reviews

  • “Collector’s Group of Modern Masters”

    Paul Kantor Gallery

    Alphabetically from Arp to Villon, the exhibi­tion spans this era’s visual chronology through paintings by Rouault, Dufy, Gleizes, Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, Du­buffet, Giacometti, Bacon, de Stael and de Kooning. To some, the works shown may evade the label “major” because they haven’t been reproduced in histori­cal texts. Yet quality remains the only valid basis for constructing echelons, and from that viewpoint Giacometti’s Stove of 1954 and Picasso’s 1946 goua­che Faune are sleight-of-hand produc­tions which would never justify their creators’ stature. A change in estimation might arise from

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  • “Treasures of Versailles”

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art

    The palace at Versailles grew from a small hunting lodge, a place of escape from royal duties, to become a vast pile; the offi­cial residence, the seat of the govern­ment and the center of society. The Museum presently housed in the Palace was established by King Louis Philippe in 1833. Its collections “devoted to all the glories of France” have a historical as well as an artistic interest, both re­flected in the current exhibition.*

    As well as portraits of members of the court and government of France the exhibition includes such garden sculp­ture as the figure of Eros by Jean­-Baptiste Tuby,

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  • Franz Kline

    Dwan Gallery

    This show includes 11 paintings and 7 drawings from 1950 through 1961 most of which are owned locally and many of which have never before been displayed publicly. It is a delightful show not only because it is permeated with the Kline myth but because the pictures, even the unfamiliar ones, are, like old friends, wonderful to rediscover.

    The psychological effect of the pic­tures themselves is difficult to trans­late. The shock and force that once ex­isted is now for the most part gone, and what is left are large very elegant abstractions that permeate the viewer with a nostalgia for the impact

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  • Alexander Calder

    Perls Gallery

    Every age has needed humor to ease itself across the demands of existence and each nation has a characteristic style to its mirth. Alexander Calder is an American humorist in the tradition of Twain and Thurber, but as a sculptor he has the added fillip of esthetic in­ventiveness so intrinsic to his sense for his materials that it seems as if the artist only points to something already existent. To achieve transparency for his hand’s labor is the gift of genius. The highest condition of form is inevi­tability and Calder’s mobiles paradoxi­cally have this quality within their free­dom to vary. He

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  • Pechstein, Münter, and Jawlensky

    Dalzell Hatfield Galleries

    German ex­pressionism, particularly its Fauvist-in­fluenced phases, continues to attract the contemporary art world. The period’s intense personal expression, character­ized primarily by its cacophonous colors and restless compositions, has peculiar cognitive value to many who are work­ing with the image today. The present showing of selected works by Pechstein, Münter, and Jawlensky is the first in a series of exhibitions planned at the Dal­zell Hatfield Galleries. Max Pechstein, who joined Die Brucke in 1906 after his return from Paris, retained much of the influence of the French school. Nude

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  • Hans Jean Arp

    Everett Ellin Gallery

    Hans Arp, now between seventy and eighty years old, has held his place in the front row of avant­-garde artists since 1915. This means that he is blessed with eternal youth, one of the few human beings who gains maturity and seriousness without losing the natural creative approach of his be­ginnings.

    The approximately 25 sculptures as­sembled in the Everett Ellin Gallery give a cross-section of Arp’s tremendous oeuvre in small pieces of five to twen­ty-six inches in height. There is a great deal to be said in praise of small selec­tive exhibits, such as this, both in num­ber of works and in size.

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  • “Recent Acquisitions”

    Edgardo Acosta Gallery

    This is the kind of show that really throws the viewer on his mettle. Offered here is a selection of oddments from Parisian painting of the last hun­dred years. The problem is to find the art in it. Of course this problem of judgment is greatly complicated by ir­relevant questions of renowned names, famous styles, and current fashions in taste. At these prices few can afford to buy, but no one interested in painting can afford not to look. These are a few of the things one might see: An engag­ing piece of trivia, done in a few frivo­lous lines, by a fellow named Picasso; a deceptively easy water

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  • Rico Lebrun

    Silvan Simone Gallery

    Considering “identification with the freight of flesh” the starting point for drawing, Lebrun hoists and trundles great mounds of rump and torso like a burly longshoreman pacing out a day’s pay. But there is little other than mus­cle power behind this current sampling of drawings, for Lebrun, who can create bastions for the universe from rocky bellies and mountainous thighs, dissi­pates the structural grandeur of his wash technique by superimposing anec­dotal linear elements. The two works which defy his simper of irrelevant elaboration, White Body and Maya Torso are heroically architectonic.

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  • Sidney Cordin

    Dilexi Gallery

    Both fine in craftsmanship and refreshing in imagery, the sculpture of Sidney Gordin is indicative of the vitality that is still a part of our contemporary expression, threatened as it is with fad and fashion. Frankly two-dimensional and without objective reference, the free­standing pieces successively remind one of the Dancers from Angkor Vat, of Scythian and Sarmartian animal forms, of heavy globs of algae floating in stag­nant pools, of ancient sailing vessels and of Balinese shadow puppets. Most exciting are the hammered and welded bronzes in which organic nodules of flattened metal grow

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  • Max Bailey

    Pasadena Art Museum

    Simplified forms evocative of the sea and shore are the ingredients of the recent paintings of this artist who was born in Alaska and reared in Nova Sco­tia. Bailey’s style uses much of the neu­tral shape and surface of the hard-edge painters but at times the restraint will loosen certain areas to gain an infer­ence of nature or will depart from the plane to hint of volume as a dramatic note in the inherent flatness of the pic­ture. Fundy Rock III presents an im­mutable central form, a hard, flatly-painted black shape, and the softened forms around it convey the movements of waves. By using soft

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  • “The Object Maker”

    Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut

    Collected from south­ern California studios and galleries, this group of over 40 objects makes a re­spectable show, being as it is quite elegantly installed by yards of space. The hit of the show is a magnificent machine Akinomatic Gear Assembly by Lawrence A. Wahlstom, an amateur gadgeteer who has patiently assembled hundreds of gears, cogs, axles and oth­er parts, producing a machine that makes a very complex and enchanting business out of doing absolutely noth­ing but run. Somehow this craftsmanly earnestness mocks the absurdity of the machine age in a more penetrating way than the gag objects

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  • John Mason

    Ferus Gallery

    Recent works by John Mason show the artist moving from the columnar sculptures with which he has been identified to a radically different and severely formal style. Mason has been concerned simul­taneously with inventions in both the Cross Form and the column or Ver­tical Sculpture. Particularly within the untitled vertical pieces there has been considerable variation: there are the totem-like structures; there are those that twist on their axes; there is the introduction of frontality; there are great rough units that are almost or­ganic in nature; there are even vaguely geometric shapes. In

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  • William Hesthal

    Esther Bear Gal­lery, Santa Barbara

    William Hesthal, a respected member of the Santa Bar­bara group of working artists, reports on his recent progress with an im­pressive body of work. There are 20 oils and about 50 works in other media, drawings, gouaches and mixed.

    In general the work shows a gentle growth and enriching of a style which was essentially formed by 1960. His mode is abstract-expressionist, but kept from academism by undertones of the most somber human considerations, treated as allusions, always vague. Con­fetti of gaudy scripture whips and drib­bles, establishing a temporary eye­ carnival. Then, as if to cancel

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  • Robert Bosworth

    Ankrum

    Large, transparent watercolors that evoke an overall tranquility are the work of this Northwest architect-painter who has found his way toward the Orient through his admiration for Morris Graves. Tech­nically the works are akin to those fun experiments in which the paint, freely used, is allowed to find its own way but these are far removed from the juicy, happy accident approach to the medium. The colors, muted and thin, are unified by a very close value rela­tionship. The finished works are rubbed by hand to produce a silky finish and are framed meticulously, often in a panel series. The

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  • Fritz Faiss

    Desert Museum, Palm Springs

    The Upstairs Gallery of the museum has assembled an impressive retrospective by this German-born artist. Although there are numerous chrono­logical gaps because of Nazi confisca­tion and war-time bombing, it is imme­diately apparent that Faiss has worked deeply into, and searchingly explored, the life, dreams, and beliefs of man. The results, remarkably varied, range from Biblical illustration, to rhythmic abstractions, to German Expressionist-­like landscapes. During the years of Nazi Germany, Faiss defied the authori­ties to produce the series “The Life of Christ.” The surviving works, here

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  • Group Show

    David Stuart Gallery

    The group show of a dozen artists pro­vides an excellent coverage of some very good painting being done today. New to the Los Angeles area is the work of James Suzuki, now teaching at the University of California at Berkeley. His Marco Polo’s Dream and his Shattuck and Woolsey are forceful statements in strong color that combine elements of strict control with areas of rapid action painting. Ohno, from Kyo­to, achieves an unusually sensitive ex­pression with a large burlap form on a delicate grey ground. Compatible in mood is the understatement of the Australian Frank Hodgkinson. Really exciting

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  • “Californians Collect Californians”

    Westside Jewish Community Center

    The perennial problem facing the “non-professional” collector, i.e., the collector who is moved more by personal pleasure than by considera­tions of reputation, historical curiosity or wise investment, is that he feels obliged to “live with” the things he collects rather than simply store them conveniently. Paintings collected with these problems in mind tend toward an “Intimism” which is understandable; thus the paintings assembled here re­flect a certain caution on the part of the owners. Few, if any, could be con­sidered disquieting confrontations. Rather than confront, the paintings here

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  • Michael Seuphor

    Esther Robles Gallery

    Little of the formidable talents that make Seuphor a significant critic and poet-philosopher seem to come through in his drawings and collages. He is tasteful and unerring in his control of the linear strata that is the basis of most of the drawings and in such small works as Commencement a genuine excitement is created when the varying horizontals are displaced along the rising diagonal. But when he increases his scope with the inclusion of color or by expanding scale, his inventive capacities seem to wear thin. As an idea the series of related framed panels are a promising extension of an

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  • Elliott Elgart

    Ceeje Gallery

    Elliott Elgart chooses to paint the world of do­mestic activity that surrounds him: Sarah in Sunlight, Woman Ironing, Woman With Ham Sandwich, Seated Man, Interior With Two Figures. They are large canvases for the most part, most often conceived with a quick brushing. The tonality tends to be low except where sunlight breaks into a darkened interior or where areas of bold color arbitrarily maintain themselves, countering all illusion of depth that is implied in the linear perspec­tives. Throughout the several canvases there are many passages of good painting, of form articulated with a mini­mum

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  • Group Show

    Ryder

    A mixed show featuring smaller works that combines gallery artists with graphic works by Picasso, Lautrec, Kandinsky, Gauguin, Marini and others. Interesting among the supporting cast are the rather over­powering technical displays in an em­bossed color print by Silva, La Ley des Mas Fuentes’, Erna Bowman’s seri­graph The Earth is Burning, a strong thing but a little too stylish to be a good old-fashioned world-ender, a small but tactiley explosive Lee Hill, and the always fresh ceramic sculptures of Vallien.

    ––Doug Mc­Clellan

     

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  • William Brown

    Felix Landau

    This figurative painter has fielded an exhibi­tion of consistently good paintings that show his innate sense of the pictorial. Brown finds much relevance in the vision of the early part of the century and makes a use of the Intimist view of the world and the Fauve’s sense of independent color that seems genuinely contemporary. Within the show there are two approaches, that of Brown-small and that of Brown-magnified. In the smaller works the composition is tight with an interlocking of object and space into bite-sized shapes. Only in the larger paintings can the idea of a “back­ground” be sensed.

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  • “Old Master Drawings”

    Art Gallery of the University of California, Santa Bar­bara

    A selection of European drawings of the 16th through the 19th centuries on loan from the collections of R. M. Light and Company of Boston and Scottsdale and the Helene C. Seiferheld Gallery, Inc., of New York. The 31 works shown demonstrate a wide variety of media ranging from the detailed pen and bistre Study Sheet of Trees by the 17th century Italian, Donato Creti, to the mottled wash drawing of In­terior With Brawling Peasants from the hand of Lambert Doomer (Flemish, 1622–1700). Certainly, many of the drawings were intended simply as observation notes, as in the 16th century Italian Jacopo

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  • Group Show

    Cowie Wilshire Galleries

    The list of artists shown is a lengthy one of persons well known to southern California: Rex Brandt, Paul Clemens, Phil Dike, George Gibson, Leonard Kes­ter, Emil Kosa, Jr., Maurice Logan, Roy Mason, Barse Miller, Douglass Parshall and Millard Sheets. Some of the most admirable painting is to be found in the work of Paul Clemens, one of the few capable portrait painters of this era. Eleanor in the Garden is a study of Mrs. Clemens. The sensitively-handled portrait is in straightforward, realistic terms without strain for effect. Although the canvas otherwise reflects the impressionism of a Renoir

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  • Charles Farr and John DeWitt Clark

    Jefferson Gallery, La Jolla

    John Clark certainly has learned to play a lot of materials, gets a tune from each, music from one or two. His frightened han­dling of raw stone leaves all formal possibility locked in, repeats the con­ventional gestures of the chisel. Wood holds him pretty close to first also, al­though one piece, Labyrinthine Way, has roots in space, wants to grow, and does. Two little aluminum castings, Figura and Bultos, really dance their small worlds lifeward. One piece in the show is outstanding: White Relief, an area of sand cast stone, writhing, awk­ward, excitingly in charge of the space Clark wants

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  • Lewin Bassingthwaighte

    Lane Gal­leries

    With such a unique surname to play “barker,” it seems a pity that once inside Bassingthwaighte’s tent all curi­osity wilts. His act consists of expres­sionless little doll-girls who lie down and stand up, sit at tea or draw, leaving real crayon marks on backdrops that are flatter (though not duller) than themselves. By having the deadpan darl­ings face one another as if reflected in a mirror, the wily Englishman solves all compositional problems. In the ab­sence of color, he resourcefully employs tonal washes of Sucaryl.

    ––Rosalind G. Wholden

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  • George Herms

    Aura

    What is there about a Victorian postcard of two silly women looking beautiful? Is it a gas? Is it proper to look in private shrines containing private jokes and relics and funky memorabilia? If so, is it proper to do so in Pasadena? Does lettering on things make it undemocratic because it excludes non-readers? Does it mean you have a dirty mind if you think the things in an art show might be dirty? Is “melt­ed plastic bottle” a durable art mate­rial? Pure?

    ––Doug Mc­Clellan

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  • Sydney Helfman

    Gallery Arles

    Ad­miring Gauguin and Picasso. Helfman has been equally as superficial in understanding them as in observing nature. The resultant paintings have faces that divide into halves of pasty pink and bilious chartreuse with the brush strokes going from “abandon” at the center of the patches to a quiet dabble at the edges. Gauguin’s egomania filled his self-portraits with grandiose mys­tery; Helfman’s are self-consciously pretty, their romantic narcissism be­longing to the watch-me-caress-myself school of TV commercials. He aspires to eloquence in depicting the nude but his drawings retreat amateurishly

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  • Alexander Nepote

    Kramer Gallery

    Half of this exhibit consists of painted­-over collages, the other half are water­colors which simulate painted-over col­lages. The actual collages are often dramatic but weak in form and lacking in the element of essential balance. Be­cause of their imitative quality the watercolors are thin and static. One striking piece, titled Together on White Cliff, illustrates a subtle tech­nique: torn paper bits are glued to a background, then painted to heighten their relationship. In this work the central image is a colored, whirling body placed against a black backdrop be­neath which are a series of

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  • David Porter

    Raymond Burr Galler­ies

    These personable collages, so suit­able for any modern interior, were pro­duced by combining remnants from the advertising world beneath brilliant oil glazes. Newspapers, placards, photos, half-tone screens, hunks of typography, (preferably European) form the back­bone of stylish debris upon which Por­ter hangs his signature. A skilled de­signer with a flair for playing contrasts of matte and glossy finishes across bold shapes, his handsomest works Di Roma and Reverting to the Classic are dramatic red and black emblems. But like a good shoeshine, Porter’s pol­ish is strictly temporary.

    ––Rosalind

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  • Norman Weiner

    Hale Galleries

    Com­petent, sometimes lively drawings and glassy paintings record Mr. Weiner’s recent trip to Europe and the Mediter­ranean. The paintings are curious, like enamels or varnished collages, and one feels he would be more at home solv­ing design problems. As for the draw­ings, they are in the current style of illustrated articles about trips to far-off places; they are the sort of thing which swelled the notebooks and diaries of well-educated travellers in the days be­fore the camera. Now that most people take pictures, it is refreshing to find someone who will make them––but they remain part of

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  • Robert Moesle

    Gallery De Silva, Santa Barbara

    This is the first Santa Barbara one-man showing of paintings and drawings by Robert Moesle. Oils predominate, medium to small. Moesle has spent some time in art studies in England. The dominant feeling, which combines elegant drafting with spooky subject matter, suggests a gleaning from Bacon. The larger canvases are not well sustained but a satisfactory balance of drawing, metaphysical sub­ject and paint-mystique appear in sev­eral of the small works, especially Mask of the Hypocrite.

    ––James McMenamin

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  • “3 Perspectives”

    Paideia Gallery

    Two painters and a sculptor make a triple, female presentation in this show. The painters are Betty Barsha and Marsha Rich, the sculptor is Salli Hilborn. The most accomplished of the group is Miss Rich whose painting, Red Still Life has well controlled elements of form and color handled in the manner of an early Braque. Other canvases by this artist are not so impressive. Molded fiberglass is the medium of Miss Hil­born’s sculpture. When painted, it has the appearance of bronze (though it would be interesting to know what the native appearance of this new material is). The best effort of this

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  • Taki

    Galerie de Ville

    Metal mannikins in ever so graceful poses throw their hips out of whack in homage to Praxite­les (by way of Vogue Magazine). Under­standably, the sculptress has completed commissions for the Helena Rubenstein and Schiaparelli Cosmetics buildings. Docilely obeying the ideal proportions in the Age of Slenderella, Taki’s figures are at least ten heads high and employ a narrow oval as the module for every shape. So successfully streamlined are these creatures that were it not for the hair styles it would be impossible to tell the boy figures from the girl ones. The metal itself has been playfully

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  • Nicolai Fechin

    Barnsdall Municipal Galleries

    It is becoming increasingly difficult to evaluate the work of some­one like Fechin, who worked with ap­parent disregard for the developments in art during his lifetime and seemed to pursue an already predictable direction. To dismiss the work as academic is really not fair, since academic refers only to the conservatism of a previous generation and may be superseded by new academicisms in time. Yet, for a man who was a contemporary of Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keefe, John Marin (to name some of the Americans with whom he was in contact during his years in Taos) and of Picasso and Ben­nard, to

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  • Frank Sardisco

    Heritage

    The rich­ness and glow of heavy glazes over elab­orate underpainting are the language of this younger painter. Fresh from a one­-man show at the Pasadena Art Museum, Sardisco expands his material to in­clude many smaller works which add to the sense of range within the style he has chosen. Typical would be Re­flections, a near-monochrome of deep red activated by textural variations that become soft shapes. The value range is close, almost monotonous, so that texture and color subtleties can smolder effectively. But as long as the sense of value and shape must be subordinate to the textural

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  • “Photography in the Fine Arts III”

    Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park

    This exhibit, consist­ing of 140 works from 122 amateur and professional photographers, is the third of a series sponsored by the Metropoli­tan Museum of Art, and the magazine Saturday Review. It is a worthwhile experience for anyone concerned with the visual component of experience; as the title suggests, here is photographic art, not the superficial products of those who make pictures as a diversion or those who would have technically per­fect images at the press of a button.

    Although not quite the private pro­vince of photography, the remarkably diversified portrait work presented testi­fies

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  • Karl Ragnar Johannesson (1900–1962)

    Ernest Raboff Gallery

    The man of solitude acknowledges the reality of all things as they come because he accedes to their “otherness” from himself. A miller who spent his entire life in Dhasland, Western Sweden, Karl Rag­nar Johannesson was such a man. He knew and painted the autonomy of a chair or stove just as he understood the cold impenetrable landscape that be­sieged him, giving each the majesty in­hering in apartness. Painting enabled him to metamorphose his life’s vigil with Northern Europe’s dark realities so that other men as well as he could see, in tangible form, the spirit’s silent jour­ney across time

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  • C. H. Hertel and Susan Lautman Hertel

    Comara Gallery

    In his recent paintings, C. H. Hertel turns to ancient China for his direct inspiration. The circles he explains are primarily man­dalas, cosmic diagrams; the hexagrams come from the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Divination of the Chou Dyn­n­asty. Outwardly, the relation is evident and goes even further in such pieces as Yu #2 where the general form is reminiscent of that of the ceremonial vessel. There is even a metallic patina quality to the paint and a reference to incised pattern from the use of both plastic wood and glue. How essentially Eastern the ideograms are differs wide­ly. As paintings

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  • Robert Mullen

    Paul Rivas Gallery

    Robert Mullen seems undecided about two basic sculptural possibilities––­whether to “occupy” or “enclose” space. The polished wooden sculptures tend toward the static monumentality of dol­men and occupy space as highly defined closed forms in spatial relationship with each other. The other sculpture encloses capsules of space more organically; shapes spring from a central core like spiral leaf-growth patterns or coral outcroppings, with much more emphasis on textural effect.

    While no sculptor is under any obli­gation to repeat himself (quite the con­trary) one feels that indecision leads to

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