Terry Fenton

  • Jules Olitski

    The recent Jules Olitski exhibition at the Lawrence Rubin Gallery consisted of eloquent, fully resolved paintings, yet exactly how and why they attained their eloquence is something of a mystery. Statements about Olitski’s art tend to hinge upon drawing and color, but seldom, so far as I can recall, the interaction of the two. This problem has been complicated by the fact that the word “drawing” has taken on rather unfavorable connotations in the sixties, at least that kind of drawing which occurs within the boundaries of the picture. Yet Olitski unquestionably draws within his pictures: to be

  • Walter Darby Bannard

    For the past number of years Walter Darby Bannard has been one of the most promising and one of the best young artists in North America. On the basis of his recent exhibition at the Tibor De Nagy Gallery, I would suggest that he is now something more than that. In the past I have been perplexed and excited about his paintings, but not without reservations. His pictures, for all their quality, seemed restricted by their formats, although from exhibition to exhibition that restriction seemed to steadily lose weight. In these new pictures that restriction seems to have been turned to real advantage.

  • Richard Diebenkorn

    The very fact that it is a relatively simple matter to distinguish between Richard Diebenkorn’s good and less than good paintings says something, I believe, about the quality of his art. Diebenkorn was, and still is, one of the finest painters in America, and I do not mean to belittle his achievement. The best paintings in his recent exhibition at the Poindexter Gallery were very good indeed, but were good in a relatively familiar way. He seems, in effect, to have been challenged by the quality of some of the best painting of this century, but seems not to have gone beyond the terms that it

  • Isaac Witkin

    Isaac Witkin, on the basis of his recent exhibition at the Robert Elkon Gallery, seems to have matured to the point where he is a very considerable sculptor, if an uneven one. A large, untitled brown sculpture in the exhibition seemed original and moving despite its superficial similarity to David Smith and Anthony Caro. Its similarity, as well as its originality, had something to do with Witkin’s use of I-beams, a material which has been used in great sculpture by both Smith and Caro. Witkin is one of the few artists I can think of who has turned a medium with so many built-in associations into

  • David Smith by David Smith

    David Smith by David Smith, ed. Cleve Cray (Holt, Rinehart, N.Y., 1968), 176 pages, illustrated.

    As a compilation of statements by the artist, accompanied by many color photographs of Smith and his work, David Smith by David Smith cannot easily be categorized. There is not enough information to consider the book either biography or documentary, nor is is sufficiently systematic to be considered scholarly. Another approach might have been philosophical—an attempt to establish the artists as a speculative or analytical thinker after the fashion of Kandinsky or Sir Joshua Reynolds—but here the book

  • the Dr. and Mrs. Max Stern Collection, Ernest E. Poole Collection, J. S. McLean Collection, Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Frederic A. Verner, David Milne, Goodrich Roberts

    One of the advantages of the private collector is that he is able to indulge his taste without regard for equality of representation. It was therefore a pleasure (albeit a mixed one) and something of a blessing to be able to see three exhibitions of Canadian private collections within a very short period, the Dr. and Mrs. Max Stern and the Ernest E. Poole Collections at the newly opened Edmonton Art Gallery and the J. S. McLean Collection at the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. All three collections concentrated upon Canadian art and I will limit myself to a discussion of that aspect of

  • In Terms of Color: Jack Bush


    THE RECENT EXHIBITION OF PAINTINGS by Jack Bush at the David Mirvish Gallery in Toronto contained some of the best and certainly the most consistent work I have seen by this underestimated major artist. Bush’s underestimation (in both Canada and the United States) is due not simply to the fact that his paintings are challenging, but to the very nature of the challenge they present; they make unusual demands upon the viewer. A misunderstanding appears to surround Bush’s art that is related, I suspect, to a mistaken conclusion drawn from fact that vanguard art usually is challenging: challenge

  • An Exchange

    TERRY FENTON’S OVERSIMPLIFICATIONS have only added to the confusions surrounding Constructivism.

    Ten years ago it might have been barely permissible to interpret Constructivism through the writings of Gabo, which after the 1920 Realist Manifesto show a notably altered relationship to science and society. Gabo’s writings were Constructivism to the great majority of the Western art world. With the many pieces of scholarship now at hand, in English, and covering Tatlin’s return to Russia (1913) through the activities of the Russian Constructivists in the early 1930s, there is scant excuse for writing

  • 1. Constructivism and its Confusions


    THE HISTORY OF CONSTRUCTIVISM is curious. Since its inception around 1920 it has found a number of homes, one of them in the Bauhaus and yet another, surprisingly, with the Dadaists (although not with the Surrealists). It has, in addition, influenced the art education of our time and has consequently affected our taste. In spite of this it has failed to produce works of art that transcend their didacticism; more specifically it seems to have been unable to inspire individual artists, or to have permitted them to become inspired. Yet despite this failure to match the quality of the finest art

  • Canada’s Arthur McKay

    ONE OF THE AXIOMS OF our time is that provincial art must inevitably be minor. While it does not follow that every artist in New York or Paris must therefore produce major art, it does imply that a large, internationally oriented super-city is a necessary milieu for aspiring artists.

    The provincial artist does operate under difficult conditions: because of his isolation he is only partially informed; he is unable to see new works of art as they are produced and must therefore resort to translated information—reproductions and art writing—and finally to conjecture. In addition to this, his intentions

  • Looking at Canadian Art

    IF THERE IS A SINGLE reason why provincial painting is derivative, it probably lies with the nature of painting itself—more specifically with its resistance to conveying its quality in reproduction. As a result, young painters in the provinces too often paint in terms of what they imagine to be essential only to find that their imaginations are distracted by secondary rather than primary pictorial issues. Perhaps, however, the present situation in Canadian art can be rephrased in terms of a current cliché: that since the late ’50s Canadian artists have looked to New York for inspiration. New