reviews

  • Arshile Gorky

    Art Center In La Jolla

    This is the Hans Burkhardt collection of approximately seventy-five items, covering the years 1927–1937, during which Gorky journeyed toward himself by way of Cézanne and the Paris Masters. Later he proceeded to absolute uniqueness, untimely death, and canonization. His biography has caused a ton of fat to be chewed in the journals and has cut too much into the looking time. There is a lot to see in this show; Gorky’s derivations have a yeast of their own. Although he often placed his mind for a while in another painter’s keeping, his hands were intensely and powerfully his own. This shows up

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  • Roger Kuntz

    Pasadena Art Museum

    The exhibition consists of oil paintings and constructions that relate to the California freeway system; as a unit they confront the viewer with the same mixture of emotional responses that driving the freeway incites. For the sake of clarity the works can be divided into three categories: (1) Close-up, cropped views of signs and symbols that give directions, identify roadways, and indicate speeds, representing the fleeting images seen through the eyes of the driver or pedestrian. Their crisp, green and white configurations, cut with shadows, indicate authority without being dictatorial; a

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  • Hans Hofmann

    Santa Barbara Museum Of Art

    An exhibition of 14 paintings and 3 drawings, dating from 1952 through 1962, gathered from California collections. The major impetus for the exhibition was a gift by the painter of one of his own works to the Santa Barbara Museum. Hofmann’s name is one that is constantly involved in any discussion of post World War II painting, and even though the exhibition is restricted in size and to a limited phase of the painter’s career, it is still an exciting and revealing experience which one hopes will be repeated and expanded in future showings of Hofmann’s work on the West Coast.

    Clement Greenberg,

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  • “Portraits from the Museum of Modern Art”

    Pomona and Scripps Colleges, Claremont

    The collection is a varied group of portraits by moderns in all media, including photography. The works are not always of major stature but it is not the purpose of such a collection to present masterpieces. Taken as a whole they provide a fascinating parade of faces and viewpoints. The exhibition, displayed jointly in the galleries of these adjacent colleges, has a leisurely rambling quality that makes it ideal for study. The nature of portraiture makes it a strong suit for the German Expressionists and they dominate the show in size, numbers, and muscle. There are, for instance, six portraits

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  • “Rare Color Lithographs: Chagall, Braque, Clave, Renoir, Lautrec”

    Edgardo Acosta Gallery

    Among these prints some are rare because of their limited editions, others because of the quality of excellence. In the latter category, Chagall’s Bouquet a L’Oiseau, a scarlet ground left showing traces from the painter’s confident brush is graced by the profiles of a man and bird facing a white and blue bouquet. Chagall’s lyricism combines the deep familiarity of a folk song with the surprise of having it sung by a lark. How providential for our anxious generation to have in its midst this untrammeled joyous voice!

    The prints by Braque and Dali are antithetical. The Frenchman’s almost Hellenic

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  • “Sculpture”

    Felix Landau Gallery

    The increasing local interest in the plastic arts is reflected in the opening of a permanent show room for contemporary sculpture at the Felix Landau Gallery. Particularly rewarding is the discovery that young sculptors are producing works of such technical and creative caliber that their inclusion in a group show of this sort complements the work of older artists of international reputation, adding new perspectives to the established orders. The impressive listing begins with Henry Moore, who is represented by a large bronze figure of undeniable power. It is one of Moore’s less abstract

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  • Frank Stella

    Ferus Gallery

    This is the first West Coast show of paintings by a New York artist who has, up until now, been involved primarily with the metaphysics of the object in space. His paintings, prior to this current show, were composed of evenly shaped, symmetrically arranged stripes of a single solid color. These stripes were designed to conform to the shape of the canvas (often with notched-out areas or in the shapes of straight-edged letters such as H or L) in order to give an illusion of massive solidity and to focus attention on their environmental context. His total elimination of color changes or surface

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  • Group Show

    Frank Perls Gallery

    James Strombotne’s work stands out in this exhibition like the proverbial sore thumb. His feckless drawing and apparent disdain for pictorial unity seem to be offered as justified by man’s absurdity. The masked and spectral males are in worse condition than the grinning shes. Perhaps the affection with which he paints the mount of Venus will someday extend to the pictures themselves.

    In choosing browns and violets applied striatedly within delineated shapes Robert Chuey’s paintings are akin to Picasso’s early Afro-Cubism but the billowing compositions swirl as an organic vortex. The painter seems

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  • “Venice Yesterday and Today”

    Sabersky Gallery

    Both the man dreaming of Venice and the man leaving Venice purchase prints, and so persistent a tradition of souvenir art is bound to have its masterpieces. In the present exhibition Marieschi’s 18th century etchings and those by Brustolini after Caneletto provide the most intriguing compositions of the omnipresent piazzas, chiesas and battellos. Marieschi uses a herringbone line; in Frari Church, people, their capes flying, scurry away from a tangle of two men spilled in combat across steps leading to the canal, a dog nips at the losing man’s limbs. A handsome antique screen with nine etchings

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  • “Surrealists”

    Rex Evans Gallery

    “The art of painting, as I conceive of it, consists in representing through pictorial techniques the unforseen images that might appear to me at certain moments, whether my eyes are open or shut.”

    —René Magritte.

    It is these unforseen images which dominate a small but rewarding show at Rex Evans, which also includes work by some contemporary proponents of the unforseen: Phillip Curtis, Thomas Blackwell, Douglas McFadden, Allan Blizzard, Guido Biasi, and, especially interesting, Gerrie Gutman, whose doll-like, owlish women somehow recall the work of Leonor Fini. Two small “pebble-scrapes” by Yves

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  • Joan Jacobs

    Everett Ellin Gallery

    “This is not a picture of a “Rocket to the Moon.” It simply illustrates the fact that over every endeavor of nature and man . . . exists one absolute truth, as symbolized by a bright circle.” This legend is engraved in metal on one of the several plaques attached to works in Joan Jacobs’ most recent show. She has moved into the icy philosophical realm of “non-painting”; things which are intended as confrontation machines, concrete metaphors that make demands not unlike an oracle’s veiled pronouncements. This is not the scattergun attack of the objectmaker or the pop-artist but rather carefully

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  • Phillippe Hosiasson

    David Stuart Gallery

    The catalog preface by Pierre Schneider defines the works as “Geometry reformulated by nature,” and it is a telling description of the immensely sad canvases by this Russian-born, Paris-based painter. As his theme, he uses forms evocative of old stucco walls with door or window openings. The technical approach is that of a construction-in-paint. The paint is heavily applied and manipulated on the canvas in layers; when the textural forms are built they are enriched with glazes and sprinklings of dry color. This elaboration endows the surfaces with a material density and in some of the paintings,

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  • Donald Bear

    Esther Bear Gallery

    Here is a wide selection of drawings dating from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The late Donald Bear is remembered by those who knew him as one of the West Coast’s most energetic and perceptive museum administrators (he was the founding-director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art). With a close sympathy and understanding of contemporary art, he was able to build the Santa Barbara Museum into one of the major museums of California. His success in this area of his activities has tended to hide the fact that he was also a painter whose works, in many cases, will stand solidly by those of his

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  • Oskar Fischinger

    Ernest Raboff Gallery

    Oskar Fischinger is better known as a creator of abstract films than he is as a painter. This is probably as it should be for the paintings shown here owe their life to the awareness of optics, implied movement, flickering surface, and deep space. They are intellectually conceived and relate to the Bauhaus idea of an ordered universe. The works range from 1944 until the present without any recognizable change in pattern or philosophy. The new works are smaller and somewhat more relaxed; due, perhaps, more to age than to intention. The earlier works are often excellent. But, for the moment, all

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  • Second National Invitational Print Exhibition

    Otis Art Institute

    As one tours the gallery, names of exotic media, such as masonite cut, color built up print, masonite intaglio, color plastic board, collagraph intaglio, color masonite intaglio, color paper relief cut, collagraph, color collage intaglio, built up print, and cellocut leap from the labels. Even the traditional media have taken on a new look. Surfaces of intaglio prints are thrown into deep relief; woodblock prints are heavily encrusted with layers of glossy ink; lithographs are printed from zinc plates, exploiting the characteristics peculiar to this substance, as well as from stone.

    Some of the

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  • Aage Pedersen

    Pasadena Museum

    This Danish-American artist seems to have woven rather than drawn or printed his mysteriously organic black and white monoprints. He is a surrealist in sheep’s clothing, crucifying a doilied Jesus on a candy-box valentine cross of old lace. His work records evidence of the patterns in a clock, an apron, a flower, a tablecloth; the voluptuous allegory, in fact, of almost anything that has an actual or implied decorative order. Pedersen’s subject matter is created from the imagery inherent in humble decorative folk patterns (common objects).

    “A pattern is a thing,” says the dictionary, “so ideal

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  • Deborah Remington

    Dilexi Gallery

    Good stout paint surfaces occupied with great eclat and surety mark the works of this vigorous, latterday action painter. The sureness of image and impeccable control is a little unnerving and raises a nagging suspicion that the “precarious journey into the unknown” was as predictable as a Michelin Tour. But perhaps it is an unfair cliche to expect painting as handsome, genuine, and large as these to register the uncertainties and shifts in goal that go with all-out improvisation. As a group they have a true calligraphic declaration in that the gesture, with all its thrust, is contained, and

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  • “Sculpture II”

    Pasadena Art Museum

    In this, the second in a series of small sculpture shows, interest is centered on a selection of works by Gaston Lachaise, most of which date from around 1930. Head of a Woman is the most typical. Other pieces reveal some of the eroticism and severe geometry of which the artist was capable. An interesting relationship exists between the Lachaise pieces and a series of small clay models by Elie Nadelman dated about 1920. Unexpectedly, there is also a stylistic compatibility established with works of both Alexander Calder and Isamu Noguchi, particularly in the latter’s abstract Tiger from 1952.

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  • Charles Garabedian

    Ceeje Gallery

    Among the younger painters who are unashamedly courting subject matter, Garabedian must be counted as one of the bravest. His icon-like fantasies have jettisoned the niceties of paint and drawing in favor of an enamel hardness and a sense of detail that is reminiscent of folk art. Painting is a harrowing business for a man who wishes to speak about the spirit in literary terms (what with illustration always lurking nearby) and this painter has found that the nonconsecutive images of the Early Renaissance offer a way of controlling subject matter. Christ Under the Cross makes use of a hieratic

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  • Karl Benjamin

    Esther Robles Gallery

    In this show of mostly 1961 and 1962 oil paintings, Benjamin takes another crack at eventually covering all of the possibilities of so-called “abstract classicism.” In his last show here, the paintings used a regular horizontal-vertical grid made up of bright, sharply contrasting colors that flickered outward from the picture plane. In the show previous to that, there were interlocking, geometric forms composing a generally shallow space with pleasant colors. He now allows sharp-edged, irregular shapes to hang, spill and float in a deep, almost surreal space. These shapes all have carefully

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  • John Paul Jones

    Barnsdall Municipal Art Gallery

    Since the works included span a number of years and styles, the temptation is to see progress. However, Jones’s angular abstract intaglios of the early fifties hold their own and seem superior in formal realization to many of the later works. This is not to say that an artist should feel bound to one idiom because of its success, but the safari from precise intersecting structural forms to evanescent melted human curves inevitably produces casualties. The plastic unity of the early prints begins to dissolve as Jones adds disassociative figurative emblems inside planar compositions (e.g., Pieta

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  • Ron Grow

    Comara Gallery

    Unlike some sculptors working with components from wrecked automobiles and machinery, Grow is concerned with modulations and movement of form that are essentially handsome. He does more forming and fitting of parts and leaves less to accidental juxtapositions than most men associated with the term “junk sculpture.” Many works in this show are concerned with flight forms; the large July Flyer is a poised “gesture” that exploits the different condition of the metal, momentum being achieved by an interplay between crumple and sweep. The sense of flow is reinforced by a sensuous surface patina of

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  • F. E. McWilliam

    Felix Landau Gallery

    Evidence of McWilliam’s association with the British Surrealist group in the late thirties persists in his present work in which influences of both Henry Moore and Giacometti are at times all too visible. But McWilliam is a fine craftsman and particularly adept at handling large surfaces that are filled with tantalizing forms. In fact, the surface easily dominates the total, fragmenting the effect of what otherwise has potential monumentality. This is true in Icon and Baal, both of which employ an over-all reference to the human form in a manner similar to the primitive Figure of Lipchitz. The

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  • “Dealers Choice”

    Dwan Gallery

    It is a rollicking and antic affair when all the stable gang hold their annual get-together in the pristine showroom at Dwan. An orthopedic appliance takes dead aim at a 100 franc note and the glittering love-goddess winks from the corner pretending not to notice the plight of another bunch of used dolls all tied up and easy prey for the excitable honking device with plumes. But no one need worry, really, because that clean-cut young comic strip with all those neat spots is there, too. Of course at all these fun meetings there are some social crises: the black painting is trying to pretend he

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  • Oliver Andrews

    Barnsdall Municipal Art Gallery

    Essentially, no matter what the material, these are two-sided or frontal sculptures. Frontality, according to Arnold Hauser, is an indication of ceremonial or courtly art, but in Andrews’ work we are confronted by a stareless blank. Perhaps this is exactly his intention since in the brochure to the show he is quoted as saying, “I am forging weapons with which to cut away what we know too much about so that we may have room to remember the unknowable.” The objects exhibited certainly throw the viewer back on his own reserves, since taken as a whole they indicate a lack of direction for their

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  • 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

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  • Richard Stine

    Paul Rivas Gallery

    Recent watercolors and drawings filled by bloated, venereal, addled personages acting out post-Freudian spoofs that sometimes cause a shiver of recognition in the viewer. Divine Guidance (in this case) shows a phallic demon dropping a few suggestions on the less-than-deaf ears of a good citizen about to go to bed. The odious grey-greens of this watercolor enhance its seamy content. Rows of naked (not nude) men and women drawn in cipher-style cover a page entitled Approaching Masochism. Perhaps this is a two-edged pun since the perceiver submits to a painfully poor drawing. Our environment of

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  • Alex Vilumson

    Ryder Gallery

    A hurried painterly experience is Vilumson’s keynote, where quickly brushed areas grapple and blend. Suffused shadowy pigment is clearly applied in thin palette-knife aggregates. In the best of his works, such as The White Ship, Vilumson blends the simple masses and tones of hulk, dock, and the distant horizon in an inventive variety of blue hues; the effect is pleasant. The Harbor pretends distance through full angled complementary accents from sea to sky—noticed, undigested, passed over, winked-at. Impatient surfaces with something of gusto, something of juggled form and plane, imply a Fauvian

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  • Group Show

    Feingarten Galleries

    Okamura’s scabrous landscapes go beyond the textural shenanigans of Mintz, Leong and Sonenberg; he uses accident and invention to inspire an encounter with nature. An undulating composition of trees and islets, Shadows and White Surf indicates, as the most recent painting of the artist, an inclination towards more clearly natural depictions. Because of this movement away from multiple ambiguities, a radiating hillside-shaped group of rainbow stripes has difficulties working inside the context of the present picture.

    Carl Morris in Matrix on White imbeds a cocoon of color cradled by thick splashed

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  • “Contemporary Tapestries”

    Dalzellhatfield Galleries

    These tapestries are taken from cartoons by artists Jean Goodwin Ames, Reynold Arnould, Mary Bowling, Russell Cowles, Edgar Ewing, Michael Frary, Richard Haines, Jean Lurcat, Dan Lutz and Buckley MacGurrin. (All Americans except for Lurcat and Arnould.) Having toured the U.S. for two years, they are part of an exhibition put together by Otis Art Institute in collaboration with the Dalzell-Hatfield Gallery. Made in France on the famous looms of Aubusson, they are strikingly decorative and colorful. Mr. Hatfield should be commended for getting American artists dyed in the wool preparatory to

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  • Morris Smith

    Paideia Gallery

    Microcosmic devices, bursting configurations, and explosive colorful specks seemingly flecked by a wax ingredient give an import to these synchronistic paintings. In Devoured Force, a cerulean blue field allows the emergence of blood-red blasts and veined white ridges. Strangely evocative, this seems painting for its own sake. It hints dangerously at ceaseless repetition. Having once named the work—union of illusory forces of reason and intuition—the expression should be expanded toward a more explicit spirit, a more formative document.

    S. C. Schoneberg

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  • Inaugural Group Exhibition

    Jefferson Gallery

    The Jefferson is La Jolla’s newest private gallery. It is large, well-lit, sumptuous, and, from the look of the opening show, conservative. There are six artists represented, four painters and two sculptors. Of the painters, Paul Wonner and William Brown have taken their stand with the neofigurative school and with steady hands and clear eyes fight a sort of rear-guard action against adventure. Charles Sorel’s views and scenes are presented with the relaxation of a pensioner. Ethel Greene, a romantic non-objectivist, is the best of the four. The two sculptors aren’t up to much. Neither of them

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  • Roberto Gari and Jay Robinson

    The Raymond Burr Galleries

    Roberto Gari finds his subject matter in Italy, but only superficially. His decorative style and inclination toward romantic illustration remove the painting from any immediacy of experience of time or place. His color, derived from Impressionism, is at the same time arbitrary, in an attempt to create a sensuous canvas. A moderately heavy impasto, achieved through use of the palette knife, is combined with a descriptive line that is either brushed on or scratched through. On the whole, the works meet the demands of a popular market but offer little more. The draftsmanship is not articulate enough

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  • Ruth Osgood

    Cowie Gallery

    This could, or possibly should, be called a retrospective. The paintings range from prosaic matadors, decoratively stylized animals and figures to the later more mature designs of landscapes and seascapes which have a feeling for paint and sophisticated color. They are strong and tasteful, and at their best as they break out of their sometimes too rigid designs.

    J. L. Hansen

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  • “Etchings by James McBey”

    University Of California At Santa Barbara

    The UCSB gallery is currently showing half of a group of 25 black ink etchings by Scottish artist James McBey. These works are a gift to the University by the artist’s widow, acting upon a suggestion by Miss Margaret Mallory and Mrs. Ala Story of Santa Barbara. Born in Scotland in 1883, McBey had become, by the start of World War I, one of England’s top graphic artists. He was well-known as a portraitist and artist-reporter with Allenby in the desert fighting.

    All the work in the Santa Barbara group which contains landscapes, architectural studies and war scenes are technically excellent,

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  • Rod Briggs

    Heritage Gallery

    These surfaces vibrate with elongated masklike or robot faces. They invoke such extraneous electronic means to attract interest as sounding battery devices that click, moan, warble, or chatter when the light source is broken. It is a sound gimmick that presupposes some pictorial value. These paintings are hooked to a batteried esthetic. (Shall we salt and taste the flesh of Girl of the Golden West as well as hear her titter?) A small group of fine oil paintings accompanies the publicized groaners—Nude on Couch is a highly sensitive, perfectly painterly experience needing no gimmick; the silent

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  • James Armstrong

    Gallery De Silva

    A native Santa Barbaran, Armstrong, 25, has traveled and studied extensively. This, his first show, would have been helped by stricter editing of stylistic variations. His best thinking has gone into a series of dark, sensitive, vertically attenuated oil-wash paintings containing misty fleeting image references. Sensuously pleasing and elegant is his large oil, City Image.

    James McMenamin

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  • Conway Pierson

    Raku Gallery

    If you like skillful archaizing with just a bit of “Swedish Modern” angularization, Pierson’s bronze bud vases, bulbous ceramics and gargantuan clay and bronze pot (similar to one at Syracuse) will be just your mug of mead. The sculptor-craftsman tries to simulate the majesty of antiquity in his footed tub-shaped bronze vessels which have been stamped in patterns of lozenges, asterisks and cuneiforms. He even employs the arduous “lost-wax” process. But the irregularities of ancient works or the asymmetry of Zen pottery were never pre-planned. Pierson’s artifice is showing more than his artistry,

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  • Douglass Parshall

    Santa Monica Art Gallery

    A host of wash, conte and ink drawings, watercolors, and a few oils offer the wide variety of Parshall’s talent. The washes over conte are conceived from a graphite or charcoal base and touched with ink to suggest form. The figures are transparently diffused among waterfalls and light-washed sea rocks. The effect is persuasive, a kind of languished romanticism that permeates the rocks, figures, and waves, and make them elements of transcendent purpose. Some of the watercolors are weakened by haphazard pigment notes. The oils (save for the elusive and poetic Daybreak) self-consciously accost the

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  • Sophie A. Fischer, Michael Harvey

    Gallery "333"

    Mr. Harvey offers heavy brushed images of personal maelstroms, a bull-like black blob, and other more formal quickly brushed paintings that bear a relation to material manipulation more than to graphic ideas. Sophie A. Fischer works in a prismatic “synthetic-cubism” that forces still-life or landscape objects to bend to foregone plastic conclusions. In Sparkling Music or Old Barge the works seem to be poetically serene, where crackle tends to add rather than detract from a visual pictorial personality.

    S. C. Schoneberg

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  • Mary Beich Myers

    Hale Galleries

    Little button-eyed girls in fields of posies; an homage to Renoir, perhaps, but one better rendered privately.

    Joan Hugo

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