San Francisco

Mickey Kane, Joe Mast, Sonya Rapoport, Raymond Rice

California Palace of the Legion of Honor

Three painters and a sculptor-mosaicist, all good enough, but none challenging to the existing order of Bay Area art.

Kane, much concerned with cosmics, has the largest show and the most stimulating work, with fluid shapes spiIled across or up and down the can­vas, pushing and pressing to suggest the eternal struggle between energy and matter. And just as neither of these can be destroyed, only transformed, so Kane’s shapes, negative and positive, form and reform. The edges jell to create their own line. Kane knows a thing or two about the surface tensions of paints, and uses the knowledge shrewdly. Hence his watercolors and drawings, which comprise a large part of his show come as a pleasant sur­prise. For in them manual line directs everything. They, too, are concerned with force and resistance, and the ex­plosive potential of the space within a circle. His exploratory line often sug­gests automatism, but it is the auto­matism of a very knowing hand.

Joe Mast is also an abstractionist whose inspiration is nature, but where­as Kane is more concerned with the forces of nature, Mast draws his subject matter from its material forms, botani­cal, geological and archeological.

Sonya Rapoport, an abstract expres­sionist, builds surfaces so thick that color and subject become subordinate to texture. She paints on a huge scale, and her ebullient masses are comple­mented by the heavy furniture in the little terrace gallery where her work is hung. Without this restraining environ­ment what is now a hearty baroque dis­play could be overpowering. While her paintings are belabored with textures, Miss Rapoport’s drawings are simply stated with a rapid brush. 

Rice works with cast cement, using both abstract and natural shapes, which he either encrusts with venetian tes­serae or paints with a special medium. He refers to the Aztecs in his manner of using mosaic inlay, and in some sub­ject rendering, as The Owl, and to pre-Christian art in Cave Canem, al­though his better fed, fancily housed watch dog lacks the expressive power of the simply stated dog in the famous Pompeiian mosaic from the House of the Tragic Poet. Rice’s craftsmanship is impressive. Every surface is finished, even “those hard to reach places.”

E. M. Polley