reviews

  • John Chamberlain

    Dilexi Gallery

    The blurring of the distinction between painting and sculpture is now almost so commonplace that it has become an accepted phenomenon. The Museum of Modern Art Assemblage exhibition, recently shown in San Francisco, was an attempt to define and categorize this particular trend, but as Irving Sandler once wrote “any attempt to define a style must fall short in describing the uniqueness of its most interesting artists.” Chamberlain, who was shown in this exhibition, certainly possesses this uncategorizable uniqueness.

    The miracle of Chamberlain’s art is that these pieces of scarred and worn skins

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  • Fred Martin, Tony Delap, Nell Sinton, Roy De Forest

    San Francisco Museum of Art Corridor

    Excellently displayed in the corridors of a museum usually noted for its unconcern with (or ignorance of(?)) those niceties of hanging which are important to providing a proper framework of visual impact, this exhibition is deliberately linked by the consistent small scale of the works, which average about a foot square. Since Pollock, large canvases have been the order of the day in America, incorporating as they have, notions of enclosing and assaulting the viewer in an environment of paint. The tradition of the small format, however, has not been ignored: at least one major American artist,

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  • “Young Artists”

    University of California at Davis

    Recent works by a northern California group, mostly from the Sacramento area. Although including proven artists as well as those unknowns who so often add a certain freshness to exhibitions, it is not extraordinary in quality.

    Its main appeal is the revelation of some special trends of today’s youthful painters: their derivations, their patterns of change, their search for individuality within the shelter of the herd. Perhaps its most important achievement is in pointing up the need of the University for an adequate gallery at Davis. Small paintings and sculptures are displayed in a long galley-way,

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  • “New Directions in Modern Art From South America”

    Kaiser Center Art Gallery, Oakland And Oakland Art Museum (Simultaneous)

    South American painting in the current exhibition is represented by the art of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay. The exhibition was sponsored and arranged by the Industries Kaiser de Argentina, and juried by Sir Herbert Read in conjunction with several leading South American critics.

    Of the nineteen artists included in the show, sixteen have studied abroad, fourteen in Europe and two in the United States. Fernando Muro moved to Argentina from Madrid at eighteen, and at present is in New York. Manabu Mabe, among the best known, was born in Japan and now paints in Brazil. Antunez studied at

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  • Victor Moscoso

    1458 Broadway

    The subject matter is strange, capricious, arbitrary, but the content is of one cloth—a vision so intense, compelling, and individual that one wonders why this young artist must be hanging his exhibitions in his studio. He is probably the best figurative painter on the West Coast today.

    The little show has some rare gems: a complicated, disturbing arrangement of heads, masks and hands called Two Conspirators with Banjo, a series of “Biblical Scenes” that show a violent disregard for color, and a small painting called Fifty Grand, titled, evidently, after the Hemingway story, a blurred image of

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  • Lionel Feininger, “Graphics and Watercolors from the Scheyer Collection of the Pasadena Art Museum”

    University Art Gallery, U.C. Berkeley

    Exhibitions like this make one wonder how museum employees occupy their time. Here is a show consisting of only about thirty small works by a recognized and well documented artist, all of which belong to a single museum and were originally brought together by a single collector, who was a close friend of the artist; yet there is no catalog, half of the works are not dated (even approximately), and many of the titles are given unnecessarily in German. This last in spite of the fact that the artist spent the last twenty years of his life in this country—a fact that would escape the general public,

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  • Faculty Exhibition

    San Francisco Art Institute

    Joe Humphreys displays environmental portraits that manage to tell us nothing about either the person or his environment. His noncommittal people are set against meaningless backgrounds which merely fill the picture areas. Each photo seems to have been unerringly selected from a contact sheet to reveal as little excitement, insight or significance as possible.

    Blair Stapp, while not having achieved anything remotely resembling a personal style is at least willing to explore his medium. A willingness which, while it does not justify hanging a show, is certainly a laudable attribute when dealing

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  • James Suzuki

    Worth Ryder Gallery, U.C.

    Suzuki shows a series of paintings done since September in which he attempts to conciliate the current vogue for hieratic, regularized images with the format of shallow space, unrestricted range of color and texture, and all-over organization that survives from his earlier Abstract Expressionist style. In each painting circle forms of various sizes, singly or in groups, skirmish with a whole battery of contesting elements: sketchy A. E. brushwork, drips, stains, banners, hearts, arrows, letters, plus quantities of those restless, doodle forms that recall Pollock of the mid-forties (except that

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  • The Grunewald Collection of Prints

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    On loan from the University of California at Los Angeles is this superb collection of prints. It contains a wide and rich variety of works by most of the major European artists of the latter half of the 19th century and early part of the 20th. Apart from Steinlen, every artist is a major figure as a painter. The Impressionists are thoroughly represented, there is a Manet portrait of Lola de Valence which reveals his enormous debt to Goya, excellent works by Degas, Cézanne, Renoir and Bonnard. But a dramatic red and yellow woodcut by Gauguin from his Tahiti period dated 1894 and entitled Te Po 

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  • “Old Master Prints”

    Achenbach Foundation For Graphic Arts

    Engravings, etchings and woodcuts by 15th, 16th and 17th century masters. Changing attitudes toward the church as well as developments within the medium are indicated—the earliest works using every trick of the trade to emphasize the majesty of the Virgin and Child, the later ones identifying the Holy Family with the family of man.

    Names of the artists represented in this group—Durer, Muller, Carracci, Schongauer, Robetta, Rembrandt and Tiepolo among them—support the thesis that great prints of original conception have almost without exception been made by great painters, not by professional

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  • Frances Baxter

    M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

    Small hardwood sculptures of animals and insects, sometimes mounted on stone. From such close-grained, rich-colored woods as ebony, rosewood and lignum vitae, which lend themselves to the subtle delineation of edges and to the ultimate realization of volume, Miss Baxter carves figures ranging in size from a few inches to a foot which manage to suggest the monumentality of ancient Egyptian sculpture and the animal art of early China. She convincingly represents the darting action of tadpoles and motionless suspension of small fish by mounting them obliquely or horizontally tangent to waterworn

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  • Shelia White

    M. H. de Young Memorial Museum

    A photographic essay on the Lindsey family of Gainsville, Florida. The photographs are “. . . (to) demonstrate the capacity of the creative photographer to penetrate below the surface and lay bare the underlying feelings of people without destroying their privacy.” An impossible assignment, since any attempt to probe the special beliefs, griefs and passions that make any family the unit that it is does invade their privacy. Shelia White demonstrates skill and sensitivity as a photographer, but she is confronted with the reticence of normal human beings to reveal themselves in public exhibition.

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  • Fredric Hobbs

    Edward Quill Gallery

    A recent series on “The Ritual of the Bull,” and a detailed linear study for The Apocalypse, a massive sculpture which is being considered for the Episcopal Church at Big Sur. Hobbs agrees with Ingres that “drawing is the probity of art,” and he fears, not without reason, that it is becoming a lost art. His hypothetical Ritual was made with the thought in mind that the point of drawing is to see form and then make it come alive with disciplined freedom of line. This he has done. The series was conceived as a symbolic festival rather than a literal interpretation of the Corrida, and the drawings

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  • Shirley Rousseau-Murphey

    Richmond Art Center

    This artist works around a predominantly pictorial idea, drawing out large, vigorous forms of welded junk metal in a shallow relief space. Even her free-standing pieces are planar, with diagonal (Growth Thought) or angular (Bird Bath) thrusts that minimize both volume and mass. Rousseau-Murphey does not, however, strain after the pretty effects that so often are corollary to an interest in surface; textural manipulation is kept at a minimum and, even when an occasional jagged chunk of melted glass is set in contrast to a rusted metal surface, the effect is not overly decorative. Her imagery is

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  • Irene Lagorio

    Student Union, U.C.

    Flora and fauna (both real and imaginary) are stylized in cheery, decorative forms that recall Synthetic Cubism in one group and Northern European folk art in the other.

    Betty Breckenridge

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  • Maurice Ghiglion-Green

    Pomeroy Gallery

    Ghiglion-Green is a naive painter who, until 1952, worked as a croupier in a Cannes casino. He is a magnificent tonalist because of his uncanny ability to capture the particular tone of, say, a narrow street which falls into just the right relationship to the buildings surrounding it. The buildings in turn reflect perfectly the amount of light the leaden northern French sky discharges. It is a shock to see these small paintings from some distance, then move closer inspecting their detail to find the artist is a truly primitive draftsman. The painter’s articulation of sky and deep space is entirely

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  • Henry Fujioka, Taisuke Hamada

    Gump’s Gallery

    Fujioka is a young Bay Area painter who studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. His paintings on view at Gump’s inner gallery are loose, thickly brushed landscapes of what appears to be the area behind the Berkeley Hills. The composition of the pictures is usually held firm by a large tree or series of trees reaching out towards the right and left sides of the support. This pictorial device consumes the two-dimensional space in the same manner as open and linear metal sculpture activates the three-dimensional space it occupies. The mistake Fujioka sometimes makes is his

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  • Tseng Yu-Ho

    San Francisco Museum Of Art

    This is a disturbing exhibition, not for its content, but its implications. Miss Tseng Yu-Ho is a very mediocre artist completely unworthy of major museum presentation notwithstanding her affiliation to the Downtown Gallery, New York. Her work is banal, boring, dull and empty. It is exasperating to realize that this work has been imported, when important and provocative artists such as Jasper Johns, James Dine, Frank Stella, the late Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, to name only a few, have never been shown in the Bay Area.

    John Coplans

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  • Thomas Rowlandson

    R. E. Lewis Gallery

    Selected prints by one of the greatest British caricature-commentators. Rowlandson (1756–1827) is noted for a prolific production of prints and drawings lampooning the various abuses of his time, and his many humorous comments on social life. His Vauxhall Gardens, an elaborate composition showing numerous celebrities strolling there, which attracted special attention when exhibited at the Academy in 1784, is one of the larger prints included in the Lewis show and is still of more than passing interest. With that print he was already developing those certain recognizable characters which became

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  • Joe White

    New Mission Gallery

    White, a young painter in his mid-twenties, has studied with David Simpson and Seymour Locks at San Francisco State College. The direct influence of these two men is nowhere found in White’s exhibition of recent paintings. The paintings themselves reflect White’s preoccupation with a science fiction cosmic imagery. The imagery has to do with surrealism, but filtered to White via science fiction illustrations. The colors White uses are thinly applied and so appallingly ugly that they must be intentionally so. Spatially, the pictures are ambiguous and overly packed with incidental details. Regardless

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  • Joseph Romano

    Bolles Gallery

    Joseph Romano continues his exploration of crumbled matter in a group of well-made paintings on the gallery’s largest wall. His interesting skirmishes with color have been relegated to a side wall, where what is probably the best painting in the show—a bold pushing of red, white and blue shapes into a parody of patriotism—hangs. Romano is one of the most under-publicized painters in the Bay Area, and deserves more representation in the national exhibitions in which so many lesser local artists are often featured.

    James Monte

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  • Marilyn Rabinovich, Arbit Blatas

    Maxwell Galleries

    With an impressive background in printmaking, Miss Rabinovich turns to painting with a yearning for color and a reluctance to relinquish line. Over flat colored backgrounds she builds up texture with thick ropes of paint scarcely touched by knife or brush, keeping a linear pattern that supplements the subject. Still life and figures are treated with loose-reined imagination and a technical know-how that at times is a virtuoso performance to be enjoyed just for itself. Arbit Blatas (b. Lithuania, 1908) treats subjects beloved of the Impressionists, such as interiors and cityscapes, with the

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  • Max Bailey, Frederick Hammers Ley

    Hobbs Gallery

    Two painters from Los Angeles. Bailey, an abstractionist, separating his edges to show the natural masonite, introduces an interesting variation on cloisonnism but in several of his works falls into decorative pattern—the bugaboo of cloisonnists who adhere to the object as subject. Hammersley, a geometricist, closes his cloisonne, with color against color making its own sharp division. Hobbs shows him in small batches, wisely. Hard-edged geometricism can be as exhausting as conjugating verbs. A group show of his regular artists lines the stairway and fills the small upstairs gallery.

    E. M.

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  • Gallery Group

    Triangle Art Gallery

    This small Polk Street gallery continues to have many interesting group exhibits between one-man shows. This month, the regular gallery artists are each represented by four or five works. Keith Boyle’s drawings with graphite explore the human animal with a surgical curiosity. Wedo Geogetti’s two very muted landscapes accented in orange produce a nostalgia for some European fragment glimpsed from a swiftly moving train.

    Marilyn Gee Stettler’s carefully worked studies of birds turn finally into hybrid fantasies somewhat reminiscent of Gorky.

    James Monte

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  • Joy Long, R. P. Jenkins

    Lucien Labaudt Gallery

    Mrs. Long is a self-taught painter who resides in Vancouver, B. C. There is a curious dualism of approach in her present first exhibit in San Francisco. Half of the paintings are devoted to the depiction of children at play; here she employs traditional oil painting techniques. The other works are somber low-keyed landscapes with nails, spikes and various other non-art materials glued to the surfaces of the pictures. Mrs. Long’s greatest asset is the charm evidenced in the series of pictures about children. Her will to grow as an artist seems to have outstripped her plastic ideas in the landscape

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  • Bob Arneson, Ray King

    Barrios Gallery, Sacramento

    Pots as art objects, ceramic sculptures both monolithic and totemic, and darkly conceived paintings more interesting in their clinical aspects than their art quality are shown in this little gem of a gallery. Arneson, a fantastically creative ceramist, worries the clay like a frolicsome cub, occasionally getting the same slap-happy results. Mostly he stops in time and builds his forms with a chastened hand and an eye toward the history of the medium. King’s show could do with some objective editing. One half deals with social comment on alley and street life in the sensitive tradition of Reginald

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  • Mary Jane Spence, Madge L. Willets

    Artist’s Co-op

    Miss Spence’s paintings employ a technique of a washy monochrome applied over a white ground with heavier applications of paint on top which pluck the objects depicted from the background color. Her ambition seems to be taking Miss Spence toward a rather misty objectivity that hasn’t been fully realized as yet. Mrs. Willets, a sound technician, has an extensive background in painting which includes a period of study at the Chicago Art Institute with George Bellows. Her current work relies on remnants of Cubism and Impressionism to provide a scaffolding for an essentially academic approach to

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  • Group Exhibit

    Locke-Hurst Gallery

    Frank Swig exhibits paintings that are sums of daubed palette knife strokes which build the entire surface of the picture into an almost mosaic pattern. Clair Jordan shows smooth, slow moving abstract rhythms that rely on roughly ovoid shapes and comprise the bulk of this painter’s work. Lanners contributes portraits of females in garish colors that re-state Picasso of the late thirties. J. Barrowman’s well handled figure studies in various drawing media show this artist to be an accomplished draftsman. Paul Hague’s drawings face the works of Barrowman across the crowded room; the proximity

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  • Group Exhibition

    Cable Car Gallery

    The work of two artists stands out among a sea of indifferent amateurish paintings at this California Street Gallery. Bev Rowe, a competent painter who resides at Stinson Beach, paints the hills of Marin County with their ever-changing atmospheric effects. Pat Haberman exhibits a broadly brushed replica of a small inboard motor boat nicely handled in oranges, purples and reds.

    James Monte

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  • Gideon Sandelin, Morris Sachs

    Ed Lesser Gallery

    Sandelin’s show presents such a smorgasbord of borrowed approaches to figure painting that it is impossible to determine which one he prefers himself. As a sculptor, Sachs prefers to follow Chaim Gross, with some variations.

    E. M. Polley

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  • Group Show

    Eric Locke Gallery

    British and European prints held over from December, noteworthy for their technical excellence. Subject and non-subject, about half and half.

    E. M. Polley

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  • John Moyer, Peter Shoemaker

    Hollis Gallery

    Moyer’s wood sculpture attempts the synthesis of at least three attitudes about sculpture. In the presumably earlier works, the artist involved himself with the direct carving of various woods. The surfaces of these pieces are highly finished and usually follow in form the natural organic growth of the chunk of wood. At this point Moyer, again, presumably, chose to introduce color into the sculpture. The problem of applied color in sculpture is a particularly knotty one due to various difficulties. The main difficulty is the insistence of any primary or secondary hue to assert itself as color

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  • Nicole Schoening

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    Miss Schoening presents a sensitive display of photographs of a wide range of subjects, ranging from studies of the textures of wooden doors to delicate renderings of people and animals. Invariably, her people are arranged in a slightly disturbing, slightly bizarre setting; the quality that is out of the ordinary is hard to pinpoint it is vaguely as if Jean Cocteau were making stills of a movie he never planned to produce.

    James Monte

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  • 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.

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  • Robert Biancalana

    Art Unlimited

    Essentially, Biancalana’s wood intarsia objects are paintings, or at least they function as paintings. The artist has substituted for the painting act the search of weathered wooden planks that have been painted or stained some time in the past. The wood is then cut into the desired shapes and fitted together in the same manner as a jig-saw puzzle is fitted in place. Biancalana is careful to control the spaces between the individual pieces of wood so as to define the separate planes in the total composition. The cratsmanship in all the work is of the highest order. Unfortunately, some of the

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  • Emile Norman

    Emile Norman Gallery, Carmel

    Most dictionaries fail to differentiate between art and craft and refer the inquirer backward and forwards between the two words without defining either. But art is concerned with the philosophy of life and craft with the philosophy of materials. Many artists are excellent craftsmen, few craftsmen are excellent artists. Emile Norman is an excellent craftsman and as such is concerned with the beauty of material. But he totally fails to endow his materials with the spirit of art.

    John Coplans

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  • Jerry Edlund, John Broadhurst

    Gamble’s Gallery, Monterey

    Jerry Edlund works in a figurative style very reminiscent of Clave, a French decorative follower of Picasso. Edlund works as a stage designer and also paints like one. Broadhurst works in a variety of styles without any consistent vision. His images, sweet figurations, are gently stained onto his canvases.

    John Coplans

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  • Carmel Art Association, Group Exhibition

    Carmel Art Association

    This mixed exhibition of recently painted members’ work totally ignores all the great discoveries and adventures that have taken place in art over the past thirty years. The exhibition is well hung on walls that have been excellently painted in a dull flat off-white finish.

    John Coplans

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  • Robert Clark

    Zantman Galleries, Carmel

    An excellent and varied technician, Clark paints in a magic realist style madonnas, farm buildings on a skyline of yellow autumn grass and dark interiors of abandoned and decaying shacks. It is difficult to tell his latest work apart from that of Andrew Wyeth.

    P. Burnham

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  • Francois De Paris

    Hidden Village Galleries, Monterey

    The name of this artist is highly suggestive of his art. Skillfully painted École de Paris nudes, still-lifes, landscapes and seascapes in bright high key color. A number of small studies from old masters are also shown.

    John Coplans

     

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  • “European Holiday”

    The Laky Gallery, Carmel

    The works of ten artists are shown in this exhibition. Each artist has painted a view of a European city in a sentimental, descriptive and nostalgic style that was academic thirty years ago.

    John Coplans

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  • Eliot Porter, Richard Garrod

    American Federation of Arts Gallery, Carmel

    Porter exhibits a series of landscapes and images of rock surfaces in muted but highly selective color. He is a colorist of ability who brings a fresh vision to this branch of photography. His photographs reveal him as a person of great sensitivity with very perceptive thoughts on nature and our relationship to it. Garrod, who also uses nature as a theme is much more abstract and shows work only in black and white. His photographs are most skillfully composed with very strong contrasts; he has an extraordinary eye for details. He is a visual poet who completely transcends his media and takes it

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