San Francisco

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 prestige of science, but implies a draftsman’s office-neat­ness. The illusion of transparency and atmospheric perspective plays an in­triguing role in his works, which actu­ally relate more to Maholy-Nagy than to Brancusi, (whose retrospective show at the Guggenheim Museum, 1956, de­cided him to concentrate on sculpture.)

Monoprints have the advantage of be­ing, like paintings, “firsts” in the true sense of the word. That is, originals. The process, using plate glass, has been used for years, as any school kid knows. Godfrey extends it by employing the more absorbent surface of linoleum block and thinly mixed, fast drying casein paints, requiring rapid handling and resulting in images of greater spon­taneity. 

––E. M. Polley