Los Angeles

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 involving some of the same symbols is evidenced in a series of quite fine drawings. Numbers sixty to sixty­-three (there are no titles given) pain­fully probe the unconscious mind while titillating the conscious. The rose, the mushroom, the cocktail glass, the re­productive symbol, the map of Africa, occur in peculiar juxtaposition in some­thing of a summary of the many diver­gent shapes that have intrigued her. The maps form a third series of small collages in which the continental out­lines of Africa, Australia and the United States appear, accented by red zonal markings that unintentionally imply political comment. The deceptiveness of the implication thus becomes a disturbing element. Even so, the singularity with which the geographic form is used is a refreshing note.

Con­stance Perkins