Arizona

Arizona

In its first three years the Phoenix Art Museum has set the art pace in the Phoenix area. The major Spring exhibit here is the work of Peter Hurd, that realist who has made the landscape of New Mexico his own. His mastery of form and color gives his work distinction, and the handsome surface of his egg tempera paintings, while showing unhurried attention to craft, is never labored. Hurd uses back lighting to mold the lush green hills and shadowed distant mountains of a “Sheep Camp” with forceful emphasis. He shows the same brand of distinctive realism in his watercolors, with the dramatic lighting of a looming hill against a dark sky in “Primera Nieve” outstanding.

Kenneth Callahan of Seattle projects a different feeling in his show at the museum. Symbolism and mystery join in a style which combines delicate line, massive forms, and multiple visions. A wisp of tissue delicacy and an Oriental flavor show his connection, dating from the 1930’s, with Mark Tobey and Morris Graves. If there is disintegration of form, there is also birth and creation of new forms in a cycle of change. “The Cove, Two Worlds” shows a dream grouping of recurrent themes: the bull, horse, family group, and figures in a haunted landscape.

Other museum exhibits include a loan show from the Jonathan Marshall collection. Jules Pascin’s “Girl with Bowl of Fruit” and “Model in the Studio” have the intimate quality, the muted color, and the tense expansion of flattened forms of his best work. An early “Fauve Landscape” by Alfred Maurer, singing with color, and a “Nude in the Studio” by Raoul Dufy are among other outstanding paintings in this collection.

In his American debut Italian Corrado Cagli changes from a fast paced cubism to the magic realism of recent paintings, all with a strong feeling for form. Just opened is the show of 100 drawings from the Paul Magriel collection, providing a distinctive survey of American art from Benjamin West to contemporary artists.

There is brisk activity in the local galleries this season. At Galaxy Gallery Takahiko Mikami’s style retains something of Japan but more of Paris in paintings from several capitals. His greys and muted colors are a joy, but he brings action intensity to the dark fire of the silhouette of the “Salute, Venice.”

Francisco Lopez Burgos of Granada, Spain, has a quiet manner in his first show in America. Burgos is descriptive, but omits unnecessary detail, and his sensitive figures have a simple directness. There is gentle understatement and persuasive modeling in the seated girl, oblivious to the external world, who gives a “Kiss to the Sun.” His bronzes continue his concern for simplified form, with “Girl Skipping Rope” showing his lyric if traditional style.

Turning to Scottsdale galleries, the current conservative trend continues. The new R. M. Light and Co. gallery opened with a survey of modern prints, with a unique Rouault proof for “Ste. Pute” from his memorable “Passion” series. An excellent exhibit of drawings from the 16th to 18th centuries shows the enduring power of line. Outstanding is an ink drawing by Luca Cambioso, a “Flagellation” in sculptural line and strong spatial organization. Watteau’s costume figure and Fragonard’s courtyard scene carry the full flavor of the rococo.

Recent shows at O’Brien’s Art Emporium contrast two points of view. Charles Campbell extends his personal, symbolic interpretations, often with wry comments on contemporary man, as in “Salute” to “Progress.” The elusive mystery of his work appears in a draped figure floating over “The Wall,” or in the jeweled color of a “Lonely View.”

Mexico is the subject for Mark Coomer’s descriptive essays in light and shadow. If the challenge of modern art is absent, the discipline of craftsmanship is important. Sunlight filtered through a grape arbor in his “La Vina” has the pure brilliance of Mexico’s light.

Camelback Gallery’s stable is traditional. Herb Olsen’s watercolors of New England carry conviction. The Arizona Watercolor Society, in their third annual show, introduced a little more variety to this gallery. The abstract brilliance of pure, impressionistic color in William Lewis’s “Road to the Lake” or Dorothy Bergamo’s reasoned patterns of color in “Desert Design” contrast with such a conservative as Sherburn Graves in the textural interest of “October’s Bright Blue Weather.”

Marlan Miller