San Francisco

Bella Feldman and Erik Gronborg

Bolles Gallery

Perhaps the most striking development in contemporary art is the renewal of interest in the object—and the effort of the artist to see the object as poetry. Both Feldman and Gronborg make this effort, with Gronborg being the more successful in this exhibition.

Mrs. Feldman, mannered at times, is more notable for her metal textures than her subject interpretation. Two figure pieces present current aspects of handling the nude: “Bone Torso,” reclining on its side, is interesting as shape but becomes repellent as subject matter, raising the hope that contemporary artists will soon tire of the too, too frank exposure of the genitalia in their works. The subject is becoming tiresome and rather pointless. However, in “Matriarch’s Torso,” a large sheet metal sculpture in which the visually precise organs of the female body are immediately and entirely discernible, Mrs. Feldman makes use of them as fruitful symbols of significant meaning, rather than as blatant signs of a pornographic age. Thus, made into a language of communication, there is justification for their use.

Erik Gronborg (b. Denmark, 1931), presently teaching at the University of California at Berkeley, is closer to the new poetics of the object than most Bay Area sculptors. Careful but unfussy craftsmanship, plus a Gothic reverence for line and mass, give his wood sculptures expressive vitality and impressive purity of form.

Elizabeth M. Polley