reviews

  • Gloria Brown

    Gallery of Fine Art

    Non-objective oil paintings with collage elements predominate in Mrs. Brown’s latest show. The current paintings are formally very satisfying with their loose, free swinging structure working nicely together with ingratiating color. The paintings would gain in strength considerably if the paint film were not so thin. This exhibit marks a big step forward, however, from the last show seen of Mrs. Brown’s paintings.

    James Monte

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  • Lorrie Bunker

    Artist's Co-Op

    Fuzzy abstract landscapes summoning up recollections of enclosed spaces are exhibited here together with four figure paintings.

    James Monte

     

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  • “Art and Power, Esthetics and History, and the August Exhibitions”

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    The critic’s function is to bring to bear, publicly, his pub­lic’s ideas on a given subject. He is a public tool and, in this respect, is sim­ilar to a museum of modern art which is, as George Culler, Director of the San Francisco Museum of Art, sees it, the community’s implement, the public channel, to “the creative.” The museum is a tool which the public forms and uses.

    In becoming this public channel, the American museum of modern art has established a pattern of activities. These are (1) exhibition of contemporary works of art; (2) education of the public to understand such works. From the

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  • Group Show

    Quay Gallery

    All the painters in this show double as commercial artists . . . and they are all concerned with representing the human animal in the group here. One, Geoffrey Lewis, succeeds in a truly painterly fashion with his loosely-brushed figures reposing in green space. Bill Shields and Curtis Fields both employ a very graphic linear technique which they rely upon too heavily in developing completely successful paintings.

    James Monte

     

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  • Group Show

    Hobbs Gallery

    In this Fall offering of works by the regular members of the Hobbs stable, Louis Siegriest shines with one of his finest works to date. Art Grant has two con­structions in the exhibit that look al­most sculptural. Hobbs himself is show­ing a piece of polychromed sculpture which is unusually arresting. Louis Gutierrez, Robert Clutton and Charles Safford each have work of more than passing interest.

    James Monte

     

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  • Polia Pillin

    Greta Williams Gallery

    Mrs. Pillin makes small decorative panels from clay that has been kiln-­fired and glazed. Her forms are derived from cubism with a large dose of whimsy thrown in to lighten the load.

    James Monte

     

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  • Kenneth Kral

    Greta Williams Gal­lery

    Simple and understated as these thin, washy landscapes are . . . one wishes for a greater involvement by the painter with his subject.

    James Monte

     

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  • Howard Foote

    Green Gallery

    This is a group of spacially complicated non­objective paintings which contain angular shapes and bright colors. Foote’s heavily pigmented canvases tend toward a crazy-quilt fragmentation when they don’t work. The paintings at their best form a strong cohesive image with great carrying power. The Green Gallery has consistently shown the work of talented younger painters and sculptors. This gallery should get more of the attention it needs and deserves.

    James Monte

     

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  • Maggie Glass

    Ruthermore Gallery

    These smooth quasi-mystical evocations of desert landscapes contrast with roughened personages of other-wordly dimensions. Her curious figures remind one of “L’Art Brut” practitioners Baj and Dubuffet.

    James Monte

     

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  • Ivars Hirss

    Triangle Gallery

    Hirss is a young Latvian artist who works in silkscreen. Up-tilted space with rec­tangular or circular objects charge the surface of his prints. He makes good use of the electric color that can be obtained with this medium.

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  • Robert Moesle

    Cable Car Gallery

    Sober, attenuated, faceless figures in muted colors find their way into most of Mr. Moesle’s paintings in this show. At the present time Moesle’s graphic work seems far more convincing than his paintings.

    James Monte

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  • William Gropper

    Gallerie de Tours

    This veteran American realist is show­ing a group of drawings and paintings concerned with people: people working, playing, singing, preaching and politic­ing. Gropper’s folks are active, maybe too active. His technical luggage is cubistic via Kuniyoshi. Dufy enters at some point and leaves quickly at another. Caricature is synonymous with Gropper’s paintings . . . not a biting, cut ’em-to-the-quick satire that pene­trates but a surface nibble that one has come to expect of the illustrations mounted in slick magazines.

    James Monte

     

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  • Enid Foster

    New Image Gallery

    Miss Foster’s monotype technique begins at random and ends with knots of fey little people braving the surface of a square foot of paper. Her figures are colorful, vivacious . . . reminding one of a happy group just leaving a successful orgy.

    James Monte

     

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  • Stanton Keeney

    Artists Co-Op

    Commissioned portraits dominate this ex­hibit. Five people stare benignly out at the spectator from one wall; pastel colored and well-fed, they exude good health and well being. Keeney attacks other subjects with various approaches and a few successes.

    James Monte

     

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  • Kenneth Potter

    Maxwell Gallery

    Mr. Potter paints watercolors of San Francisco; he uses both the wet and dry brush methods in his paintings which are picturesque handmade over­scale postcards.

    James Monte

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  • Byron Burford

    Art Unlimited

    These abstract landscapes are rich and som­ber . . . the paint being handled alternately as opaque substance and transparent washes. Burford studied with Philip Guston when Guston was involved with archaic images of city streets and children at play. Burford’s current work evokes this influence but it is entirely assimilated. This is an altogether pleasant but unastounding show.

    James Monte

     

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  • “101 Masterpieces of Primitive Painting”

    M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

    Some of the best examples of early American primitives selected from the vast collection of Col. Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch of New York and Maryland. The point they make is that in discussions of art we have tended to overlook the fact that the fledgling United States developed a style of painting of its own, prac­ticed by artist-craftsmen of rustic humor and uncompromising candor who owed little to customs and niceties of European art. Their naive style did have roots in English provincial paint­ing, brought to the colonies. by limners, topographers and “face painters,” but

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  • Group Show

    Pomeroy Gallery

    The exhibit includes work by Grandma Moses, Vlaminck, Poucette, Venard, Voyet, Ubeda and Caffi. Very suave, polished Ecole de Paris painting done in acceptable styles characterizes this large group exhibit.

    James Monte

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  • Group Show

    Feingarten Galleries

    The summer show of regular stable of artists has been extended into Septem­ber to meet the time of the forthcoming exhibition of works by John Boit Morse. Guerreschi, Madson, Ducasse, Morris, Okamura and Kim Chung are featured in the current show. 

    E. M. Polley

     

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  • “European Prints”

    Eric Locke Gal­lery

    This small and choice exhibition shows many artists of the School of Paris, all more or less well-known. A bright, witty and humorous lithograph of Picasso, a small but excellent Arp linocut (have you ever seen a bad Arp?), a first-class Dubuffet lithograph, an impressive Soulages aquatint that has none of the over-refined polished sophistication of his paintings, as well as such household names as Leger, Tamayo, Bissiere, Hayter, Poliakoff, etc. The American equivalents in stature of some of these European artists would be Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Clif­ford Still, David Smith and so on.

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  • Group Show

    Gumps

    Reginald Pol­lack and Cecil Michaelis are the ex­tremes of this middle-of-the-road group. Pollack merits a lengthier discussion than we have space for. His gay, open color is applied in flickering, wind­blown strokes with shapes sometimes indicated in quick, sensitive line. As a change of pace, his small Twilight Still-life, an angular abstraction, reveals his concern with printmaking. Michaelis, while painting white city­scapes, manages to shed tradition, ex­cept as a defender of basic pictorial values. His awareness of space tensions  lends vigor to alleys and streets which could become

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  • “Being and Passage: Photographs by William R. Hawken”

    David Cole Gallery

    To ask whether photography is an art is as meaningless as it would be to ask if painting or sculpture are arts; but it makes very good sense to ask if a particular photographer is an artist. In the case of Bill Hawken the answer is clearly yes.

    This photographer has a straightfor­ward concept of means and ends––technically and esthetically. Like Edward Weston, he believes in settling pretty much for one film, one developer, one paper––and then exploiting the bejesus out of the combination, which from total familiarity with every step, he is in a position to do. Thus Hawken is free to use his eyes

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  • Panama Canal Anniversary Exhibition

    New Mission Gallery

    The open­ing of this noncommercial gallery by three artists, Luis Cervantes, Joe White and Ernie Palormino is an important event in the cultural life of San Fran­cisco. In its first group show by seven­teen artists the works have an avant­-garde quality not normally found elsewhere in private galleries or institutions in the Bay Area. The works displayed also reflect unconcern with traditional ideas of a work of art being a thing to be possessed, categories separating ce­ramics, sculpture, painting or drawing, the idea of culture as information or traditional aesthetics of materials. Seymour

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  • Masatoyo Kishi

    Bolles Gallery

    This is Kishi’s second western show. Bolles introduced him in 1961 shortly after he had arrived from Japan where his work had been widely acclaimed. His work is both spontaneous and varied. While he blends tachisme with the native Japanese calligraphic forms, he has not yet had time to be­come internationalized––hence his work retains a freshness that is stimulating in these days of rapid communication and “more of the same” in art. Kishi has the true Japanese ability to expand space without exploding it, along with an innate and infallible sense of color. Although a prolific artist, these

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  • “Japanese Actor Prints”

    R. E. Lewis­ Gallery

    Prints from the 18th and 19th centuries, including some rather rare Osaka prints, left on exhibition for September. As theater-genre, they pre­sent a commentary on the economic as well as the esthetic state of Japan at a time when her artists were catering to the demands of a rising middle class interested especially in topical events. A purely Japanese type of art, reflecting the life and spirit of the times, they break with the conventional schools imbued with Chinese tradition. Some in this show were done by ukiyo-e “prim­itives” such as Nishimura Shigenaga (?-1756), whose flowing, interlacing

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  • “Canadian Eskimo Prints”

    Lowie Mu­seum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

    An especially well-­selected group of Eskimo prints, includ­ing both seal skin stencils and stone­cuts––works which, whether derived from their myths or from everyday hap­penings, are used to express humor, imagination and fantasy applied to their Very own world. Printmaking is the natural development of a graphic art growing out of a sculptural one, which is causing a renaissance in the art of the Cape Dorset Eskimo, long noted for his expressive stone carvings and the sealskin appliqués of his women. It is a new art form to Eskimos, in­troduced to them by painter James A. Houston and furthered

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  • “American Painting”

    Legion of Honor

    One expects the title “American Painting” to be exclusively reserved for particular creative contributions emanating from this continent. This exhibition, organ­ized and shown by this major Bay Area museum would incite howls of derision if shown under its present title in any other metropolitan center. Hung in three rooms, the work is divided into two rooms of predominently derivative figurative work pre-1945 in look, and post-1945–type painting in the third room. Somehow or other an impressive and beautiful Tanguy, an absolutely French painter, creeps in under this title. An exception to the

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  • “Photography”

    Arts of the Bay Area, San Francisco Museum of Art

    Sixteen photographers exhibit: Gini Leonard, Phiz Mozesson, Eugene Anthony, Ruth-­Marion Baruch, John Caminiti, John Collier, Imogen Cunningham, Hansell Mieth, Otto Hagel, Dorothea Lange, Ernest Lowe, Joe Munro, Miriam Young and Allen Willis. Each show a number of works linked by a theme such as Women Shoppers, Beginnings of a Wom­an, Unemployment, etc. With one ex­ception these photographs are mostly sentimental social documents, inocuous images of the innocence of childhood, toiling workers, exploited field hands and poor foreign peasants. The excep­tion is one solitary and unrepeatable

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  • “Jaques Overhoff: Sculpture for Architecture”

    Arts of the Bay Area, San Francisco Museum of Art

    This exhibit highlights the problems involved in specially commissioning and designing sculpture for incorporation in build­ings or their close environment. For Overhoff is a specialist, in the sense that given a predetermined site he specifically creates abstract, but or­ganic forms, carefully related in scale and material to the host building. Since this is a review of Overhoff’s work, it is not the place to discuss the formal question of whether a truly creative building requires this form of com­missioned decoration, except to state that the fusion of commissioned art­works of any kind with

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  • “The Construction as an Object of Illusion”

    San Francisco Art In­stitute

    It is surprising that, with the “Art of Assemblage” exhibition hardly warm in its outgoing crates, the San Francisco Art Institute should advertise this show as “being selected to present provocative and stimulating new ideas, new art forms, and new approaches to traditional forms not previously exhibited by museums.” There is, literally, not a single new idea, new art form or new approach in this entire show, and, the “Assemblage” show aside, mu­seums have been exhibiting this sort of thing for decades. The Institute’s spu­rious claim to revolutionary originality is not important insofar as

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  • “The Nude: Drawings by Alvin Light, Manuel Neri, Gordon Cook, Bill Brown, Joan Brown”

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    The museum in pre­senting this exhibition avers that the drawing of the nude is a particular and special activity of Bay Area art, which for those who know the outside world is poppycock.

    Light, an abstract woodcarver, draws a series of roomscapes in India ink, peopled with docile nude nymphets. Related to his sculpture only through the overallness of his handling of his image, the subject matter might be taken as an indication that he is short on sex. Since there is nothing abnormal in that––most men are, or imagine they are, the prissy refinement of his imag­inings is merely dull and illustratory.

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  • “Prints by F. Vredaparis”

    Burning in Water | San Francisco

    The in­taglio and terage prints of F. Vredaparis in the small south gallery of the mu­seum give quite another perspective on American art, which has always os­cillated between the real and the ideal––the world of nature and the world of the mind. Through experimental printing techniques, Miss Vredaparis explores the world of the mind––imaginative dreamscapes, and insects that never were. Despite her exciting technical discoveries, intaglio prints exe­cuted on plastic materials and printed constructions she calls “terages,” ob­vious craftsmanship never destroys the thought she wants to convey.

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