San Francisco

Gloria Brown and Robert Harvey

Harbor Gallery, Oakland

The East Bay––Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, etc.––­is growing a little tired of playing sec­ond fiddle to San Francisco. The new Oakland Museum, under Paul Mills, may very well eclipse the efforts of all three San Francisco museums. Rudy Turk, at the Richmond Museum, has shown more courage and boldness over the last year and a half than any single museum director on either side of the Bay. The recently-opened Berkeley Gal­lery threatens to become, and can easily remain, the most exciting commercial gallery in the Bay Area. In this atmosphere, the opening of the Harbor Gallery in Oakland, under the director­ship of the able and personable Mr. Lloyd Clark, becomes another item of evidence pointing to the heartening in­crease of art activity in the East Bay.

The current show exhibits two of the Bay Area artists selected for exhibition in the 1963 Corcoran Biennial. Gloria Brown has a lightness of execution that is attractive in the same way as Duty is, but her facility and her inventiveness get in her way; she often toys with too many possibilities in the same canvas. Grass with Poppies, the best painting she shows, best integrates subject, mood, color and consistency of style. It is less facile, for example, than Gold with 1, but is also more purposeful.

Robert Harvey is much more intensely concerned with his subject matter than is Mrs. Brown, and does not share her concern with the manipulation of spa­tial and linear possibilities. His mo­ment is the exact second when an un­blinking stare at a patch of nature be­gins to play tricks on the retina. Grass #2, and Further into Summer, the first a beautiful ink and gouache draw­ing, the second an oil, magnify the intensity of a patch of flowers to achieve an effect similar to Redon. But the logic of his execution points not to Redon, but to Wyeth––it is a magic realism that Harvey is moving towards and which at the same time he seems determined to avoid. He stands at the threshold of either an easy solution with a corresponding decline in his in­terest as an artist, or a genuinely im­portant breakthrough.

Philip Leider