reviews

  • Sam Tchakalian

    Dilexi Gallery

    Tchakalian’s early work (1958) consisted of flat paper collage fused with discrete stains of color; the collage elements later evolved into a rugged and puck­ered accretion of paper with the edges determined by areas of flattish paint. Up to this point, whatever criticism one may have had of his work, it had, at least a signature and a brutal look that was very much his own. This has now been lost. In his current exhibition, he continuously gropes around in other artists’ territories, notably Clyfford Still, Hassel Smith, Michael Goldberg, as well as early Ed Corbett and James Kelly. In this

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  • Robert Elsocht

    Hollis Galleries

    This showing of some twenty-seven oil paintings by Mr. Elsocht displays a type of representational (sometimes border­ing on “abstract”) expressionism that has become a cliché of the little com­mercial galleries. Here, in overall dis­position, are primly conventional scenes of boats moored at the piers of rural fishing hamlets, autumnal forests, moun­tain landscapes, and San Francisco cityscapes (with cablecars), all executed with a contrived slap-dash of heavy im­pasto, slickly glossed with high varnish. In the entire show, one could not find a single work that rose above the level of the

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  • Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn and Frank Lobdell

    California Palace of the Le­gion of Honor

    The Bay Area is a com­paratively isolated community, tending toward artistic incest. The particular figurative painting it produces must, when compared, as it should be, with other contemporary exponents, with charity be called second rate beside the work of Bacon, Dubuffet, Balthus, Hopper or Morandi. Yet a “Name Brand” image of San Francisco painting has been created and Bay Area-style neo­-figurative painting crops up like a half­wit relative in regional exhibitions up and down the state. What is the source of the style, and why its persistence? The current exhibition provides a key, of sorts.

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  • “Illuminated Manuscripts”

    Univer­sity Art Gallery, Berkeley

    Fifty-seven single pages from illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, from the 10th to the early 16th centuries, spon­sored by the University of California Committee for Arts and Lectures. Pre­senting a European art form that has survived the ravages of time and tech­nocracy, in a fine and extensive show, mostly religious in theme. It includes both illuminations (in a precise sense, the playful enlargement of the initial letters and opening phrases) executed by team work, and illustrations from individual, often noted, artists. They were assembled from private collections and public

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  • “Some New Art in the Bay Area”

    San Francisco Art Institute

    The excellent simplicity of the title of this exhibi­tion is unfortunately belied in a catalog essay by the Institute’s Executive Secre­tary, Fred Martin, which makes a con­siderable to-do of a “post-abstract ex­pressionist art” in the Bay Area, and which, unfortunately, received much more publicity in the local press and the local art world than did the exhibi­tion itself. As a backdrop for Martin’s essay, the exhibition is both arrogant and defensive at the same time. As simply “some new art in the Bay Area,” it is full of exciting developments, ex­cellent examples of the work of many individual

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  • “Eight Sculptors”

    San Francisco Art Institute

    Each of the sculptors was asked to present an important, recent work for this Art Bank exhibition. As a whole the show is disappointing but there are high spots. Karen Devich’s In God We Trust is outstanding. An eight foot coin sculpture with the motto across the top and a powerfully or­ganized eagle form of chromed automobile parts crashing through, its note of pop art irony is new for Miss Devich. She has been able to sound it with­out sacrificing anything of her formal strength. Reed McIntyre’s two-sided Wind––lyrical and at the same time elegant––contrasts a light, dancing fig­ure with a

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  • Gordon Onslow-ford, Lee Mulli­can, Fred Reichman, Jerrold Da­vis, and Richard Bowman

    Rose Rabow Gallery

    It is apparent without benefit of the usual gallery biographical blurbs, that these artists are all competent and aware technicians, professional and serious. The present showing is, there­fore, for most of these painters, unfor­tunate––even after discounting the over­crowded, ill-considered juxtaposition of canvases, the distracting, somewhat Ro­coco clutter of eclectic furniture and the rather good pre-Columbian sculp­ture.

    Two of these painters, at least––On­slow-Ford and Mullican––have seen days of more inventive and persuasive vital­ity than is to be found in the techni­cally interesting,

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  • “The Painted Flower”

    Oakland Art Museum

    In the East Bay anyone with two square feet of earth grows flowers. This exhibit, held in conjunction with the annual California Spring Home and Garden Show in Oakland, takes cogni­zance of that fact. Although much of the abstract art of the area reflects the impact of its surroundings, this show leads one to suspect that fruitful use of natural imagery is not found in local flower painting.

    The works in the exhibit are largely either commercial or inept. Conrad Fre­theim, Henrietta Berk and Robert Yel­land display a gooey abstract expres­sionist technique. Sally Barber paints her garden after

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  • George Miyasaki

    Lanyon Gallery

    Mi­yasaki is a young (28), very good and rather well-known lithographer whose major interest is in rearranging forms and motifs derived from landscape. His windows, circle-sun shapes and repeat­ed horizontals are frequently combined with pictographs and lettering. In this way, he incorporates symbols of the man-made into his landscapes. Although many of Miyasaki’s lithos and colla­graphs contain faint pastel shades, the colors work within a concept of hue that is essentially black and white. There is none of the gimmicky “how-was­-this-print-made” about his work. His technique creates his

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  • Group Show

    Vorpal Gallery

    This new gallery on Adler Place just off Colum­bus should be well worth watching. The young men who run it, Michael Elder and Thomas Valpy, are full of enthus­iasm and have interesting ideas for future shows. Elder says they will show quality work of any persuasion but the tone of this first group show is set by experimental young artists.

    Among the best things in the exhibi­tion are a cast aluminum sculpture by David Lynn, in which two crushed, sensitively varied tubular forms are played off against the thrust of a large sheet, and a drawing by La Verne Gamm, Sodomic Episode, explicit in subject

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  • John Little

    Worth Ryder Gallery, U.C. Berkeley

    Little’s oil paintings rehash New York School abstract expression­ism, stripped of its interest in space, form or color. His working modules are small patches of color, vigorously brushed helter-skelter to achieve an amorphous compromise between all­over painting and a centralized state­ment. His paint is muddied, for no ap­parent reason. Little’s abstract expres­sionist gesture seems to be all pooped out from the exertion it takes to over­work a canvas. His collages fare a bit better, although most of them are con­vincing demonstrations that paper is no way to get a composition when one is

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  • Robert Kabak and John Young

    Gump's Gallery

    Bristling landscapes and Ha­waiian moods in two small shows presenting polarities of abstract approach.

    Flexible eye muscles are needed to withstand the action created by the shuttling colors and equivocal shapes which Kabak has inherited from the cubists by way of Klee. Whereas Klee transformed the severe angularity of the cubists into fantastic but orderly holiday architecture, Kabak constructs kinesthetic landscapes featuring pris­matic mountains and faceted skies which jerk the eye from point to point in anything but an orderly manner. These are not for the myopic.

    John Young’s islands of

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  • Patrick Tidd, Boyd Allen, Adelie Landis, and Bruce Breckenridge

    Berkeley Gallery

    Jazzy colors do not a jazzy painting make. When Tidd ties these colors to a designer’s version of abstract expressionism, they vibrate annoyingly and damage the compositional unity he is so painfully working for. The contents of his composition are arrows, crosses, post-Gorky phalli and other currently fashionable tokens from pop art. Tidd takes a cross for background and packs other signs into its center without re­straint or selectivity. Perhaps he hopes that through a craft ability to coordi­nate various parts (with a low informa­tion value of their own) he is saying something about the

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  • Louis Macouillard, Nobuo Kitagaki, and Gerolamo Albavera

    Maxwell Galleries

    Nostalgic paintings of San Francisco and the South Pacific, care­fully designed collages, and quick and lively drawings. Maxwell operates one of the most successful commercial gal­leries in California, by choosing a stable of artists able to “please a discriminat­ing public” as well as qualify in open competition in the broader scope of contemporary work. These three exhibi­tors make the point.

    Macouillard’s harbor scenes and ex­otic crossroads are painted with thor­ough knowledge of both his subject and his craft. Though literary with romance, when stripped to their underlying struc­ture they

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  • Art Grant

    Richmond Art Center

    Art Grant assembles a funky menagerie and some rather nasty ladies from small bits of insignificant scrap, employing the minimum craftsmanship necessary to achieve a structure. His gift for se­lection and personification and sense of humor are undeniable.

    This casual approach to junk is cari­cature and when Grant’s sculptures stay within their scope, they are uniquely incisive. However, only a human gesture is funny when it is exaggerated. A chip­munk is cute, but a chipmunk is never ludicrous. His scrap snail may be a curiosity, but it is neither sculpturally sound nor successful as a grotesque.

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  • Joseph St. Amand

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    Portraits of prominent people in characteristic sur­roundings, by a San Francisco artist who states “I like to paint people, and, I hope, a bit of their souls,” and who boldly develops the Japanese technique of composition in flat planes.

    One need not know the sitters to en­joy the cunning and consummate ar­tistry behind these paintings, developed with a minimum of modeling, two di­mensional composition, and lines inter­secting in such a way as to create a special kind of depth, successfully com­bining intimism with decoration.

    This is St. Amand’s first one-man show in a public museum, and it is

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  • “Ten Years of Giving”

    Stanford Museum

    This exhibition represents the achievements of the Committee for Art at Stanford in closing gaps in the mu­seum collection, primarily through the acquisition of small, good examples of world art. The gifts range from Korean pottery, Chinese tools and pre-Colum­bian idols to a fine Hellenistic satyr’s head, Italian church panels and a Rembrandt etching. (A sidelight of the show is to point up how futile it is for this museum to buy contemporary art. Aside from Faralla’s black wood plaque, their purchases from Carl Morris, Bryan Wil­son, Morris Broderson, etc., are dated and tasteless in comparison

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  • Marjorie Allen

    Galerie de Tours

    Oil and lacquer paintings by a Big Sur artist of more than ordinary imagination which stress fantasy, and at times bor­der on the surreal. Mrs. Allen claims, however, that there is no skull work in her painting, that she “just puts what seems to belong there.” And what be­longs there seems often to be either wondrous or monstrous growths, some so benign a fascinated child can play with them, some tentacled and preda­tory, like undersea venus-flytraps. Her colors, ranging from otherworldly greys to brilliant, hallucinatory hues, become symbolic in themselves. One wonders, then, if further

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  • “Six Printmakers”

    Art Unlimited

    Den­nis Beall, Helen Breger, John Richards, Jeryl Parker, Kathan Brown and Alfred Smith show a stimulating group of etchings in a wide range of techniques, some developed during the last decade. Parker, Brown and Smith have been working at the recently established Crown Point Intaglio Workshop in Point Richmond, yet there is a wide variance in their prints. Parker draws from na­ture subjects, with a lyrical interpretation; Brown uses muted color poetically in her greatly simplified land­scape; Smith varies from a fine, singing line in his landscapes to harsh, brittle edges in defining the nude.

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  • Graduate Student Exhibition

    Mills College Art Gallery, Oakland

    The high cali­bre of this show is determined mainly by the presence of three graduate paint­ers, all over 25, whose work possesses a certain amount of maturity and con­viction. Consequently, it seems better to detaiI these three than to skim over a large exhibition in which much of the work is still too tentative to offer any fair picture of the artist.

    Norman Lockwood places too much faith in the ability of bright red-orange and aqua to carry a statement that is solid enough without their interference. Powerful V-forms, digital protrusions and big slabs of color reinforce an out­look decidedly

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  • “San Francisco Unified School District Art Show”

    de Young Museum

    There has been a remarkable im­provement in the art program of the San Francisco Public Schools since the days when high school art classes often consisted mainly of speedball letter­ing, pencil drawing and making ceramic daffodils into pins. This large, juried exhibition, covering all grade levels through senior high school, indicates that there is now a lot of creative work going on.

    Perhaps the most noticeable improve­ment is at the elementary school level, where there is laudable variety and freshness of approach. Up to the third grade, of course, children need only be given materials and

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  • Athena Kalimos

    Lucian Labaudt Gallery

    Miss Kalimos has a raw, brutal and ugly way of painting that is completely nihilistic. Her turgid and very dark tach­iste images in common household paints are unbelievably bad. It is difficult to accept the proposition that this artist, after taking a degree in the Decorative Art Department at the University of California, and then a Masters degree in painting in the Art Department of the same distinguished University, can be so ignorant of the vocabulary of art, and at the same time so inept. The paintings are so unbelievably grotesque that it would only be fair to assume that in view of her

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  • Group Exhibition

    Hobbs Gallery

    Quite outstanding in this rather medi­ocre exhibition is the work of Louis Siegriest. Getting on in years, he is a most sensitive painter of landscape, who manages to delicately balance a knowledge of the most recent develop­ments underlying much of contemporary art with a sense of place, a specific distillation of the desert and rocky landscape. Clutton shows a burnt image that indicates a new line of thought for him (but rather old hat elsewhere) and Louis Gutierrez, a deep collage with a poetic­ally evocative surface. Hobbs’ work is marred by a color sense that is so excruciatingly garish

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  • Jean-Pierre Bousquet

    Lewis and Vidal Gallery

    Bousquet paints with lac­quer on wood panels. Many panels con­tain squares of gold and silver leaf. The image is generally a drawn-out cross. Occasionally, he tries a circle and the product is slightly bi-morphic and a trifle better. Somewhere in this world there must be people working in metal leaf who know how to use it with taste and who understand what it can do as a medium. Bousquet is not one of them. Why so much effort should be expended on such flashy, banal and glossy works, wholly devoid of any sign that someone sensitive and intelligent created them, is probably not the question here.

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  • Avrum Rubenstein

    The Scene

    This gallery shows only the owner’s work: paintings, collages, assorted graphics, constructions and even ceramics, at very low prices. Most of the paintings are in one of two styles. There are strong silhouettes against simplified neutral backgrounds and freer works, usually studies of musicians, in which the artist unifies background and sub­ject with a network of meaningless cur­vilinear brushstrokes.

    ––Helen Giambruni

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  • Sheldon Machlin and Pierce Godfrey

    Bolles Gallery

    Finely crafted geometric sculpture, monoprints from uncut lino blocks. Sculpture’s change of direction since Brancusi is the sharpest, it would seem, in its Western history. The last 50 years have given birth to a new West­ern tradition with an almost entirely new vocabulary of form. The free stand­ing geometrics of Machlin do not add to this vocabulary, but they do support the tradition. Painter first, sculptor later, he has not entirely lost his connection with painting, especially in the studded plaques and flattened sculptures on the walls. Nor with drawing. His work sug­gests not only the

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  • Lida Giambastiani

    Artists' Cooperative Gallery, Sacramento

    A much too large show of assorted oil paintings ranging from the tritest of representa­tionalism to some stimulating nature abstractions. Question: Where is the balancing point, in a commercial gallery, between establishing quality and encouraging trade?

    ––E. M. Polley

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  • Ned Pankin

    The Colony, Sausalito

    Recent oils, watercolors of oriental in­fluence, and some exquisite drawings, by an artist who needs the encourage­ment, and the chastening effect, of more show space.

    ––E. M. Polley

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  • Franklin Williams and Jose Manuel dos Santos Cross

    Crash Gallery

    Williams executes tiny pencil drawings and collages with pathological intensity and care to reach a morbid and sub­jective end. José (as he signs his works) produces drawings that might be suit­able for decorating a bad novel by Anaïs Nin and titles them Cosmologi­cal Explorations, Discoveries in the Month of April.

    ––Joanna C. Magloff

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  • Armand Cultrera

    The New Image

    Most of the paintings are landscapes and tourist-postcard type scenes of Morocco, Spain and France. Cultrera is a French painter, a graduate of the Ecole des Beaux Arts, who has lived in Morocco. He was also a student of Bonnard but there is no trace of that painter’s glowing color and seductive line in these altogether pedestrian oils. The watercolors are fresher in color and less labored.

    Helen Giambruni

     

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  • Dimitri Grachis

    Green Gallery

    Grachis’ last exhibition at this gallery, about a year ago, manipulated a limited number of forms in a very perceptive way. His work had all the appearance of being by a rather young artist with some knowledge of the history of form in con­temporary art. His current exhibition seems to reverse this idea: he appears to be justifying his previous work by linking his painting process to abstrac­tion from nature forms. These recent paintings of simple blocks of sun-faded colors derived from landscape add noth­ing to his previous statements and seem unnecessary backtracking.

    John Coplans

     

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  • Jan Lundgren

    Original Prints Gallery

    This gallery continues its excellent program of presenting the best in con­temporary printmaking by exhibiting the work of Jan Lundgren, a Swedish printmaker now working in France. His high relief etchings and engravings are markedly inventive. He works with a very restricted palette of yellow and greenish umbers, manipulating organic forms into vague human images.

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  • Yannick Ballif

    Eric Locke Gallery

    There is little doubt that this artist is a master of all of the intricate tech­niques of intaglio printing, dry point and burin, but her work is marred by every conceivable cliché of form found in contemporary printmaking.

    John Coplans

     

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  • David Mark

    Pantechnicon Gallery

    This artist is 19 years old and a sopho­more at San Francisco State College. He is having his second one man exhibition of bright, cheery and trite illustrations painted in oil. 

    —John Coplans

     

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  • Edward Lupper

    Artist's Co-Op

    The metaphysical but uninhabited land­scapes of Giorgio de Chirico painted in his particular realistic manner still prove to be exciting material for those artists more interested in a high craft look than a contemporary image. Lup­per’s still lifes and unpeopled vistas with metaphysical overtones are within this tradition, but he is an uncertain and poor craftsman who fails to engage, and holds one’s eye by the technical competence of his images.

    —John Coplans

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