Los Angeles

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 a melancholia pervades the essential ambience, the effect is enveloping. “Monk Priest” is a blue washed and brushed head on smooth paper, a Rouaultian exercise. “Portrait” is a girl’s face etched with a sharp point into a wax-like finish. “Sunday Witches” pose as hovering indefinable objects in a pale blue sky, under which a poem is inscribed: “Sunday Witches freeze their oatmeal in eggshell Turbins, While moonmad dogs hollow out creations for their orange peels,” etc. Best sketches are seated, reclining, standing sturdy nudes etched in colored inks.

S. C. Schoneberg