reviews

  • Richards Ruben

    Ferus Gallery

    With these new paintings, Ruben seems to have rediscovered color as an expressive tool. In his latest show at this gallery, the pictures were predominately black with small bands of brilliant color breaking through to give solidity to the dark areas. Now he accomplishes it with color all over. These pictures involve large divisions of subdued but clashing Indian Madras-like tones working within the context of a rather totemic image—the space is generally divided vertically like a chunky, earthy Barnett Newman. The object, though, is quite different. One color area overlaps another with the

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  • Berthe Morisot

    Dalzell Hatfield Galleries

    Delicate, charming, the pastels and drawings by Berthe Morisot are things of beauty and a joy to behold. Currently in disfavor, pastel as a medium was much admired by the color-sensitive Impressionists, whose skill with it was dazzling. Berthe Morisot was a sensitive, even brilliant draftsman; the line is firm, the faces full of light. Some of the sketches were preliminary studies for paintings, others are quick notes to record an attitude or gesture. Her own daughter, as well as other children frequently served as models for these perceptive sketches. As Elizabeth Mongan says in the catalog to

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  • Vasily Kandinsky

    The large Kandinsky show organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents massive evidence of the artist’s historical importance in the modern movement. The exhibit is the most comprehensive ever to represent the man who played such a large part in moving painting beyond the object into the forms of the 20th century. Confronted with almost 100 paintings it is no longer possible to think of him (comfortably) as merely one of the representative “greats” who exists in survey books as a link in the chain: one must face him as a painter. Such a confrontation of Kandinsky’s total sequence of

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  • “The Artist’s Environment: West Coast”

    UCLA Art Galleries

    The UCLA Art Galleries have presented three exhibitions of West Coast Art in the last few years. Combined they have served to present a few new talents, give some recognition to several of the old guard who painted here against all odds, and, most importantly, to composite a skeleton heritage (presented in the catalog for this show) for future generations. Now, one hopes that it will be left to another generation to tidy up. With very few exceptions this exhibition, selected by Frederick S. Wight, Chairman of the UCLA Art Department, does not offer any visual stimulation that a consistent

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  • Edmund Teske

    Ceeje Gallery

    The roots of Mr. Teske’s imagery are with the great photographers of the 1930’s, yet what is presented here is truly the work of a modern. In the series of 34 prints dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright, titled “Resurgence” there is, without embarrassment, acknowledgement of the traditions of vision pioneered by Edward Weston and Walker Evans. Wilted flowers, weathered wooden crucifix, and blowing curtains are all symbols of a temporal character capturing an extraordinary sense of time: time moving, time stopped, timelessness, all akin to Edward Hopper or even the mystical Chirico. This is the great

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  • “Old Master Prints”

    UCLA Art Galleries

    This superb exhibition is composed of some fifty frames containing old-master engravings, etchings, and woodcuts from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The field of ornament prints is especially well documented, with superb examples by the Master of the Sforza Book of Hours (active 1485–1497) and Zoan Andrea (active 1475–1505), who separately and in collaboration produced some of the finest engraved ornament prints of all times, (Agostino Veneziano, Francois Boucher, and Jean Lepautre). Groups of prints by Rembrandt and Durer are exhibited, including the much sought “Melancholia” and “Nemesis”

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  • Dennis Hopper

    Primus-Stuart Galleries

    This show of photo-assemblages is a black and white WOW! The unrelenting impact of Hopper’s configurations advance on all levels of consciousness toward the viewer. First they hit visually, then they boomerang back intellectually because the visual associations have scathing social implications and all this while simultaneously provoking emotions ranging from horror to harmony. It is quite an achievement, and since Dennis Hopper is also an actor, perhaps the sensitivity to timing that acting develops is one of the reasons behind the power of these ensembles. For each one is paced so well from

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  • Paul Wonner

    Felix Landau Gallery

    Taken as a group style the figurative painting of the Bay Area has certain consistent trademarks. The figure is impersonal but it is viewed intimately. The spatial framework almost always contains a collision between the illusion of space and the coincidences that flatten space. The lavish use of paint does not elaborate forms or enrich surfaces but seems more to muffle the sense of immediate contact—to “distance” the painting in the sense that Brecht used the term. If color is strongly used it acts as a foil, fuming and fussing at cross purposes with the objects and their space. These paradoxes

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  • William Dole

    Rex Evans Gallery

    Dole brings a new dimension to collage with his highly controlled water color-collage technique. In “Tower of Babel,” the familiar fragments of familiar entities are arranged into constructions revealing great humor. They are predominantly quiet statements concerning human pomposity and their message is readily discernible; Dole’s depth and continuing appeal lie in the slow revelation of Dole’s mastery of selectivity and formal arrangement. The irony is immediate, his method of achieving it is subtle. In other works, oriental influenced, the familiar fragments are present only as a point of

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  • Claire Falkenstein

    Esther-Robles Gallery

    Hovering, dangling, flickering or just lying there, Claire Falkenstein’s linear sculpture is decorative in the best sense of the word. As synthetic works inspired by the poetry of matter in motion, they achieve success by implying the structural excitement of energy. They fail when their armatures are weighed down with stones and melted glass globs. Like dressing a skeleton in long underwear, encrusting only encumbers and masks this kind of sculpture. The work which is farthest from Falkenstein’s best is “Sacre Coeur” an ugly and literal concoction of red and blue glass melted and dripping from

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  • Martial Raysse

    Dwan Gallery

    This new work by one of Paris’ younger New Realists deals with commercial type newness and fashion. He takes large photo blow-ups of beautiful women and colors them in with intense fluorescent paints. He then affixes such things as powder puffs, hand mirrors, oversized sun glasses and other paraphernalia of the feminine, fashion-magazine ideal. The intent is to reduce the subject to complete ridiculousness by heightening the visual effect to an almost hallucinatory level. The pictures do succeed in ridiculing their subject matter, but fall short of the intended hypnotic level and emotional

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  • “Modern American Painters”

    Everett Ellin Gallery

    The viewer ricochets between the painterly bravado of Hassel Smith and Helen Frankenthaler to the stasis of Frank Stella’s monomorphic works. Stella’s pin-striped black enamel canvas has the scale and obstinacy of a wall. The painter seems to share the “art is not” viewpoint of Ad Reinhardt. Perhaps by excising so much of what has previously been considered essential to painting, one does arrive at “purity,” although that might be a euphemism for the “lowest common denominator.” Stella forcibly emphasizes through repetition the obtuseness and inscrutability of two-dimensional surfaces.

    A contrast

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  • Melvyn Sanger

    Paul Rivas Gallery

    Mr. Sanger’s Artist’s Portfolio, 1958, gives a tender and somewhat intimate glance into an artist’s pantry. Among this series are small studies and half-studies that otherwise would have provided notes for larger works; the drawings are nudes or heads or draped forms, washes of sienna and blue and brown ink often with wet gouache frames of another hue. Here are hidden alleyways of form, a Sutherland exploit, pasted paper heads, and amorphous formalizations that take uncommon objects and project suggested artifice. All sketches are sensitively worked out, balanced, spontaneous, fresh, and, although

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  • Frank Sardisco

    Pasadena Art Museum

    Recent paintings by Frank Sardisco show that this young artist has matured rapidly over the last two and a half years. His search for a personal symbol, initially organic in form, is resolved but by no means exhausted. At the present his image usually involves a strong horizontal movement off of which ovoid or semi-rectangular forms work in tension. Often the order is a familiar one based on suprematist principles but the variations are subtle and fine. Occasionally traditional orders are broken. “The Tempest” is such a piece in which a kind of awkwardness of composition effectively implies

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  • Frederick Hammersley

    Heritage Gallery

    A handsomely arranged aggregate of Hammersley’s geometric abstractions greets the visitor with a calm welcome to a broad, flat, colorful world, comfortable, plain, quiet, ordered, mechanical, and dull. Dull in the sense of repetitious epigrams, phraseology that mechanically executes a circle or square in an undisclosed number of ways and means, balanced, poised, confident surface structures that ape the module of conformity by conscious arrangement and rearrangement of the same theme. “Even” gives a large yellow oval on a blue vertical panel, and a second panel to the right is divided into black

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  • “101 Objects of Wood”

    UCLA Art Galleries

    This exhibition brings together an assortment of oddments from hay forks to belaying pins, past and present, that have been crafted in wood and that can be manipulated. Objects that function at a spiritual level, such as African carving, have been intentionally ignored since the exhibition is geared to design, and an exploration of the possibilities and limitations of a specific medium. In this, it is the first of a series of planned educational exhibitions which will examine other materials: paper, clay, etc. It is an excellent exercise and one hopes that aspiring designers as well as the lay

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  • Group Show

    Edgardo Acosta Gallery

    Antoni Clave stands out amidst a group show of European contemporaries. Raoul Dufy’s “Devant La Plage a Deauville” adds a rich ultramarine backdrop note amid an unusually free grouping of figures and beach homes. A landscape of Paul Rebeyrolle tongues loads of flat oil bumps over and over a blurred outline of tree and dale, and flat groups of striped currents help flatten the pigment terrain. More sensitive than others of the group is Armand Guillaumin’s pastel “Paysage de la Cureze,” where a fauve adaptation of shadowy form conjunctions portray clearly recognizable entry into deep luxuriant

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  • Vernon Fimple

    Gallerie de Ville

    Two varieties of works are shown here, surrealist and then a kind of advanced dramatic pictorialization of an idealized microcosm. The world of Mr. Fimple borrows from the fantasy that Bosch plundered, Ernst enraptured, and Dalí exploded. The perfect forms of his demonic wonderland are at once provoking and fascinating. His mute darkened colors are as yet somberly evocative of the half-conscious, fully-realized projections of anthropomorphic play. His visions of malice and multiplication, destruction and fecundity find an answering note in a personal symbolism as yet unripened. “Masquerade”

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  • “Invitational”

    Dilexi Gallery

    The five artists represented hold in common a certain esthetic materialism. This manifests itself in different ways for each, ranging from Joseph Goode’s realism of things to Fred Martin’s paper collages which are so physical they even have messages written upon them. Goode’s drawings of sun glasses and keys and drawings of un glasses and keys and machinery have the tech illustrator’s matter-of-fact non-style. His real milk bottles are painted over thickly, and then set up the way you might meet them some A.M. on your doorstep; the colored coke bottles come in six-packs. (Could this be a new

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  • Bertil Vallien

    Ryder Gallery

    The ceramic sculpture of Bertil Vallien, although small in scale, achieves a certain sense of monumentality through an understanding of proportion, form, and the play of light and shadow. He is faithful to the medium, yet able to subordinate craftsmanship to serve a sculptural, rather than a utilitarian or destructive end. This may seem obvious, but so much ceramic work remains on one or the other level, and so much current ceramic sculpture is willfully self-conscious, that it is refreshing to find someone who is willing to accept the limitations of the medium and achieve something in his own

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  • Carlos Suarez and Keith Martin

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art

    These one-man shows present recent work by two artists in their middle years: Keith Martin, an American, and Carlos Suares, a French citizen, long-time resident of Egypt, and now in Ojai, California. Martin, who has a broad background of exhibiting and teaching, shows paintings and collages that are ingratiating in their general effect. They are abstract, bland in color, well-crafted and fall into the general category of competent poetry, read off to us in a small voice.

    Suares has developed a theory of color. Presumably the group of small canvases in this show, because of their complete consistency,

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  • Emilio Ortiz

    Zora Gallery

    This young artist is finding himself, moving from a medium in which he reveals great control to one in which he is still searching for both technique and statement. This does not mean that his paintings lack merit or are without interest. In departing from his drawings, he is unsure of his development of form and mass. He concentrates on composing large organic forms, which, at this point, have not been brought under control due to his abandonment of line. However, his strong imagination and color reveal a sensitive artist. “Farewell” conveys vividly a haunting mystery whose blackened, vibrating

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  • Max Band

    Michel Thomas Galleries

    A mystic embellishment of Old Testament heroism establishes the continuity of a large selection of Max Band’s oil paintings. “Exodus”’ churning sea and illumined heavens remind us of the heaven and sea visions of an opaque Turner, where huge rolling waves are stayed and the multitude paces into Light. “Abraham’s Search for God” finds an unreserved lyricism fulfilling Band’s quest for pictorial realization, the coupling of biblical dream, revelation, and fervent literature into sensuous oils of empathic promise. The rich and sensitive “Galilee,” fresh, direct, and free of predetermined content,

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  • Paul Darrow

    Laguna Beach Art Association Gallery

    In his recent work, which represents about one-third of the current exhibition, Darrow has become more directly and sensitively involved with nature, especially the sea. Direct in that the works are no longer involved with a style or organization, and sensitive in that this unstructured nature of the work provides the freedom to move in the ways of nature. In a loose sense they have a Turneresque sweep which is unconcerned with specifics. “Night Sea,” with its warm greens and elusive points of focus, speaks of the phenomena of changing light and atmosphere without freezing them in a pictorial

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  • “The Human Figure”

    Los Angeles Art Association

    The exhibition of some forty-four painters and eleven sculptors is interesting in the variety of approaches shown. By the same token it lacks some of the impact that a mere restricted showing might have, or that the same show might have were a more conscious effort made to group together those styles that have some affinity with each other. As it is, one takes in, in one breath so to speak, such disparate works as those that range from the traditional and near-illustrational modes of representation to what could better be called pure action painting where the image, to all intents and purposes,

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  • Anya Fisher

    Galleria Gianni

    Anya Fisher’s paintings, though competent and colorful, seem undecided between form and line. Her written statements dwell on concepts of “the organic.” Perhaps her work would gain authority by a simplification, which would permit form to dominate her painting as it does her thought.

    Joan Hugo

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  • Harrison McIntosh

    The refinement and serenity of the simple forms that have been produced by this southern California ceramist echo the long tradition of the art of the potter. The dull glazes of subtle olive to brown, grey flecked with brown, dark blue, the only slight variations of simple decorative motifs and the recapitulations of the vase, bottle and compote forms mark Harrison McIntosh as a genuine craftsman concerned with the essence of beauty that can be expressed only by restraint and understatement. Even in the rare instances when McIntosh employs a freely brushed decorative motif that reflects the New

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  • Bedri Rahmi and Bernice Kussoy

    Ankrum Gallery

    Rahmi presents tasteful thorough colorful oil paintings that have a sense of tense reverence. An artfully applied logic is coupled with the chance of color rubbed over combed gesso patterns. The works are well balanced and feel as though human figures have been idealized and distilled through warm tonal flecks. Stark contrast to Rahmi’s type of Turkish lyricism is found among the welded metal sculpture of Bernice Kussoy. Here we walk among a contemporary classic, filled with nuts, bolts, screws, pipes, wire, nails, springs, plates, pans, cut rubbed and rusted metals that have transmuted the

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  • Willie Suzuki

    Comara Gallery

    The gentleman is no colorist. He also is no idler despite his subject matter of parks and recreational activities. Suzuki is so busy trying to draw with his paint that his palette of whites, oranges and umbers can barely meet the job of describing the effects of light and dark, let alone try to be color. His surfaces are dull and lifeless, the tired remains of an overworked hasty brush. There is an irony in this since the painter’s large diagonal brush strokes imply a speed of execution, yet the correction and over-correction of each layer of brush action and the lack of luminosity to the paint,

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  • Joseph Young

    Palm Springs Art Museum

    The Desert Museum shows the artist’s first retrospective exhibition. Included are examples of Young’s efforts in drawings, monotypes, sculpture-constructions, oils, mosaics, mural sketches and photo-enlargements of already executed architectural commissions. After reviewing these achievements in many fields it is rather surprising to find such an uneven collection of evidence in the museum. The photo-enlargements of architectural mosaics are undoubtedly the artist’s main concern. They are carefully conceived and are meticulously executed with considerable understanding of the medium. However,

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  • “The Wooden Horse Gallery”

    The Wooden Horse Gallery

    Laguna added another gallery to its rather plentiful supply. However, Jae Carmichael and Verne Walt had a feeling that a bit of La Cienega could well be brought closer to the Laguna public. The gallery is small and for their first show they had a rather large multiple exhibit. The second show features 13 oils and 12 pastels by Hans Burkhardt. Burkhardt was born in Basel, Switzerland, and came to this country in 1924, bringing with him great admiration for Boecklin and Hodler, both leading German painters of the turn of the century. In New York he studied under Arshile Gorky and now owns a fine

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  • Richard Whorf and Paul Jasmin

    Raymond Burr Galleries

    Fortunately Richard Whorf, prominent in motion pictures, has taken the trouble to qualify himself as an amateur; it would be unfair to see his work in other terms. But showing in a commercial gallery, and, to judge by the little red stars, selling like hot cakes, his work bids to be taken seriously, although it doesn’t measure up to serious standards. Painfully derivative (Hopper, Wyeth), they reflect a nostalgia for the finite. Paul Jasmin takes an almost obsessive delight in patterns (checked, flowered cloth) and flat draped folds. He makes no attempt at modeling the figures; they are reduced

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  • “Michael Bastian Looks at Environment”

    Aura Gallery

    A single red ceiling light in a blacked out hall reveals piles of styrofoam chips and plastic garment bags, some of which have been tied to the pillars of the room in a manner resembling tatter sails. A few odd objects are scattered about. One, a fragment of a newspaper headline, “Dr. Alvarez Discusses Problems of Insomnia,” is probably the most revealing of what Michael Bastian had in mind in putting his experiment together. Even as anti-art it cannot be taken seriously. Vital as that movement is at its best, in its lesser efforts it can be very bad. Ingenuity is more rare than the artistic

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  • Hitchcock Collection

    Thorne Hall, Occidental College

    The collection of Ruth and Elwood Hitchcock presents a range of small works by moderns. Some of those present are in the “master” category: Picasso with “Head of a Young Man” (etching, 1905), some Chagall, some Klee, two Rouault wood-blocks, a Lautrec poster. Of pioneer Americans there are several Marin watercolors, a Dove and a very convincing drypoint “Head” by Walt Kuhn. All these are of top quality and seem to be the result of sensitive choice. Of the more recent works the quality is not as even but still the batting average is good considering the risks of “fresh art” Lebrun is represented

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  • Group Show

    Gallery De Silva, Santa Barbara

    Marking its first anniversary with a group showing by its stable of artists, the gallery covers a broad media range, paintings, mostly gouache and water color, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, prints, and batik. Most pieces are small. Americans represented are Douglass Parshall, William Hesthal, Vern and Marie Swansen, Forrest Hibbits, Olga Higgins, Margaret Hart, Marie Jaans, Gary Chafe, Tom Farmer, Saul Steinlauf, Bert Humphrey, Edward Dron, Stanley Mock, Larry Connoly, Linnaea Deyo, and Oscar Bucher. Foreign artists are Matabee Goto (Japan), Angel Bolivar (Mexico), Stella Popowski (Poland),

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  • Group Show

    Rosha

    Artists showing here are Vi Hornbrook, Joel Schiller, Karl Seethaler, Lugan, Ernst Halpern. Of these, only Schiller and Halpern seem to have notions of what painting is about.

    Joan Hugo

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  • Ruth Osgood

    Cowie Wilshire Galleries

    These paintings are accomplished but static, stylized, formal. The subjects she chooses to paint are not always appropriate to this style—the matador and bull, for example, come off badly. She is more successful with boats and harbors, subjects which lend themselves to a cold, analytical style.

    Joan Hugo

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  • “The Horse in Art”

    Fine Arts Gallery, Balboa Park, San Diego

    This show excludes the critic. You walk around and you get ready to say something and a horse speaks up at the invitation of the museum director. There are some lovely things here and they should be shown, but the tent is louder than the circus and they get lost. Theme shows like this one are a kind of nutty anthropology deflecting the museum from its proper function of showing art as art.

    John Reuschel

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  • Group Show

    Ernest Raboff Gallery

    An unusually varied exhibition, since this gallery represents such diverse artists as the brown-toned academician Will Foster and the iconic expressionist Joachim Probst. Group shows are reminiscent of samplers of French perfume; you never get enough to become familiar with anyone’s specific possibilities. But the small precise abstractions of Serge Diakonoff have the scent of quality, while Gregory Gorby’s pastels seem to be only competent.

    Rosalind G. Wholden

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