San Francisco

Faralla

De Young Museum

Faralla, a long-familiar member of the Bay Area art world, four years ago made a deci­sion to abandon painting in favor of sculpture, and a wise decision it turned out to be in light of the resuIts. The basic sculptural concept he decided to pursue in 1959 has changed only slightly since. It depends, whether free-standing or relief, on a highly fragmented wooden surface composed of mill ends carefully arranged to create poetic rhythms––and tensions on the surface of each piece. Each piece is further knitted together by a coat of either black or white paint and a recent innovation in the use of rich red, ochre and glazed whites in the same all-over manner.

Faralla’s work recalls cubism, but basically it is anti-cubist. The cubists wished to dismember and re-create the object being depicted in their painting and sculpture in order to add a new way of seeing to familiar subject mat­ter. Faralla starts with material, mill ends of picture frame molding that, taken piece by piece, bear a remarkable resemblance to areas of, say, Georges Braque’s Man with Guitar, painted in 1911. The look is deceiving though, be­cause the intention of Faralla’s sculp­ture is far from the high formal analysis Braque lavished on his chosen subjects. It is closer to the visual evocation of deeply felt poetry and less concerned with the rearrangement of reality that so typified the high cubist period of the early part of this century.

––James Monte