reviews

  • Second Annual New York Artists Show

    Quay Gallery

    As a group exhibit, this show is of more than ordinary interest, primarily because it brings together a number of artists who have studied with one teacher, Hans Hofmann. The exhibit is doubly rewarding because of some very high caliber painting, drawing and sculpture which has been included. One wishes other galleries in Marin County would raise their standards to the level this gallery in Tiburon has achieved. Hofmann is represented in the exhibit by a small gouache painting and a crayon drawing, both loaned by a collector in the Bay Area. The painting is very high-keyed with a heavy black

    Read more
  • 82nd Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Institute

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    On the first page of the catalog for this show, a line is quoted from the Bylaws of the Institute as follows: the 82nd Annual of the SFAI “is to exhibit the best and most vital of the various approaches to art in the Bay Area in conjunction with the work of other parts of the country, and to provide an opportunity for unknown artists to have their work recognized.” The two words, “best” and “vital” are sure to rankle many persons, artists mostly, who are working in modes which the Institute considers un-best and un-vital. The statement is likeable, though because it says “best” and “vital”

    Read more
  • John Altoon

    De Young Museum

    Altoon shares with a number of artists on the West Coast, and particularly in the Bay Area, a curious predilection for shapes which are perhaps visually best described as grotesqueries or gargoyle-like in character. The manner in which Altoon uses these shapes is even more interesting. He and the materials he uses explode on the canvas; the explosion remains when the painting is ended, there being virtually no re-working of the surface. The picture makes it or it doesn’t make it. There is little groping—with paint—and none of the day after day pushing of paint about in order to lock the images

    Read more
  • Earl Loran

    de Young Museum

    Since 1936 Loran has been both assistant Professor and Professor of Art at the University of California at Berkeley. The enormous respect in which Loran holds Cézanne’s painting was evidenced in 1943 with the publication of the book, Cézanne’s Composition. (Loran himself recorded, with a Brownie, the vantage points where Cézanne must have planted his easel in order to paint the recurring themes of Mt. St. Victoire, the views of L’Estaque and Gardanne and the studies of rocks and trees in the forest of the Chateau Noir.) The book has enjoyed what might be called “best seller” success in that

    Read more
  • Jasper Johns

    Richmond Art Center

    Although this is a slight rephrasing of the Johns statement presented at the Everett Ellin Gallery in Los Angeles last winter and it no longer promises more than it can deliver, this show still invokes much the same reaction that Donald Factor reported in the February issue of Artforum. It is a tantalizing affair—a little like smorgasbord in that it offers more in variety than in sustenance and it leaves you hungry for more. This vague sense of dissatisfaction seems to be due less to the quality of the work than to a peculiarly local situation. It points up the fact that when a famed New York

    Read more
  • Tom Holland

    Lanyon Gallery

    When the importance of symbols first opened the arts to a new kind of consciousness, a symbol was believed to have an immediate correspondence to a physical entity. Klee first, then Gorky, Johns, Motherwell, Adolph Gottlieb, David Smith and many of the pop artists have shown that the information a symbol releases depends heavily upon the way the work of art is organized and that symbols are not universals. Information as organization is fast becoming the most important visual idea in this country.

    Holland re-shapes perceptual habits with a vengeance. He exposes the idea of landscape as a cliche

    Read more
  • Leslie Kerr

    Dilexi Gallery

    Kerr would seem to have an about-face in his painting since his last one-man exhibition at Dilexi Gallery, but indications of what he has been doing recently were seen at the continuous group exhibit at the San Francisco Museum last summer as well as the Invitational Show at the Legion of Honor earlier this year.

    Kerr is now and has been in the past a most proficient painter. His ability to perform skillfully with meticulously constructed luminous pictures was, until recently, the very subject matter of the paintings. This is to say, the surface of the painting, how it looked, matt or shiny,

    Read more
  • “Prints by Barbican Masters”

    Achenbach Foundation

    Forty-eight prints drawn from the Foundation’s permanent collections, following up the exhibition of paintings by Barbizon artists held recently at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and pointing to the natural development of the great draftsmen into fine printmakers. These artists, who spawned Impressionism, experimented with various printmaking media in studying landscape structure, its lighting, and the figures that peopled it. Charcoal and pencil brought forth black-and-white pictures worthy of wide dissemination, leading to their use of etching, lithography, and a photo-technique

    Read more
  • Frank Hamilton

    Bolles Gallery

    Hamilton came into painting by way of ceramics and sculpture, which may account for his preference for isolated shapes on a large open ground (bowls on a table). The smaller, earlier works, really stains of saturated color, lack the strength one would expect from the hand of a sculptor.

    Toughening texture without brutalizing surface, often the concern of a potter turned painter and conscious of honest use of materials, he began, in 1961, on a series of works identified by the word “Olema.” His show consists mainly of this series. It begins with Olema Blue, a cobra-shaped exploding line on a

    Read more
  • “Inmate Paintings From Vacaville”

    Art Unlimited

    Fifty-seven works from seventeen prisoners at the California Medical Facility, several of whom were professional artists before incarceration. Professionals do not always come up with top level works, in prison or out, and the Vacaville group is no exception. Much of the work here is less than mediocre, having obviously been shown for sentimental reasons only.

    Raymond King, concerned with the dark mystery of the city at night and the intriguing aspects of life therein, is by far the best in the show. He paints in somber colors, at times with deep psychological penetration, occasionally turning

    Read more
  • “Prints by Kandinsky Contemporaries”

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    A minor graphics display accompanies the Kandinsky exhibit and is intended to provide historical perspective. The roster of printmakers is distinguished (Marc, Nolde, Barlach, Campendonk, etc.). However, the lack of a first-rate work by any one of them leaves the impression that Kandinsky arose in a vacuum and opposed a stagnating art, which is untrue. This period was filled with good graphic art and it would have been nice to have seen just a little of it.

    Joanna C. Magloff

    Read more
  • Robert Branaman

    Batman Gallery

    Branaman has a romantic and bohemian image of the artist which he expresses in his work with a very genuine quality of beat up surface. He is a mutinous anti-formalist as yet unable to marry his own particular vision and ideas into a worthwhile image. Much of his painting is banal and trite, flashing back, as it does, into aspects of Pollock. In his drawings, which are totally different, he searches for a poetic symbolism, but is too often only literary. In resolutely turning his back on a formal and plastic mode of expression he ends up with expressing nothing more than his own maverick

    Read more
  • First National Invitational Ceramic Exhibition

    San Jose State College Art Gallery

    Ceramics can be more than pottery and pottery can be more than craft, but that was not the case here. Workmanship was obvious, but the deepest level of insight was reached by the faculty members who set the show against fragments of a weather-stained barn.

    Little bumps were stuck all over two vases by Robert Sperry. F. Carlton Ball covered the top of a huge stoneware jug with mouth-like discs (and titled it Fungus). These things were ornaments because they were not essential to the objects involved, but they were also the only ceramics that even hinted that their makers remotely desired to explore

    Read more
  • Alfred O’Shaughnessy

    Eric Locke Gallery

    O’Shaughnessy, a young artist, has a rare spirit. He works exclusively within the black and white medium of drawing. The very best works are close toned, saturated and dark images in which he almost moves his work out of the realm of drawing into painting.

    John Coplans

    Read more
  • Harry Leippe

    Eric Locke Gallery

    This exhibition raises an interesting point. Leippe, a sculptor, studied at the University of California at Berkeley and subsequently taught there. During this time he came into contact with Julius Schmidt, who was also teaching there as a visiting sculptor. Schmidt creates his sculpture by carving directly into the negative part of his sand molds, subsequently casting his work in iron. Schmidt’s repertoire of forms is very limited; he tends to concentrate on the process, making too much of an issue of his craftsmanship rather than of his art. Leippe, an excellent craftsman, rapidly and quickly

    Read more
  • Jerrold Davis

    Rabow Galleries

    Recent works and a change of pace by this young California artist, best known for his cool grey landscapes which combine Kline’s powerful calligraphy with Corot’s poetic mists. A number of small paintings in this vein are included. But the huge canvases that deal variously with monolithic jets of water from a calm sea, contrasting static horizontality with kinetic verticality, or equally monolithic nudes either standing in the shallows or reclining on the beach, where they become a part of the landscape rhythm, will shake Davis followers up a bit. He combines the tenderness of Modigliani with

    Read more
  • Irving Marcus, Keith Boyle, Karla Moss

    Belmonte Gallery, Sacramento

    Earthy abstractions derived from landscape by Marcus, huge figurative paintings reminiscent of David Park by Moss, and contemplative though colorful geometrized landscapes by Boyle in this new gallery, opened in an old ice house in an alley. The atmosphere is rude, rather than rustic—Sacramento’s contemporary-minded artists are struggling for life. Each artist exhibits recent drawings, which show to surprising advantage in these surroundings.

    E. M. Polley

    Read more
  • Don Bachardy

    Stanford Research Institute

    Bachardy’s work teases the question of at what point facility falls into the realm of mere craft. What saves Bachardy is his complete disinterest in problems of mainstream art: he doesn’t worry about what he does, and yet (or, perhaps, therefore), does it very well. Some artists can maintain a serious identity as artists while remaining entirely aloof from the main direction of art in their time.

    The drawings on view are likenesses of a number of people who could be called “personalities.” His portraits fulfill a certain limited need that cannot be satisfied, for example, by portrait photography.

    Read more
  • Paul August Konty, Dean Meeker

    Maxwell Galleries

    Konty, a German artist who makes expressionism palatable for home consumption, comes up with some hybrid cityscapes where a masterful use of sonorous color and rich texture is destroyed by a crackling black decorator’s line. In his portraits, penetrating character studies, his debt to Kokoschka and Soutine is an open book. Tolstoy and Face of the 20th Century are noteworthy. Meeker, a printmaker and draftsman, is technically in tune with the 20th century while esthetically conscious both of the timeless symbolism of Greek mythology and the dramatic pageantry of history. Method and subject become

    Read more
  • Craig Moore, Alex Gonzales, Ruth Rippon

    Barrios Gallery, Sacramento

    Paintings by two artists of limited exhibition experience; ceramics by an internationally known professor of art. Utah’s Craig Moore, included in the Winter Invitational at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, makes an auspicious debut here. A good painter, he reveals a nice balance between profundity, in a bird’s eye view of the Crucifixion which relegates it to earth’s problems, and humor, with a “wish you were here” spoof of the middle-aged, bikinied housewife and her loose-seamed husband on holiday. Gonzales, recently remarked by Mark Tobey for his creative approach to art, favors

    Read more
  • James Mitchell

    Mills College Art Gallery

    Eight topics, largely genre studies, are covered by this young photographer in a black and white show. His method is to include as many figures or objects as will fit within a frame and to shoot them at semi-random angles. The result is generally patchy and lacks focus. Mitchell relies heavily on emotional cliches (bohemians, blind children) and his camera adds nothing new to them. However, one series, paper cups discarded among leaves, captures a design that is pleasant, if not especially imaginative.

    Joanna C. Magloff

    Read more
  • Gregory Kondos

    Gump’s Gallery

    Clean white shorescapes by a newly introduced painter from Sacramento who, while contemporary in idiom, dares to be pleasant. And pretty. Strong, sweeping brushstrokes, colors which, although based on Monet’s incandescent complementaries, do not outbid each other, and unimpedimented space, even where cities break a skyline, create a quietude that offers a welcome interlude in group shows Kondos has heretofore supported. It could become monotonous in a large solo, and Gump’s, judiciously, has kept this show small.

    E. M. Polley

    Read more
  • John O’Conner, James McPherson

    Hollis Gallery

    O’Conner has recently received a Master’s Degree from the Davis campus of the University of California where he studied with Ralph Johnson, Wayne Thiebaud and Paul Wonner. He is at present teaching at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

    The paintings in the present show are small oil on paper presentations concerning figures in tightly furnished rooms, the furniture without the figures and a few landscape studies. The treatment used can be described as variations on Johnson and Wonner via Diebenkorn. The fact that O’Conner isstill influenced by his former teachers should not be an

    Read more
  • Robert Sperry

    Stanford University Art Gallery

    Symbols of nature (such as owls and cacti) seem to attract Sperry. He has a fine sense of design which allows him to draw out the weight of a jar or vase by encrusting its surface, or to point up the curved form of a bottle or plate with sweeping and striped designs in glaze. Given a limited format he can turn out attractive pottery that stresses its own properties. However, the fine arts objects in this exhibit suffer under the size restriction. Sperry appears somewhat trapped by the wheel, but moreso by these symbols which turn many of his explorations into cute junk (a horrible owl-vase, for

    Read more
  • Jan De Ruth

    Galerie De Tours

    The moods of Israel as seen in the faces and figures of its people. These are sensitive studies of mother-and-child, and compositions of women alone or in twos, painted with sensuous delight and glowing color. De Ruth has a remarkable ability to express his reactions to people with a few penetrating brushstrokes of thick, full bodied paint, which makes his portraits of various Israeli types the outstanding section of this exhibition.

    E. M. Polley

    Read more
  • Group Exhibition

    Original Prints Gallery

    One of the concepts of printmaking is that it can provide original works of art of a high standard at a reasonable cost and thus reach a wider ownership and enjoyment of art. At the same time, unlike paintings and sculpture the print is easily transportable. Thus a wide range of many different artists from all over the world can easily be made available. This gallery follows such a policy with fine discrimination. An important artist such as Arp is shown side by side with experimental work from Atelier 17 as well as some of the best local printmakers. Of this group, George Miyasaki’s new

    Read more
  • Michael Bowen

    City Lights Bookshop

    To date, Bowen’s total body of work has consisted of drawings, a number of them mammoth in scale and depicting sensuously rendered females, paintings, and constructed sculpture. Bowen’s paintings have been mostly abstractions related to the drawings in their voluptuousness of touch. The constructions have used as raw materials such items as store mannequins that were obsolete ten years ago, children’s toys of all types, including dolls, atomic ray guns, six-guns, masks, and party favors. Bowen’s sculpture, unlike Ed Kienholz’s work in a similar vein, is usually tied together visually by a coat

    Read more
  • Milovan Stanic

    Pomeroy Galleries

    The first one-man show in the United States of a Yugoslavian artist who has exhibited widely in Europe. The cityscapes, semi-abstracted a la School of Paris, are strictly for decoration and are acceptable here only because these are commercial galleries. Stanic’s portraits, however, have that subtle and caustic analysis one finds in the better works of van Dongen. While some smell sweetly of commissioned works, most of them are candid, if at times unflattering, and a couple come close to misanthropy. The appraising eye of the boulevardier, the full-lipped, frosted face of a doe-eyed girl, the

    Read more
  • Nan Street Fowler

    Creative Arts, Sausalito

    Miss Fowler continues to exploit the pictorial possibilities of the San Francisco Bay and its environs. Her approach to the subjects she chooses to paint is becoming increasingly lyrical and poetic.

    John Coplans

    Read more
  • Eleanor Dickinson, Kaffe Fasset

    Pantechnicon Gallery

    Dickinson exhibits a series of drawings and lithographs with a solitary painting. Her work appears to be conditioned by the idea that being a woman artist is of more significance than just being an artist. Her work is sentimental in both image and execution.

    Kaffe Fassett has had a rigorous training in the drawing methods of various old masters and is superficially able to match their “Look.” He adopts a different style from the past for landscape, architecture, etc. He is thoroughly lost when he comes to the 20th century and attempts to draw a kitchen interior, since he has no criterion from

    Read more
  • Brian Dougherty

    Green Gallery

    Dougherty joins the pop wagon with a number of poorly executed large blowups of those fanciful images on the inside of cigar-box lids. He totally misses one of the most important points of Pop Art, which is, that basically the images of the best artists in this movement have a clarity of execution that in the commercial art world is the product of very specialized and highly skilled team work. For example, Lichtenstein’s blown up images of art work are executed better and are more creative than the originals; thus the surprise on seeing one of his canvases. In Dougherty’s case the originals,

    Read more
  • Janet Lippincott

    Labaudt Gallery

    New Mexican landscape is the prime source for these almost totally abstract paintings. Miss Lippincott has shown extensively in the Southwest and, occasionally on both coasts. Her work has also been shown at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris. Her paintings are wildly uneven in quality and, while she is very knowing in the application of paint to canvas, her knowledge of composition can be described as nothing.

    John Coplans

    Read more
  • Farwell Taylor

    The Palette, Mill Valley

    Taylor uses oil paint with a nervous calligraphic gusto. The deep space of the works is usually rendered in translucent blues and greens. On top of this surface, a staccato linear involvement results in a tight abstract pattern which alludes to figures singly or in bunched groups. Taylor excels in his handling of the water color medium. His statements about figures and landscapes are strong, direct and worthy of attention.

    Read more
  • Harry Bowden

    Hobbs Gallery

    Born in California in 1907, Harry Bowden studied with Hans Hofmann at the University of California in 1931 and later was his assistant in New York. With one exception, the nostalgic European landscapes and the nudes shown in this exhibition may as well have been painted in Paris. Bowden has neither a contemporary sense of time and place, nor does he appear to have profited from his past association with Hofmann.

    John Coplans

    Read more
  • Jeanette Bedwell

    Artists Co-Op

    A competent and proficient craftsman, Jeanette Bedwell exhibits a number of land- and cityscapes vigorously painted in high key colors.

    John Coplans

    Read more