San Francisco

Marietta Siegel, Joe Ataide, Jacques Schnier

Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

Funambulist paintings, echoes of George Bellows, and a small sculpture retrospective reaching from classicism to geometricism. Mrs. Siegel’s figures are propelled or ejected, as the case may be, into a strange and busy white space built up with gauzy skeins of oil paint. Stripped to their bare emotions they often retain only a rudimentary structural resemblance to contemporary man while still claiming his quivering nervous system. Her accompanying drawings have tremendous vitality. Joe Ataide infuses his figures with dynamic force by means of dramatic thrusts of coarse line, effectively chosen. His show is weakened by a form of “Carmelitis,” wherein artists pile their whole output, derivations and all, into one exhibition, with tourist sales in mind. (Surely, among all these, there will be something for everyone.)

Jacques Schnier’s show has been pruned to the main stem of his output, one of steady development through constant experimentation and study. His earliest work here, Two Dancers, bronze, 1930, gives significance to the recognizable human figure by controlling its shape and gesture. Finding the figure too small to hold his meaning, he searched through other avenues of expression, and his latest works merely suggest the physical world, as in Enchanted Bloom, or are purely conceptual abstractions. His is the excellence of craftsmanship and clarity of statement that need little critical analysis; they speak for themselves.

E. M. Polley