Los Angeles

“Drawing Invitational”

Scripps Col­lege, Claremont

This second Scripps Annual Drawing Show presents drawing as a process of investigation. The work of ten contemporary artists is supplemented by a small selection of master drawings loaned by O.P. Reed, drawings by Arshile Gorky loaned by Hans Burkhardt and several study groups made up of the work of 19th and 20th-century European and American artists from local collections. The scope and diversity of the exhibition is impres­sive. The gallery devoted to the work of Gorky provides an ingenious introduc­tion to the diverse individuality of the processes of investigation manifest in the body of the exhibition. That Gorky works with a highly personal vocabulary of forms is well known. What these small sketches reveal is the evolution of his organic biomorphism more or less hap­hazardly out of a paradoxically analytical kind of cubism. Herein, of course, lies the great value of viewing drawings. That is, being able to witness the proc­ess of investigation or the mind of the artist as it were, at work. This process is often obscured in the finished works of many contemporary artists because of the definitive nature they often assume. Finished works also may fall prey to be­coming a kind of gesture or in more un­fortunate cases a posture which in the relatively private world of the drawing are recognized as the supefluidities they are by the investigating artist.

The ten contemporary painters and sculptors whose work makes up the body of the exhibition are Ruth Asawa, Walter Askin, Robert Chuey, Salvatore Grippi, Richard Haines, David Hayes, Susan Hertel, John Lincoln, Joachim Probst, and Jack Stuck. Of these, three are especially noteworthy. Walter Askin’s suite of drawings relates very directly to his work in paint. In both media things, that is, trees, hills, people, etc. assume ambiguous organic forms in a neo-cubist manner that both suggests their plastic reality while at the same time distinctly affirms the two dimen­sionality of the picture plane. Salvatore Grippi’s compositions likewise closely approximate their painted counterparts. Short, straight strokes of the pen or pencil with an impressive sense of con­trolled spontaneity delineate faceted forms which imply the constant flux of the visual experience while affirming our conceptual knowledge of their ma­teriality. Perhaps the most finished drawings in the exhibition were provided by Jack Stuck. The enigmatic, graphite-­covered rectilinear collages manifest the printmaker’s fascination with surface, and possess all the mystery of a time-­scarred wall.

The proposition that this exhibition shows drawing as a process of investiga­tion is a valid one. One leaves the exhibi­tion with a feeling of having personally conversed with these many artists and he is filled with the exuberance of their investigative spirit.

C. H. Hertel