Virginia Allen

  • “Primitive Art”

    One of the finest collections of primitive art ever assembled for sale is now at the Franklin Gallery. Handsome, and frequently major pieces from Africa, the South Pacific, and South America are displayed in a lavish installation.

    Although pieces from these widely divergent areas exhibit different motifs and, configurations which readily identify the origin, it is not the differences but the similarities that are remarkable. Each piece originally had a magic and/or spiritual function––either to keep away bad spirits or court the good ones. Even functional items, such as drums, hooks for suspending

  • “Flowers through the Centuries”

    A selection of flower subjects includes the fine hand-colored engravings from the “Botanical Almanac” of 1611 and 18th-century Dutch still life oils. For sheer bravura of linear beauty, such botanical illustrations are unrivaled within the print tradition. Their rigorous attention to detail and insistence on accuracy of rendering meet esthetic as well as scientific demands.

    Dutch flower paintings of the late 17th and 18th centuries, including a particularly fine one by Jan van Os, are especially admirable. Meticulous overpainting of translucent jewel-tone colors on top of murky underpainting

  • Jack Hooper

    Powerful, seemingly ponderous pieces with undulating surfaces are called “relief paintings” at Jack Hooper’s one-man show at the David Stuart Galleries. These deceptively light-weight pieces very effectively manage to have one foot planted staunchly in relief sculpture, and the other affixed equally firmly in painting. Liquid surfaces, the color of, variously, old pewter, tanned cowhide, raw liver, and polished mahogany, boil and ooze like primeval lava flows, flooding the elaborately structured relief configurations. Rolls of leather-colored sinew-like material are occasionally stretched across

  • Joyce Schumacher

    This exhibition of wood and stone sculpture comes at the conclusion of the artist’s Tiffany Foundation Grant for 1962–1963. The freshness of the work gives evidence that influences were positive and that new directions are operational.

    Carved planes with curled edges rather than curved surfaces meet, parry, then join at acute or obtuse angles. The whole is then rocked in space to a point of delicate balance. Walnut, pocket-riddled camphor wood, and mottled alabaster provide a variety of media for these expansive figures. In one walnut piece, Saarinan, two planes are tipped to each other and share

  • Amalia Schulthess

    These fifteen pieces of recent sculpture by Amalia Schulthess include several large bas-reliefs, a group of small animal figures, and some medium-size, free standing pedestal pieces.

    Far and away, the outstanding piece in the exhibition is the four foot tall bronze Torso. Its monumental proportions and idealized form suggest a modern manifestation of the classical idiom. Gently modulating curves produce the quietly sensual beauty of linear simplicity. Textural excitement completes the sensory feast.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the exhibition falls short of this noble beginning. What was classical

  • Helen Breger

    Dry wit and massed areas of black and white characterize the etchings of Helen Breger in her first one-man show in Los Angeles. She received her art training in Vienna, her birth-place, and studied graphics with John Ihle at San Francisco State College. The over-all pulse of the exhibition is pretty pedestrian treatments of possibly recognizable subjects that are well-drawn, using aquatints and etched line skillfully. Unfortunately, the prints really do nothing that Edvard Munch and Jacques Tati haven’t already done better.

    Virginia Allen

  • The Art of Shiko Munakata

    THE SABERSKY GALLERY’S retrospective exhibition of woodblock prints by the contemporary Japanese artist Shiko Munakata displays a wealth of black and white and hand-colored woodcuts that are at once decorative and exciting. Rhythmical curves and counter-curves of black and white shapes heightened with jewel-like colors provide an inexhaustible feast for the eye. But the sheer delight of visual excitement is gradually, superseded by the awareness that within Munakata’s power-packed figures of Buddhist deities lies something indeed profound and far-reaching.

    “The monster” is Munakata’s own phrase

  • Bernard Zimmerman

    Cast bronze pieces of sculpture by Bernard Zimmerman are intimate in scale, sensual in appearance. For the most part, these small pieces are planar in format, functioning much like freestanding bas-reliefs. Surfaces are richly and impressionistically articulated, adding a tactile dimension to the wedge and disc shapes.

    Works exhibited are from the artist’s “blind series.” Each piece shows in some way the subject breaking through the darkness, or experiencing the first glimmerings of perception. This takes place through partially opened windows, through organic orifices, and through blister-like

  • Dennis Beal and John L. Ihle

    Intaglio prints by these two Bay Area printmakers fulfill major pre-requisites of printmaking: a sense of craftsmanship, and respect for the materials of the chosen medium. Without exception these pieces, employing aquatint, etching, and sugarlift, are exquisitely and flawlessly printed. Both artists realize and utilize the interplay of white paper and inked, incised areas. lhle uses classical tondo shapes when his lyrical, flowing forms dictate. Beal’s crisp images are contained within irregularly shaped metal plates, sometimes used in multiples to impress sculpture-like inked and inkless forms

  • Ken Glenn

    Recent sculpture by Ken Glenn extends in a variety of esthetic directions. Several welded steel arabesques—Tightrope and Trapeze—are truly engineering achievements. Elongated figures articulate the surrounding space, not by moving through it, but by resting in it in a state of improbable equilibrium. Modulated pointillist surfaces contrast with and relieve the rigid system of balanced arcs and curves. In a second group, Arplike organic masses spring from footed bases. Glenn here exhibits a feel for the richness of irregularly rounded metal; brushed highlights glow against murky depths. Mostly

  • Group Show

    Moselle Townsend, Marsha Singer, Jari Havlena, Bently Schaad, Richard Stine, and Robert Freimark each have one or two paintings in this group exhibition of gallery artists. Two pieces seem worthwhile. Moselle Townsend uses a triptych format for Rock Forms. Impasto and collage materials—sand, string, burlap—are skillfully and purposefully combined in earth tones, subtly playing off contrasting textures. The triptych format, which could have easily turned into a gimmick, becomes an integral part of the conception. Transitions between the panels are made easily, and spring naturally from the

  • Camille Blair

    A most incredible group of painting-collage-sculpture-things is the current fare at Ernest Raboff Gallery. Pebbles, sand, seaweed, driftwood, seashells, and, yes, starfish combine with the more traditional materials of oil paint and canvas to produce a batch of brilliantly colored, primitive figures that dance, run, twist, turn, and even seem to pop off the picture surfaces.

    At times, these are really fun. In the surrealistic Emergence of the Siren, for example, fanciful figures cavort against a Dali-like landscape of orange sun and navy-blue ground. A huge driftwood club projects from a tiny