Los Angeles

Irving Block, Emil Lazarevich

Ankrum Gallery

Although there is considerable variation in style, the majority of the paintings by Irving Block fall in the tradition of Vuillard. As with the Nabis, there is an intimacy to the manner in which the subject is treated that establishes a rapport between artist and viewer for which most contemporary expression has no concern. It is not sentimental but does involve a gentle sentiment that is enhanced by the small scale, the specific selectivity of color, and the dull mat finish of the oil pigment. There are some passages of painting in Francesca, The Love of Three Oranges, or Sun Apple, that, apart from any like or dislike of nostalgic references, are technically very fine. A much less easily defined romanticism pervades throughout the sculptures of Emil Lazarevich. The cast concrete pieces are most deceptive in scale. Averaging no more than twelve inches in height, they would seem at the same time to have come from the towering monuments of an ancient culture. These columnar, headless figures, cut off just below the shoulders and bereft of hands and feet, have peculiar life to them. The Queen, The King as a Warrior, The Queen’s Handmaidens, The Ministers of the King’s Realm, belong to some legendary tale. Sculpturally, they occupy a block that avoids reference to space through either void or open form. A rigid frontality exists. Yet, within such a frame, an amazing amount of activity takes place in fragmented references to drapery, to figures, and to a snakelike form that suggests ritualistic implication. At times, the literary involvement exceeds the sculptural form, but the total impact is certainly unique.

Constance Perkins