reviews

  • Jack Stuck

    Comara Gallery

    An old vaudeville joke goes something like this––Pat: “My cousin crossed a parrot with a black panther.” Mike: “What did he get?” Pat: “I don’t know what it is but when it talks you’d better listen!” The art scene is filled with many such mutant forms that combine unlikely levels of image which for the time can­not be explained away in conventional terms and can therefore hope to be listened to. In his recent forays beyond the esthetic peapatch, Jack Stuck has combined washroom graffiti and box-top puzzles with the compositional format of a Renaissance master to explore the disenchantment of

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  • Larry Rivers

    Dwan Gallery

    Rivers’ work has been described as a link be­tween pure abstract expressionism and traditional techniques which is desir­able or damnable, depending upon which critic is judging. Thus he is seen as an esthetic gymnast balancing De Kooning and Kline on the one hand and Ingres on the other. He does not belong here. Rather he belongs with his teacher Hans Hofmann and the French Fauves.

    Consider for a moment Hofmann’s easy expressionism which is generally up­beat, rarely deals with unpleasant themes, uses still life elements to de­fine positive-negative and sets up spa­tial movement rather than relate

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  • Balcomb Greene

    Feingarten Gal­leries

    The viewer who steps into a room lined with Balcomb Greene’s quavering images experiences an initial start; it is as if his entry frightened a covey of pigeons into fluttering for safety. Adapt­ing to the shuttling paint-patches which comprise Greene’s manner, the perceiver recognizes a world fragmented by a cold white light which dissolves form rather than articulating it. Volumes become silhouettes or disperse into contingent refractions under the flashy glare which floods the pictures. Greene uses this flickering as a vehicle for unifying fig­ures with environments, but in obliterat­ing

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  • Leonard Baskin

    Sabersky Gallery

    In the “Famous Artists Series” a new subject matter seems to have liber­ated Baskin from the compositional cliches and Perils-of-Pauline psychol­ogy which marred some of his previous graphics. Abandoning the characteris­tically flayed figures and monstrous beings which had become Baskinisms, the portraits reveal skills which span almost all of Wolfflin’s famous polari­ties of form. Baskin, aware of the rich tonal variations possible with lithog­raphy’s greasy line, chose to epitomize the aged Rodin’s profile by emphasiz­ing the indomitable geometry of the sculptor’s aquiline nose, in contrast

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  • “Matta from 1940–1962”

    Frank Perls Gallery

    The title of this show is some­what misleading as the show consists primarily of recent aquatints (from 1961–1962). However, with these aquat­ints Matta slips in next to Paul Klee and Joan Miró as an inhabitant of that deadly serious man-child world of sym­bols, space and imagination. He uses Klee’s and Miró’s alive wash space for his lines to float and build upon, but his space is more tonally varied. To quote Matta’s pinpointing pun, they are Conscience-Fiction pieces.

    The seven oil paintings, five from 1940, one from 1950 and one from 1960, are enough to show the evolution and takeover by

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  • Arnold Belkin

    Zora’s Gallery

    This is the first U.S. one-man show of the thirty-three year old, Canadian-born ar­tist who has studied and worked in Mexico since 1948. Actively involved as founder of the Mexican figurative move­ment “Nueva Presencia” (a crystalliza­tion of Rodman’s Insiders), Belkin has reflected his didactic, narrative “human condition” orientation in numerous ex­hibitions, theatrical settings, and civic murals (where else could one paint “We Are All Guilty” in a federal peniten­tiary?). This fourth-generation product of Mexican revolutionary painting has literally stripped the provincialism of the fresco

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  • Roy Lichtenstein

    Ferus Gallery

    “Why Brad darling, this painting is a masterpiece! My, soon you’ll have all of New York clamoring for your work.” There is a superb irony in this sentiment when mouthed by the pretty girl to the vapid Troy Donahue type standing next to her in the painting Masterpiece. Any “in” person can chuckle at the “in­ness” of the convolutions of meaning, but as paintings Masterpiece and its companions scarcely exist. They are tokens like the decay-proof smile on the family that used Crest, or like the ecstasy of the girl who has found un­derarm safety. As paintings they are important simply because somebody

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  • Shirley Young Pettibone

    Aura Gallery

    Three-dimensional organic forms fashioned from plastic and a variety of materials dominate the ex­hibition of recent works by Shirley Young Pettibone. Not meant to be lit­eral, the references to reproductive organs are, in some instances, neverthe­less, too direct, and the material too crudely fashioned, to avoid a marked degree of sensationalism which destroys their potential uniqueness. Without refinement, the effectiveness of the image as a symbol of generative powers is re­duced to a common statement, at times slightly humorous. However, the capa­city of the artist to achieve a poetic imagery

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  • Helen Lundeberg

    Long Beach Art Museum, Long Beach

    “Every­thing points to the conclusion that the phrase ‘the language of art’ is more than a loose metaphor” (Goldscheider). Accepting this premise Miss Lundeberg speaks a language that is at once subtle and understandable. She has refined and honed down the surrealism which was present in her earlier pictures (i.e., the pictures of mirrors, fruit, lightbulbs of about 10 years ago). Her edges are clean, unblurred and her color covers large areas with great evenness, show­ing no brushstroke. Every once in a while she seems to use masking tape to block off different tones. She uses no gradations of

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  • Gerd Koch

    Esther Robles Gallery

    “Pushing and pulling” in the manner of Hofmann and Mother Nature, Koch’s tangling surfaces seem to be tangible apparitions of the energy underlying existence. His dancing impastoes shuf­fle pigment into grasses covering the tenacious face of the unknown. Win­ter’s Straw stirs up layers of yellow greys and ceruleans to flutter in sepa­rate sections across open areas. Using abundantly earthen colors the artist usually provides the relief of a flat wash or peep of canvas at the climac­tic moment before the paintings become too gummy. Sometimes his cursive strokes saraband into loops, in other

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  • “Decorative Arts of the 18th Century from California Collections”

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara

    The often expressed desire to experi­ence the work of art within its own specific historic context is here realized in the fragmentary reconstruction of a series of individual 18th century interior spaces. Within the 9 stage-like settings are rooms representative of Italy, of France (Louis XIV, Louis XV, and the Classical Revival), England (Queen Anne and late 18th century) and one example from late 18th century America. It is particularly rewarding to see paintings by such figures as Van Dyck, Van de Velde, Constable and Gainsborough related to furniture and other decorative objects of their

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  • The 18th Annual Art Exhibit

    Newport Beach

    The Newport Ex­hibit this year was muddled, but from the popular point of view, this confusion was aggravating and mysterious. Visitors stood like vacant Giacomettis in the large gymnasium while noted experts defended the jury’s choices in Frederick Hammersley and Keith Crown. The show consisted of sixty-nine paintings select­ed from a field of over five hundred entries.

    From the sixty-nine chosen, there was a fair sampling of some sound painting approaches. American Series #1, a fine painting that showed the artist’s ability to dissect and reassemble sym­bols in a favorable way, was Tenold

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  • Ruth Rossman

    Heritage Gallery

    These paintings are genealogically lo­cated midway between two prominent West Coast tendencies: the form anal­yses of local academism, and the anony­mous genre of San Francisco. Happily though, this is not a recipe, for Ross­man may have enough fresh merit to stand alone, if she can disentangle her­self from the trap of contemporary figur­ative mannerism. Her models are caught in awkwardly poised moments of activ­ity, resting violently across perspectival benches and chairs, leaning emphati­cally on cross-membered balustrades, or frozen on the tilting spines of ladders. These scenes, with their

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  • Dean Spille

    Ryder Gallery

    We find ourselves in a free-floating world of pro­tected, windowed interiors and enclosed gardens rigidly stabilized by the repe­tition of a formula. With the deadening regularity of an equal-spaced grid, the exact square format is divided into peachy portions: one-third architectur­al framework, one-third neutral surface, and the remainder, contrived passages of comma-like floral abundance used as jazzy filler. Depersonalized refugees from Bay Area painting are slipped quietly into a corner of this sweet pastel never-never land of two-dimensional design.

    The works are pleasant––in an irritating

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  • “The Stieglitz Circle”

    Fine Arts Pa­trons, Pavilion Gallery, Balboa

    Exhibition chairmen, Mrs. Robert Barnes and Mrs. Dottie Ahmanson, brought this circulating show from New York and supplemented it with loans from Cali­fornia collections. (It was originally or­ganized by the Museum of Modern Art in N.Y.)

    More than anyone else, Alfred Stieglitz (born in Hoboken, 1864; died in N.Y., 1946) gathered around him, encouraged, exhibited, wrote, lectured and lived the best in art, and stands at the helm of America’s entry into the artistic avant­garde. Or, looking at it from another viewpoint, he is one of those rare men at the beginning of this century who, through

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  • Jack Youngerman

    Everett Ellin Gal­lery

    Large and airy oils that depend much on size for their impact are the dominant species in this showing of non-figurative oils. The giant torn shapes within the paintings are often weightless in color and their edges have an openness that allows an interplay between object and ground. This object-­ground relationship is exceedingly in­volved in the heavier forms of Daho­mey. The red, the black, and the white each have their turn at emerging. In Cumberland, a plunging green splits the dominant blue that in turn resists by swallowing up the green. Youngerman keeps his limited cast of charac­ters

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  • Thomas Moran

    University of California, Riverside

    It is difficult for a viewer attuned to contemporary art to clarify his eye enough to see Thomas Moran’s (1837–1926) work. Superficially, they be­long on a plush dude ranch or on the set of a motion picture about some cat­tle baron. Even after closer examination, many are so steeped in the spirit of the spurious and excessive sensibility of the Victorian Age that it is nearly impossible to observe them objectively. But Moran was more than an illustrator, as even The Last Arrow and Spirit of the Indian show, if looked at carefully, and in the works where the artist at­tempts to convey his feelings

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  • Miguel Marina

    Esther Bear Gallery

    Miguel Marina was born in Bilbao, Spain, Basque country. His paintings and drawings are strong personal reflec­tions on his life. Marina fought in the Spanish Civil War, a deeply painful experience for him. The trauma and agony of that conflict is seen in his work. He is also a deeply religious man who brings to his pictorial statements an emotional fervor related to his religious beliefs. His present works are triptychs on wood, heavy wooden blocks painted on four sides as altar pieces, wooden boards of assorted shapes and sizes and wooden panels. These are all variations on Christian themes.

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  • Harold Spencer

    Occidental College

    The works of Harold Spencer evoke a variety of moods. Throughout the various themes presented, there is a pervading sense of the artist’s awareness of the essential residues of feeling that are in­herent in the wealth of material from which he draws inspiration. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, is parti­cularly effective. The dark and light rhythms of only partially realized ab­stract forms invite poetic reflection. In Abendkrieg the mood is strident; Un­to The Hills is psalmodic. When the vein of meaning is less specific, Spen­cer turns to musical terms: Cantabile, Toccata in Red, Etude

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  • Oliver Andrews

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara

    This sculpture well illus­trates the classic repose and control which exists today, even within the confines of what we normally pigeon-hole as “junk sculpture.” Andrews rummages through the local junk pile of bolts, nuts, and sundry metal parts and then proceeds to compound them into an intensely unified statement––a statement which intriguingly forces us to lose sight of the sources of the individual parts. The general impression conveyed is that of sparse elegance which concentrates almost the whole of its atten­tion on the esthetic problem of form to the exclusion of an avowed social comment

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  • Gal­lery Group

    Silvan Simone Gal­lery

    Tidy, portable intimacy appears to be what unifies a slick, wide-ranging selection of faintly fashionable foreign­ers and Americans, where at least a few are bound to arouse curiosity and whet the visual appetite. The weirdly com­pulsive linear pages of Eusebio Sempere put the Spaniard in the surrealist micro­cosm of Max Ernst, and Felice Canon­ico’s dry brushed, canvas-covered bas­-reliefs owe their origination to Burri but still manage to stand out. Don la Viere Turner, Maria Luisa Segnoret, and John Coleman are refining tiny but vividly ex­pressed personal visions of reality. The sculptor,

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  • Douglas McClellan

    Scripps Col­lege

    This exhibition is an extensive (63 works) review of Douglas McClellan’s work done during the years 1956 through 1963. The media include oils, casein and ink, and wood constructions. The earlier pieces, ranging from 1956 through 1959 and including The Quarry (1955), Hes­peria (1957) and Fissionable Object (1959) are finished and attractive state­ments, using natural forms as a starting point and utilizing keen senses of color and two dimensional design. There is a middle period which includes the wood constructions, none of which impressed me, and a much fragmented approach to depicting a subject.

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  • “East-West Exhibition”

    Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena

    The joint exhibitions of the Pasadena Society of Artists and the Mishima Society of Artists with simul­taneous openings in Japan and at the Pasadena Art Museum were planned by the Pacificulture Foundation. Unfortu­nately the watercolors and prints exhib­ited by the Mishima Society in no way represent the contemporary creative out­put of Japan. For the most part, old traditions are followed but without any of the sensitivity or feeling that was once a part of those traditions. There is some charm to the images of Shin Segawa, and considerable technical dex­terity in the etchings by Shingo Seri­zawa.

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  • Gallery Selections

    Paul Kantor Gallery

    In scale and importance this exhibition is directed toward the gilt­edge, philatelic type of collector who ought to have “one of each” in his repre­sentative holdings. A few rare speci­mens: a tiny, vibrant, mint Pollock, a Gorky at his grey, most Matta-like, a Kline studio study in a slightly cancel­led condition, and an outstanding Arp, a special edition honoring “Heavenly Objects,” are to be seen.

    Larger commemorative size offerings include Raymond Parker’s re-“Inven­tion” of Cubism (1950), which somewhat confirms suspicions that there is little behind his current series but a nice idea. And

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  • Arnold Schifrin and Harvey Young

    Marymount College, Palos Ver­des Estates

    Sometimes the choice of ancestors made by painters is particu­larly evident in their drawings. There has to be a clear statement of fundamentals with no chance for “padding.” This is true in this fine exhibit of draw­ings by two of California’s best paint­ers.

    Arnold Schifrin’s drawings seem to belong to a “family” coming through Rembrandt and Goya, Van Gogh and the Fauves. At the same time he is conscious of his central European heri­tage and his relationship to such men as Soutine and Kokoschka. One is aware of his search for form through his use of rich tone-relations in his calligraphy. Here

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  • Ronald Garrigues

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara

    His work instantly re­veals a deep and highly sensitive feel­ing for the quality of wood, its texture, grain and color. These are indeed tac­tile-enticing pieces which one desires to handle, and it is this simple feature which constitutes their major appeal. Regrettably Garrigues’ pieces do not in­dicate the same high quality of understanding of form. His curvilinear twisted shapes are watered down versions of the sculpture of the 1920s of Gabo. Even the most satisfactory of Garrigues’ examples, such as Metamorphoses seems somewhat slick and unconvinc­ing as a total form. The materials and the

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  • “Non-Figurative Art”

    Los Angeles Art Association

    One expects the innocent primitives, frustrated designers, tech­nical tricksters, copyists, and simple non-entities would have again crawled out of the woodwork for another festival of stylistic mish-mosh. But at least the quality of this juried show is relatively above the median average. Honest indi­vidual efforts may be difficult to spot, but recommended conditionally as standouts are: North Young’s untitled, odd, flottage; the carved ceramic Swinging Figures of Laurette Sping­arn; Aimee Bourdieu’s lively Suspen­sion; and Bob Kennicott’s watercolor Air Borne. Most of the rest grope about in

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  • Group Show

    Cahuenga Gallery

    A be­wildering show of paintings in a recently opened gallery in Hollywood, bewilder­ing because of the uneven quality of the work and a certain earnest desire to express ideas not always clearly de­fined. The artists exhibiting are, in order: Alma, whose quasi-naive paint­ings recall folk-painting on glass or pottery; Alvarez, a non-objective painter who seems to lean heavily on Orphism and Pure Plastic Art; Bush, whose work resembles the aerial views it depends on; Lesly, a designer in the style of Atlan; Penny; Ryan; Bosco Tatich, a painter in the Expressionist mode with affinities for

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  • Alvin Light

    Dilexi Gallery

    These wood sculptures twist upward soaringly in a denial of their obvious weight. Mass is used at the base to give foundation for the linear directional thrusts which enclose space in ever-changing shapes as the viewer moves around the sculpture. Light constructs and carves, fitting his materials together with dowels and glue. The pieces are well crafted without being refined, and the rough­hewn vigor remains. Each sculpture is composed of many varieties of natural wood and rough planks. The viewer is aware of the past history of the burned stump, the twisted branch, the weather­ed board, but

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  • Gallery Group

    Ankrum Gallery

    A di­verting show of the gallery stable’s paintings and sculptures which range from the historically respectable to the inconsequential. The former include Feitelson and Lundeberg (a tiny, mar­velous “Dark Sea”), Burkhardt (in a new direction, loosening Gorky’s shapes with Yunkers’ bruised color), and Schwaderer (as primitive as ever). Block’s encaustic-­like, bleached intimism and Bosworth’s accidental, oriental air-views are curious, individual and memorable, but probably (along with Frame) caught in a cul-de-sac. In a preview of Goedike’s one-man show we find he has moved the models abandoned

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  • Phelan Awards

    Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park

    There have probably been other “lean years” since 1935 when by a bequest from the late California Senator Phelan these annual compe­titions for native California artists aged 20–40 were initiated. But the uniform dullness of this show could inspire some fallacious but intriguing conclu­sions: either the vitality in southern California painting has come from out­siders moving in on the territory or ages 2–19 and 41–80 are the only good years for painters. Dominantly a show of wearisome academic abstractions, any five paintings from the monotonous whole would have been equally suited for the awards

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  • Juan Brotat

    Galerie de Ville

    Com­bining archaistic forms with symbolic subject matter, Brotat’s paintings look “primitive” but they lack the naive art­ist’s rhythmic consistency and narra­tive clarity. A Catalan who inherited by temperament and proximity the icon­ic stylization of the Spanish Roman­esque, Brotat has adopted a dripping brush technique to paint these self­-consciously votive images. The resultant tapestry-like texture is in conflict with the way Brotat disorganizes his pictures; the figures seem to be appliquéd to a patched background. In spite of their limited esthetic quality, the works retain a homegrown

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  • Richard Poole

    Paideia Gallery

    Poole is concerned with the qualities experi­enced by “the one” as part of “the many.” He structures his canvases of people thronging together by silhouet­ting individual shapes into tiers of on­lookers, while playing the specific ges­tures of privately occupied persons as counter motifs to the generalized move­ment of a crowd. A mother turning to admonish her child or a man stopping to stare at a bather assume more than anecdotal significance when seen as asides from the body politic. Whether painting pedestrians straining toward three silent horsemen or groups of women under a grove of trees,

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  • Group Show

    Rex Evans Gallery

    Serv­ing as an introduction to some new talent as well as displaying works by some regulars, this exhibition shows the gallery’s consistent emphasis on modest-sized intimate works. Ruby Morris, new to the local scene, shows very small oils that seem filled with atmosphere and breadth because of a beautiful sense of understatement. Her Solinas Beach #4 achieves a monu­mental quality within a few square inches. Allan Blizzard infuses an excit­ing element of fantasy into Reseda Summer by the use of a boiling pink underpainting that seems to threaten the substance of the drawing but al­ways manages

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  • Edward Bush

    Cahuenga Gallery

    Bush has had some formal art training––that’s apparent––but either too much or not enough. Every move is that of a rank amateur with abundant failings. His paintings are involved with, and the victims of: more than four differing styles completely dependent upon clever tool manipulation; an absolute lack of drawing and composing skills; an awkward collection of meaningless sur­face gimmicks; simple-minded, two-layered spatial interests; and color which has all the sensuous charm of a plastic leatherette sample book. Surprisingly, one facet would seem to hold promise of more “professional” results,

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  • Group Show

    Laguna Beach Art Asso­ciation, Laguna Beach

    Composed of 6 “Transparent Watercolorists” (an unfor­tunate term) who showed 4 works each, the long shadow of Millard Sheets and Emil Kosa hangs over this exhibition. George Gibson has least gotten away from this, and Edward Reep the farth­est. Reep’s After the Rain is a fine, semi-abstract composition of dark blues and blacks, as is Storm Transition. Barse Miller has come a long way from being the social realist painter of the thirties and has remained faithful to his first love, watercolor. Monehagan Landing is a simple clean composition of a few large color areas that seems very solid, though

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  • Janet Lippincott

    Galleria Gianni

    Rarely has a one-man show looked so aware yet neuter, casual, and so con­vincing. She is involved with symbol making that simply refuses to jell, for her images are too weak to hold up under the steady barrage of disparate elements. Ineffectual, overcontrolled ac­cidents clog structure, and axes are re-enforced  to a point of uncertainty. Spatial intentions are denied by violent color contrasts. Areas are drowned in a nonsensical rhythm of “enriching” tool marks, and ill-sorted alterations of inconsistent style disrupt and mar the unity of almost every picture.

    The gallery’s folder informs that

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  • Irma Attridge

    Kramer Originals Gal­lery

    “Featuring various treatments of the Still Life” has an ominous, non­committal ring, and it means Attridge ranges from realism to loosened cub­ism. The McFee Cézannesque tradition is the unmistakable controlling factor, with the results minor and competently pat in a detached and illustrative man­ner. The slick oil impasto is built to suggest the vibrations of light particles requiring considerable viewing distance for the limited, facile technique to settle.

    The more advanced stages of her heavy pink and chartreuse cubism run a feminine second place behind Still Life with Orange and another .

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  • Group Show

    Robin Metz Gallery

    The majority of the 17 artists shown are students. Although there are flashes of creative expression, most of the work is not of exhibition calibre. Working under Shiro Ikegawa at Pasadena City College, the graphic work of Bryson Gerard shows the most consistent po­tential. Among the non-student exhibit­ors, there is technical proficiency in the serigraphs by David Weidman but little that goes beyond a superficial decorativeness. In the same medium, Robin Metz is imitative of Sister Carita, and Tom Rose, although less eclectic, is not very impressive. If the Metz Gallery is to survive, it needs

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  • Mexican Folk Art

    La Jolla Art Cen­ter

    The “love and death of flowers” which the Mexican poet, Carlos Pellicer terms a basic quality of his people, this juxtaposition of bloom and decay, is metamorphosed with sardonic humor in the folk arts of Mexico. Humor masks the fearful realization of the ephemeral nature of life and the imminence and omnipotence of death. The skeleton “calavera” mouths his cigar with a smug leer; two ghostly figures clad in natty evening clothes clasp arms in a casual stroll.

    Visitors to the recent excellent display of Mexican Folk Art at the Art Center in La Jolla must have been struck with the peculiar

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