San Francisco

Sugai and Robert Hudson

Bolles Gallery

The light, the quality of the walls and the fact that the air one breathes is provided by a fan, give the visitor to the Bolles “Petite Gallery” a distinct sense of unreality. The environment is pure machine. The drawings of Robert Hudson shown in this machine attest the depth and range of the tradition he has been taught by Frank Lobdell. It is a great tradition, the drawings are good drawings.

Sugai, upstairs at Bolles, shows better on better walls, though still in a light of pronounced artificiality. The tradition he has learnt in Paris of the marriage of Japanese and Parisian taste with contemporary Zen simplicity is a good one. But it is less broad than Lobdell’s and so in Sugai it becomes markedly narrower in its range of expression than is Lobdell’s in Hudson.

The Brunn Gallery group also represents a local tradition, though a different one than Lobdell and Hudson. It is the special one in which sophisticated young San Franciscans strive to live and which represents for them the ideal life style. The second rank of advertising designers are notably skilled in this tradition, represented in visual art by an expression primarily linear, decorated with hard bright color and lacking a thorough formal resolution. Most of the artists in the Brunn group use this tradition to present ideas, emotions and responses of the comparatively shallow, popular sort demanded by bright young sophisticates everywhere. The artists at Brunn who do not share this tradition (Charles Farr is most notable) are lost in the clatter of the remainder. If the dominant note of shallow irresolution presented by this gallery represents what the proprietors have found readily marketable, then the failure of bright, young buyers to demand a unity of form and content in their purchases should begin to give concern to the physicians of the culture of our time.

Fred Martin