San Francisco

37th Annual Exhibition, San Francisco Women Artists

This very large juried exhibition includes painting, sculpture, graphics, photography and ceramics plus the extensive, all-inclusive package called “Decorative Arts,” embodying textile printing, textile weaving, mosaics, jewelry making and rug making. The entries in the sculpture and graphic arts were juried by Tio Giambruni and Eric Locke; the painting entries by William Morehouse, Ninfa Valvo and Ralph Ducasse; the decorative arts by Roy Walker. The total exhibition has a much better “look” than it has had in the past. This is certainly due to the jury.

An exhibition of this kind raises the question: Is the organization of women artists really valid at this time or is it an anachronistic holdover from a time when there was genuine discrimination between the sexes in the art community of the area? If the organization is but a self-perpetuating bureaucracy whose main purpose is to offer its members a chance to participate in a yearly show that excludes a high percentage of the art community, then the exhibit should be held in a Women’s Army Corps barracks instead of the San Francisco Museum of Art.

As can be expected in an exhibit such as this, the gulf between the good, mediocre and bad is very wide indeed. Miriam Ziznor’s painting of the interior of an automobile combines strength of execution with an interesting concept. Blanche Brody is represented by a very direct portrait which rises above the average because of its keen characterization of the sitter. Ina Cheifetz, whose painting, “Birth Of Venus,” has the paint quality of a Tworkov if not the concept, received a Member’s Prize for her work. Karen Devich, also a prize-winner, shows an interesting wall sculpture made from the grill of an automobile and assorted tidbits of junk metal, all bolted to a wooden mount. In contrast to the scale of the Devich sculpture, Nell Sinton chose to submit an exquisite small watercolor that, as its title indicates, recalls a window with assorted objects lying about in front of it. Athena Kalimos’ painting stood out among its neighbors because of strong color contrasts and tough execution. Patricia Scarlett’s slab vases, one a prize-winner, rest not unlike two small monuments surrounded by the assortment of mosaics, pots and jewelry.

James Monte