reviews

  • “Phelan Awards in Painting”

    M. H. De Young Me­morial Museum

    Because the bequest which makes this exhibition possible, and which provides the award money, provides that it be limited to native Californians only, the show gets off to a crippled start from which it cannot possibly recover. (Imagine a New York exhibition limited to native New York­ers; the image that would emerge would be, at best, a distorted shadow of what New York painting actually is like.) One must subtract not only the non-natives, but the natives who do not enter, which leaves pretty slim pickings from which the jury must fill three large rooms. The result is a show with a few good

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  • Group Show

    New Mission Gallery

    This gallery continues to pursue an ex­hibition policy of emphasizing the un­commercial work being done by young Bay Area artists. Because of this policy, the gallery has attracted a surprisingly large number of first rate talents which have been exhibited on a regular basis. The group exhibition currently being shown is no exception. The show em­phasizes sculpture, Ron Yurewitz, Rod­ger Jacobsen, Karen Devich, Robert Hudson, Ernie Palamino, John Stevens and John Bernhardt represented by fine individual examples of their work.

    Yurewitz’s wood sculpture is a depar­ture from his use of steel as a

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  • Group Show

    Berkeley Gallery

    There has existed in the Bay Area for some time a considerable group of talented painters and sculptors who, for one reason or another, have never associated themselves with the established galleries, and whose work, while well-­known to other artists and more serious collectors, appears only rarely in public exhibitions. A goodly number of these have been gathered by this new, much­-needed and extremely attractive gallery, including Mel and Karla Moss, Bruce Breckenridge, Harry Lum, Charles Gill, Robert McLean, Richard McLean, Stefan Novak and Morris Yarowsky, among others.

    A good deal of work

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  • “Some New Guys”

    New Mission Gallery

    Rodger Jacobsen, a sculptor in his early twenties, has work on view at the San Francisco Art lnstitute’s 82nd Annual, the New Mission Gallery and Dilexi Gallery. At present he is influenced by the forms so prevalent in the sculpture and painting of the instructors and students alike at the San Francisco Art Institute. His pieces, however, have a mature authority of execution that transcends his influences. 

    Joe Goode and Llyn Foulkes are both New Realists and both fit nicely into the term. Their works have nothing to do with realism or abstraction in the usual way those words are used. Be­cause

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  • 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

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  • Group Show

    Lanyon Gallery

    Four eye-stopping canvases by Keith Boyle prove that a fill-in show need not be dull. Boyle is an enormously talented artist who can turn insignificant de­signs and brassy colors into a rich pic­torial statement. He paints a hard edge, but this is not hard-edge painting be­cause the form, not its boundaries, is the predominant structural device. The edge only marks the limits within which a shape or color can act. Occasionally army insignia and emblems that re­semble civil defense signs appear in his canvases, but are divested of their sociological connections. Once they were cliches; now they

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  • Group Collage Exhibit

    San Francisco Art In­stitute

    Three of the artist members of the San Francisco Art In­stitute, Tony Delap, David Simpson and Sam Tchakalian, have chosen a selec­tion of collages from among the mem­bers of the Institute to be shown at the Institute Gallery and then to be exhibit­ed in various museums in the Western U. S.

    The exhibit divides itself into artists whose major work is principally in the collage or assemblage manner, such as Delap, Fred Martin, Robert Loberg, Joseph Romano and Daniel Shapiro. These artists have a keen sense of the possibilities of their medium probably because the questions, “What can I do?” or “

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  • Paul Wunderlich

    Achenbach Foun­dation for Graphic Arts

    In a group of color lithographs lent by the Eric Locke gallery, Wunderlich (b. Berlin, 1927) not only proves himself to be a skilled contemporary printmaker, but a pene­trating social commentator as well. Both perceptive and analytical, he is probably the first young post-Hitler artist to really get to the heart of the psychology that made the hideous atrocities of the Third Reich possible. As an impressionable youth, he saw the disintegration of German moral fibre under the exploitation of chauvinism, followed by fear, and later, remorse. The nightmarish excesses resulting from these age-old

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  • “Salon des Rejectees”

    Green Gallery

    Ellen Kernaghan, the gallery’s own­er, has issued both a five page mani­festo, in which she claims that “incom­petence, politics and corruption” in the art world went beyond the limits of tolerabiIity on the occasion of the Art lnstitute’s 82nd Annual, and an elab­orate statistical compilation apparently intended to substantiate her argument. Her complaints about the organization of the Annual and the thoroughness of the jurors, her accusations of favoritism (“based on factual evidence” which, however, remains undisclosed) should be discussed elsewhere, but the implication that her artists are

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  • “Supplement to the Annual”

    Hobbs Gallery

    The gallery owner emphasizes that this is not a group of refusées but an exhibition of Western artists, some of whom showed in the Annual and others who preferred not to enter. There are two or three works by each. Several of the paintings are as good as many in the Annual but the quality is uneven and the show as a whole is unquestion­ably inferior to the exhibition it is in­tended to supplement.

    Some of the most satisfactory paint­ings are by the veteran Louis Siegriest, whose work seems to get progressively better as the years go by and who has a painting in the Annual. His land­scapes have

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  • “Rejected by the San Francisco Annual”

    R. G. Davis studio

    This in­teresting group of three graduate stu­dents and a recent deserter from the Art Institute do not hold that they were victimized, but say that they feel their work deserves a showing. However, at least one of them, Karl Rosenberg, the non-graduate renegade, believes that there is little encouragement from es­tablished artists for beginners who want stubbornly to find their own way, with­out guidance from the experts.

    Rosenberg apparently likes to solve his problems one at a time. He is trying to learn again to draw so he draws on his paintings with unfortunate conse­quences for the paintings.

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  • Tio Giam­bruni

    Mills College Art Museum

    The basic components of Giam­bruni’s sculpture are solidly blocked-out forms with spikes or tendrils for accent and detail. He controls the volume and space in his pieces by spiraling and con­voluting their masses. Giambruni is work­ing with a biological idea that is sup­posed to be at once fearsome and shel­tering, both predator and hermit. Thus, the sharp extensions balance the inward­turning direction. The simple, rounded shapes give these small pieces bulk and presence which enhances the intended tension without altering its character. Everything in these works functions but the pieces fail

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  • Annual Designer-Craftsmen Exhibition

    Richmond Art Center

    This show is a beautifully installed selection of California crafts that maintains high standards of design yet meets commer­cial requirements. Although the quantity of work shown by each of the 106 craftsmen is restricted and the pieces are of modest size, the display retains much variety. Techniques are profes­sional throughout. Some of the potters (e. g., Peter Vardenberge) manage to emphasize the plastic properties of clay within the framework of pottery. About half the jewelry entries are department store items, but the other half are lu­minous, shapely creations. The wall hangings and

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  • 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

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  • Third Biennial Statewide Crafts Exhibition

    Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

    A limited view of the current trends in California ceramics, weaving and small metalwork, sponsored by the Sacramento Creative Arts League. The display, designed by Gene Viacrucis, so successfully competes with its raison d’etre that some of the more subtly de­signed craft items are all but lost among assorted rusted cans, porcelain door knobs and gaudy remnants of Foster and Kleiser billboards scrounged from a nearby urban redevelopment area and used as props. It is most frustrating, especially to those who scan the cata­log in vain for listings of junk items of decoration which much too closely

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  • “Visionary Architecture”

    University Gallery, U. C., Berkeley

    Buildings never raised are on photographic display here and the impact is strong, in spite of the show’s many flaws. The Museum of Modern Art in New York assembled the exhibit and rightly stress ed visual themes rather than chronology. The var­ied approaches to traditional forms (such as the tunnel, the cave, the pyra­mid, the spire, the elevated street, the labyrinth, etc.) are the keynote of the show. Thus, Leonardo’s multi-level city is placed next to that of the Futurist, Sant’ella. From Boullée (1750’s) to Ent­wistle (1940’s) the pyramid-cone, symbol of death and autocracy, has attracted

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  • Ada Garfinkle

    Co-op Gallery at the Women's City Club

    Mrs. Garfinkle uses the abstract expressionist vocabu­lary in a competent and often hand­some way without, however, adding any­thing markedly original. She states that she wants to create expressive visual experiences which involve the painting as an object, sometimes “an attitude of time, event or environment.” In keep­ing with this professed goal her work is varied in expression, sometimes lyrical as in Presence 6, sometimes intense. With its central black figure, shadowed by complex grey echoes, Event 11 should be disturbing but somehow it is not, quite. It fails to communicate be­cause Mrs.

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  • Reginald Pollack

    Gump's Gallery

    Large and small landscapes by this New York artist, better known here for his prints than his paintings. Perhaps it is because he is a printmaker that his landscapes have such close wooly tex­tures. (Although the Eastern states have a lot of brushy hills.) Anyhow, Pollack paints big skies with soft clouds, over wooded hills and pleasant little villages. And in doing so not only enjoys himself but delights his following.

    E. M. Polley

     

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  • Gene Via­crucis

    Artists' Cooperative, Sacramento

    The subdued harmony of these paintings (collages) and the taste­ful manner in which they are shown makes it hard to believe that they were done by the same heavy hand that de­signed the display of the California Crafts Biennial Exhibition at the Crock­er Art Gallery. Though far from dainty, these are more in keeping with the Via­crucis who has been steadily growing in stature in what cartographers term “Su­perior California.”

    Viacrucis uses collage and paint as one medium, building up surface and design simultaneously in paintings that incorporate such diverse materials as Chinese newsprint,

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  • Margaret Brunn, Joan Ridgeway and Burdette Morton

    Artists' Cooperative, Sacramento

    Margaret Brunn shows a group of small landscapes, cityscapes and a still-life. The landscapes are conventional but at­tractive, done in a mildly Impression­ist style with glowing color and rich paint texture. Most of them are Marin County scenes. In some of her land­scapes she thins down her paint and does line drawings over areas of broad color, thereby sacrificing her best quali­ties to quaintness. When she abandons landscape for pseudo-cubist effects in decorator colors, as in the sailboat scene, she negates everything genuine in her work.

    Burdette Morton does glazed oils and intaglio monoprints.

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  • Le­coque

    Ed Lesser Gallery

    Street scenes of Paris and Prague, competently painted, shamelessly derivative: a few are rather refreshing. Because Le­coque (b. Prague, 1891) carries on a frank, if faded, love affair with the Paris of Renoir, Valadon and Bernard. When he confines himself to painting its streets and rooftops, where architects have already control led the design, his canvases are strong, if sentimental. His debt to Utrillo is openly paraded. In still life subjects he reverts to the most mediocre type of “parlor painting.” In them he could use some help from his friend, Renoir.

    E. M. Polley

     

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  • G. H. Merritt and Roberto Kan

    Lucien Labaudt

    In most of G. H. Merritt’s paintings two or three juicy swipes of color make a central conformation over a thinner ground. The more complex paintings like Tidal Structures are stronger but although they clearly show the influence of Julius Wasserstein, Merritt’s teacher, they do not equal Wasserstein’s power.

    Roberto Kan is a young Mexican paint­er of Hindu-Mexican parentage who has had some success in his homeland. His exhibition is largely made up of land­scapes and street scenes, unsophisti­cated––Kan has had little formal train­ing––but not unskilled. He compen­sates for prosaic color and a

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  • Constantine (Cherkas), Shirley Boccaccio

    Maxwell Galleries

    Dramatic landscapes and portraits, and studies of children. Constantine (b. Russia, 1919) was trained in Moscow, Munich and Vi­enna. Thus, in his dramatic landscapes, it is easy to connect him with Expres­sionist schools, especially Viennese Ex­pressionism, and to trace his portraits to Munich. Actually, he uses these early influences as frames upon which to build with his own experiences and ob­servations, occasionally deserting them in favor of neo-Impressionism, to the detriment of his work.

    Color is everything to Constantine, and this is the Expressionist influence. He uses it interpretively

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  • Fritz Scholder, Willis Nelson, and Alden Mikkel­sen

    Barrios Gallery, Sacramento

    Two painters one of whom makes judicious use of happy accidents, one who explores techniques, and a potter of extraordinary competence. It just could be that Scholder generates the accidents which lend spontaneity to such paintings as Red Stream. His cloth-on-cloth collages and use of sym­bolism (Mesa Stripe, Life Windows) indicate that he knows exactly what he is doing.

    Nelson builds up high relief surfaces with scorched and painted styrafoam in dioramic landscapes resembling open pit iron mines––cratered, mineral, man­eroded. Emphasis is on technique more than content, even when titled Night

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  • Marlinde Von Ruhs

    Galerie de Tours

    Colorful paintings by another of the many bombed-out artists from Europe who have enriched and sometimes clut­tered our national scene. Hers is the more flexible touch of the Viennese Expressionists, disciplined with analytical abstraction, and leavened with the Im­pressionist’s happy vision. Von Ruhs is not a soul-stirring artist by any means (Carmel does not encourage this ap­proach), but with her animated surfaces and hot, glowing colors, she delights the eye. That’s it: eye appeal only.

    E. M. Polley

     

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  • Group Show

    Art Unlimited

    Second looks are best looks, according to the philosophy of this little side-street gal­lery. It recently hosted the Maiden Lane Art Festival, with enough success to warrant a continuation inside, at their Tillman Place gallery. Henrietta Berk’s “new look” figurative paintings and Tom Holland’s leathery-surfaced abstractions concerned with crosses are most no­table in this group.

    E. M. Polley

     

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  • Group Show

    Triangle Gallery

    Two new additions to the gallery’s stable are included in this exhibition. Jeryl Parker shows etchings in two distinct styles: abstract works with branching figures spread over dark groups and minutely detailed drawings of weeds in which delicacy of line obviates dryness. The other newcomer is Jack Carrigg whose interesting paintings have irregular ver­tical stripes in brilliant colors, and a speckled texture.

    Among those who have previously shown with the gallery, Mary Dyess, a graduate student at the University of California, is a figurative painter of no consistent style. Most of her paintings

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  • Ralph Du­Casse

    Bolles Gallery

    Du­Casse has assembled a group of ten re­cent paintings, nine of which are forced to carry an impossibly didactic load. Du­Casse’s thesis is that nine of the paint­ings derive from the figure and to prove his point he displays a large Cézanne­esque nude, which is number one. The remaining nine paintings are totally ab­stract works in DuCasse’s usual manner. They, as many abstract paintings do, suggest thousands of unspecific objects, animate and inanimate. The fact that DuCasse says they are based on the hu­man body is so curious as to demand further explanation. Does he mean that all the

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  • Donald Haskin

    Richmond Art Center

    Haskin operates a local foundry and ap­parently casts the pieces of many peo­ple whose approach to bronze grew out of their work in clay. His approach seems to have grown out of their ap­proach and he uses it to cast wall re­liefs, figures and busts. Haskin’s tech­nique is assured and professional, but lacks imagination. He turns the nubby texture of clay into a decorative gloss covering a traditional, long-necked bust or tiny, lumpy figure and generally fails to merge texture with form. However, he mounts these busts on small, black wood posts which tends to prevent their crushed-paper surfaces

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  • Hiroshi Yoshida

    Stanford Museum

    A large retrospective of Yoshida’s graph­ics indicates no subject was too well­worn for his woodcuts. He applies a pic­ture postcard attitude to everything from park scenes to portraits. Yoshida’s woodcuts look rather like overworked watercolors. He achieves his effects by using a large number of wood blocks and by rubbing many shades of one color from each block. The process is labor­ious, to say the least, and destroys any spontaneity that his use of airy colors could engender. The works hint that Yo­shida probably had a good eye for space and color which got lost in the tech­nique and buried

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  • David Marks

    Pantechnicon

    The nineteen-year-old painter of these small oils, mostly landscapes, is a sophomore at San Francisco State. He is unusually skillful for one so young but so far there is nothing original, nothing of personal expression in his work. He has picked up superficial aspects of a number of painters, chiefly Van Gogh, and amal­gamated them for a slick, readily ac­ceptable “look.” This young man can no doubt have commercial success but if he wants to be an artist he will have to fight his facility, throw out all those effects he repeats because they come so easily, and take the painful road to

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  • Limoses

    Grete Williams Gallery

    Paint­ings, wall-hangings and tiles by a native of Germany. The watercolors and oils, mostly flowers and landscapes, are ama­teur in every respect but because they are also completely unassuming their very lack of facility gives them a cer­tain innocent charm.

    Helen Giambruni

     

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  • Group Show

    Quay Gallery

    The exhi­bition includes a varied assortment of works including a large painting by Earl Loran which closely resembles others in his recent show at the De Young Mu­seum, an oil by Alexander Nepote that differs from his usual work in its hot color harmonies, a watercolor by Frank Ashley dealing with a standing female figure in an uncharacteristically straight­forward manner, and others including Igor Medvedev, Joe Clark and Joanne Gardiner.

    James Monte

     

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  • Group Show

    Showcase Gallery

    Two exquisite vases by Pat Scarlett are made from tall, slender clay slabs and covered with a glazed design that faintly simu­lates tree bark. They are the only out­standing articles in a gallery that shows literally hundreds of art works, most of them frightful.

    Jo­anna C. Magloff

     

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  • Frances Moyer

    Mills College Art Gallery, Oakland

    Most of the pieces in Miss Moyer’s show are spindly figures cast in bronze; two of them are partly built around ani­mal bones. They are all somewhat like Sears and Roebuck versions of Giaco­metti. There are also three wooden toys. One is a body with doors inserted into it. Another (Colonel Bogey’s Cupboard) contains heads, is painted gold and, like the former one, has a music box at­tached that plays the appropriate march. It is fun to open all the little doors and to wind the music box. The third con­struction (Alchemist’s Valise) has pamphlets in it with titles such as Witch-watching for Fun

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  • “Children’s Art”

    Belmonte Gallery, Sacramento

    A group show of watercol­ors from the children’s classes conduct­ed by the gallery, which includes a high­er than usual percentage of embryonic Matisses, Averys, Klines, and even a couple of near-Altoons. An exhibition of recent works by Irving Marcus goes up too late for review here.

    E. M. Polley

     

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  • Thomas Hunt

    de Young Museum

    Hunt has raided the iconography of early Christian mosaics in order to use the forms and symbols, and in some cases, the religious significance of the subject matter for his own purposes. One assumes the purpose is religious decoration. His mosaics miss being good copies of Byzantine art by their lack of the intensely rich decorative color used by the craftsmen of, for ex­ample, the Sant’Apollinaire in Classe, Ravenna.

    James Monte

     

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