last year. Mr. Safford was a gifted and eloquent Abstract Expressionist whose work shows little affinity either with New York or West Coast trends of his time. While at first admittedly influenced by Hans Hofmann, Safford soon evolved a style that was lyrical and Romantic in its opulence of rich, sensuous color and its tangential evocation of the exhila­rating spaciousness of forest and mountain landscape. His work of the “Swan Valley” period became almost a metamorphosis

  • Sam Francis

    Effer­vescence and spontaneous ebullience comprise the dominant mood of Sam Francis’ recent abstract color litho­graphs. A profusion of quasi-child-art free-forms in bright primary colors­—vaguely comic shapes that seem to float like carnival balloons—as well as fibrous drip-and-blot configurations lend a buoyant and airy casualness to these compositions which must, in fact, have involved considerable forethought and technical predetermination to execute in color lithography.

    Palmer D. French

  • Sonya Rapoport

    In her current exhibition entitled “Con­trasts” Mrs. Rapoport essays construc­tions in which painting, graphic and plastic media are combined with col­lage and montage methods. In spite of this diversity of techniques there is a considerable paucity of imagination and very little freedom of inventiveness to these works. Full of sophisticated cliches, calculated casualness, and the now ubiquitous jargon from the vernac­ular of the revolt against “taste,” “craft” and decorative paint-handling, these are nonetheless labored cha­rades, prim and ponderously clever in their carefully plotted “prosody

  • Group Show

    Fear that a policy of artistic commitment will “narrow the market” is reflected in the average “unlimited” fare of many little pantapoloia of art, but never more de­pressingly than in the off-season clut­tering of walls with the dregs of the bins. One wearies of group shows that have no theme, that present neither a sequence in the evolution of a method nor a coherent essay in significantly juxtaposed parallels or contrasts, but that seem merely an attempt to display a “little of something” for every con­ceivable taste (including the most ba­nal) that might be found in a random sampling of

  • Raymond A. Whyte

    This odious rubbish which purports to be “academic” in terms, here, of the “fin de siécle” studio “trompe-l’oeil,” and there, of the architectural motifs and perspectives of the Tuscan Manier­isti, can hardly be taken seriously enough to merit discussion. In addition to the copy-easel themes already men­tioned, there is a quasi-Flemish Interior, a quasi-Barbizon Pastorale, and some quasi-Pre-Raphaelite Damoiselles. If one wishes to affect this sort of Boston dowager Traditionalist pedantry, one should at least have the ability to draw well, which Mr. Whyte does not. One glance at a few calendar

  • Dorr Bothwell, Nancy Genn, and James Grant

    Miss Bothwell exhibits kaleidograms entitled, Watchwords and pictorial motifs en­titled, Mendocino Fences. In a man­ner sometimes reminiscent of tapestry and sometimes of mosaic, the Watch­words present busy geometric patterns, distinctly Byzantine in color and char­acter: woven in the intricate traceries, or obscurely stenciled in the interstitial “negative spaces” are stylized letters spelling such words as, “Love,” “Peace” and “Joy.” One gathers from the gallery statement that Miss Bothwell fancies this treatment is novel and constitutes a positive use of the principles of sub­liminal

  • Roberto de Lamonica

    This young Brazilian graphicist exhibits two-toned engravings employ­ing etching, drypoint and aquatint tech­niques. From a small selection of bril­liantly experimental, but esthetically unpursuasive, technical studies, one work stands out as an artistically co­herent, arrestingly pursuasive state­ment: Engraving 39 (1961). Here, brood­ing, dark masses, delicately corrugated with turtle-shell mosaic, and extending grotesque, arachnoid tentacles, seem sil­houetted in spectral light criss-crossed with spiderweb linearities. The thinking is “contrapuntal”: motifs stated in the microcosm of internal