San Francisco

Group Show

Art Unlimited

Illustrative interpretations by four commercial artists, Earl Thollander, Dick Moore, Bill Shields and Willi Baum, who recently camped the state of Sonora, Mexico. Their sites: Nogales, Magdalena, Hermo­sillo, Guaymas and Alamos. They lin­gered longest in Alamos, a little city which was once the silver-mining center of the world. As artist-reporters they have come up with some lively drawings and colorful paintings which have the clean, direct impact of contemporary illustration. Thollander keeps Mexico at a distance with high horizons, thin paint surface and wiry line. Moore separates drawing from painting, exhibiting his linear studies as such, sans color. They are more telling than his paintings, which become overly sentimental (ex­cepting “The Blind Mariachi,” a wild, lonely paean of swirling colored music which is the best work in the show). Shields’ dynamic tensions almost de­stroy the torpid quality of North Mexican landscape, but add zest to his cabaret scenes. His magenta mariachis are real hip cats. Baum permits his skill as a painter to overwhelm the importance of his subject until he deals with Indian genres having to do with religious festi­vals. Here his carefully organized geometrics suggest the rigidly ordered, tra­ditional patterns of processions and fiestas.

Summary: Baum, Shields and Moore had fun in Mexico. Thollander watched.

E. M. Polley