Arizona

Arizona

Various Venues

A conservative season, sparked by a handful of provocative shows, draws to a close in Arizona. There have been several major one-man shows, from Tuc­son’s Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hop­per and Andrew Wyeth retrospectives to the Peter Hurd show in Phoenix. The most extravagantly modern show this year comes at the season’s end with the Antoni Tapies installation in the Phoe­nix Art Museum.

The Fifth Arizona Annual at the Phoe­nix museum was uneven in quality, though its highlights provided some of the best work by Arizona artists this year. Outstanding was Ben Goo’s un­titled marble, subtle in its manipulation of smooth and textured surfaces in three-dimensional calligraphy, and its sensitivity to pure form. In painting, Len Johanson brings rough urgency to a large, richly dark abstraction, Series Two. Arthur Jacobson changes from the eloquent understatement of his etching, Folk Singer, to the fast action of abstract patterns in Image 8.

At the Phoenix Museum Phil Curtis had his first show in over three years. The romantic surrealism of his weight­less figures recalls Magritte, and his brilliant paint surface and precise draw­ing fit his psychological symbols. Even in a crowded group his figures live in isolation with introspective unconcern for their environment. The scream of parting, as a child waves “Farewell” from a train, leaves her family only gently moved. The viewer’s sudden real­ization that the child and train are only stage props makes the pathos more urgent.

Galaxy Gallery in Phoenix joined with Chicago’s Findlay gallery to provide the season’s best show of French painting. Best were the soft brilliance of Utrillo’s nearly white period in Place a Mont­magny, the quick liveliness of Sisley’s Moret le Matin, the glimpse of an orchard of pure colored light in Pis­sarro’s Le Noyer, and Kees Van Don­gen’s fauve flair in Tulipes.

Harry Lachman and Grigory Gluck­mann brought varied visual appeals in their shows at O’Brien’s Art Emporium, Scottsdale. Lachman continues the fresh color and technique of the Im­pressionists in paintings of France, while Gluckmann has a more sensual appeal and often a high finish which sometimes distracts from his celebra­tion of the female figure.

Goya’s Disparates at R. M. Light, Scottsdale and Leonard Baskin’s prints at Arizona State University, Tempe, cli­max the new interest in prints this sea­son. The excellent impressions of Goya’s prints show his unleashing of expressive fury, as in Matramonial. He is aware of human guiIt and brings a rare insight into human emotions in Carnabal or La Lealtad.

Baskin is impressive in his sculptor’s understanding of form expressed in giant woodcuts. The aspirations of Man of Peace or the eloquent group guilt of Hanged Man show his inclusive range. There is an indirect salute to Goya in Torment, a woodcut with the ferocity of Goya’s style and symbolism restated in Baskin’s terms. 

Marlan Miller