reviews

  • “Master Drawings from Chatsworth”

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    One of the noteworthy facts about the Chatsworth collection is the manner in which the drawings were ac­quired. The catalog states, “The son of the first Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish, who succeeded his father in 1707, was chiefly responsible for the formation of the collection.” By 1723 he had already formed a considerable col­lection of drawings; it was in this year that he made his most important pur­chase by acquiring the collection of Nicolaes Anthoni Flinck (1646–1723), son of Rembrandt’s pupil, Govaert Flinck. From this source, the marvelous series of Dutch landscapes done in wash

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  • 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

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  • “Recent Painting, USA: The Figure”

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    This exhibition is a black eye which will be a long time in wearing off the face of the Museum of Modern Art. Some sort of Junior Council put it together, which is less of an excuse than it is a warning––unheeded by the San Francisco Mu­seum––to other museums to be wary in booking it. This Junior Counci I sent out a broadside a couple of years ago, announcing the exhibition and request­ing figurative work to be submitted by artists all over the country. After seeing the response, the logical thing for the Museum of Modem Art to have done was to simply call the whole thing off, but––who knows

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  • John Baxter, Hilda Levy, John Sackas, Geoffrey Lewis, and George Miyasaki

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    Sculpture by assemblage, non-figurative painting, San Francisco genre, moody landscapes and prints by a master printmaker.

    In his assembled sculptures, John Baxter refines an idea he has been working on recently, that of combining water-tumbled rocks, sand-scoured wood, and other carefully selected found items into man-made forms that retain their weathered state, thus invoking the ef­fects of the processes of nature as a common denominator. There are figura­tive connotations in his sculptures, though not in the paintings he is show­ing with them, and also poetry, as his titles, sometimes serious,

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  • Win Ng

    Quay Gallery

    Ng’s latest clay sculpture fits perfectly into the atmos­phere of the spacious off-square gal­lery near the bay water in Tiburon. His forms repeat visual data often seen near the bayside just beyond the storefront housing the sculpture. The work itself reaches the viewer on a multiplicity of levels not governed by a preconceived plan, but forced upon the eye through the viewer’s knowledge of certain man­made objects having to do more with heavy structural utility than art. Certain objects such as cast concrete pier sup­ports, abandoned cement bunkers and contemporary nautical architecture are

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  • Fran Moyer, Robert Hartman, and Sandra Archuletta

    Richmond Art Center

    Fran Moyer’s sculptures reflect current thoughts and inventive tech­niques. They are more than competently done, but not especially exciting, ex­cepting the pop art assemblages. With these she lampoons such contemporary culture problems as food fads, bureau­cracy, seductive entertainment, auto­mation and mass marketing. Miss Moyer has a rapier wit, and has found a special way to use it. Her works involving spec­tator participation may not be long lived––they are due for a lot of handl­ing. But one suspects that even this is intentional, a sly dig at our engineered obsolescence. At any rate, such

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  • Dorr Bothwell, Nancy Genn, and James Grant

    De Young Museum

    Miss Bothwell exhibits kaleidograms entitled, Watchwords and pictorial motifs en­titled, Mendocino Fences. In a man­ner sometimes reminiscent of tapestry and sometimes of mosaic, the Watch­words present busy geometric patterns, distinctly Byzantine in color and char­acter: woven in the intricate traceries, or obscurely stenciled in the interstitial “negative spaces” are stylized letters spelling such words as, “Love,” “Peace” and “Joy.” One gathers from the gallery statement that Miss Bothwell fancies this treatment is novel and constitutes a positive use of the principles of sub­liminal

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  • Gustave Alhadeff and Estelle Chaves

    Maxwell Galleries

    Alhadeff, a 23 year old African painter, exhibits wildly lush neo-impressionist landscapes and still lifes that are hybrids of Renoir and Van Gogh––if that can be imagined without being seen. His primary diffi­culty lies in re-creating illusionistic space in a way that doesn’t flog the viewer senseless by brilliantly hued forms that, instead of reposing in the background, are busy rattling, disturb­ing and clashing within areas of greater pictorial importance.

    Miss Chaves continues, as in her last exhibit (at Pomeroy Galleries) to pur­sue and refine a painterly syntax that relates directly to

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  • William Gropper

    Galerie de Tours

    This exhibition shows no significant changes in the work of this veteran American artist from his show at this gallery about a year ago. Gropper con­tinues to paint his people within the ma­trix of a humanism that threatens to be­come a cloying kind of sentimentality, but never quite does.

    ––James Monte

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  • Charles Griffin Farr and Norma de Mers

    Art Unlimited

    Sharp focus paint­ings in oil, watercolors on rice paper. Charles Griffin Farr (somehow one does­n’t abbreviate his name) manages to make most of the Bay Area competitive shows, whether conservative or avant­-garde, by virtue of integrity––in choice of subject, use of materials, and respect for abstract qualities of design. He could as easily be a hard-edge abstrac­tionist as a hard edge realist, but chooses to paint objects from the world around him, endowing each with the special significance it has earned through usage. He has a deep apprecia­tion of the importance of relativity. A lone chair

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  • “Pan-American Group”

    Bolles Gallery

    A tidy show of painted constructions by Marcel Flores and Nicholas Roukas, and monotypes by Gwen Stone. None of these artists make any contribution to art, although Flores, a Frenchman living in Venezuela, has some individual and provocative thoughts on Christian ico­nography and medieval history. The line between craft and art is rapidly dimin­ishing, and both he and Roukas do their best to erase it entirely. Bolles Gallery is affiliated with an architectural con­cern, and aims to develop a fraternal affection between art and architecture. If it contracts any more painters like Roukas, it had

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  • “Australian Aborigi­nal Bark Paintings”

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    The Australian aborigi­nal’s bark paintings, an outgrowth of the long practice of painting on the undersurfaces of their wurlies (the lean-­to shelters of stringy eucalyptus bark so suited to their nomadic life), are done in an art style developed by their an­cestors through more than 12,000 years of tenure on the continent. Of their several art forms, it is the strongest survivor. Bark paintings are used for communication by means of pictograph and sign language, much in the manner of Egyptian papyrus paintings, and also for recording activities of totemic signi­ficance, myths, just plain

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  • Victor Heady, Sam Harris and Alan Meisel

    Barrios Gallery, Sacramento

    Two painters and a potter open the season for this little gallery, which has been closed for the summer. Heady and Harris are both romanticists in a sense, with Heady, the better draftsman of the two, leaning toward more rational ro­manticism, Harris toward mystery and emotional tension. Unfortunately this show had to be reviewed from the stacks. In fairness to the artists it can not be discussed in depth. So, too, with Meisel’s pottery. But pulling his explod­ing pot shapes and sculptured vases, bristling with vitality, from the packing was an exciting experience.

    ––E. M. Polley

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  • Roberto de Lamonica

    Original Prints Gallery

    This young Brazilian graphicist exhibits two-toned engravings employ­ing etching, drypoint and aquatint tech­niques. From a small selection of bril­liantly experimental, but esthetically unpursuasive, technical studies, one work stands out as an artistically co­herent, arrestingly pursuasive state­ment: Engraving 39 (1961). Here, brood­ing, dark masses, delicately corrugated with turtle-shell mosaic, and extending grotesque, arachnoid tentacles, seem sil­houetted in spectral light criss-crossed with spiderweb linearities. The thinking is “contrapuntal”: motifs stated in the microcosm of internal

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  • Joseph Coates

    Artists Co-operative, Sacramento

    In a group of recent col­lages and a few small oil paintings, Coates shows himself to be a competent craftsman but an uninspired artist. He explores the possibilities of that group­ing of compressed circles and ovoid shapes already exhausted by Nepote, Viacrucis, Reich and Kane, in that or­der, and adds nothing to their findings. When he turns to landscape, he does present it from a fresh point of view, bright and uncomplicated.

    ––E. M. Polley

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  • Howard Foote

    Green Gallery

    Mr. Foote exhibits a half-dozen paintings in the methods and manners of the younger group of New York-Boston abstract expressionists of the mid-nine­teen-fifties. Here the style has matured a little from the off-beat vernacular of Provincetown summers to a more syn­tactically sophisticated and coherent idiom. While manifestly sincere and somewhat above the student ineptitude and amateur cliches so often essayed in this already dated regional genre, the work lacks compelling viewpoint and persuasive inflexion, and falls into that category best designated as competent mediocrity. Two titles are

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  • Group Show

    Gump's

    Featuring Gump’s regular stable of artists, with emphasis on Bryan Wilson, Fletcher Benton and Art Holman. Wilson, known best for his personal insight into the lives and activities of birds, proves him­self just as personal in his response to flowers, which he apparently sees with the bee’s heliotropic vision. His bright­hued still-lifes, like his grey-toned bird­lifes, are built on classic principles of space division which allow for endless variety. Rich, thick pigment adds variety to his paint surface, usually kept thin for atmospheric effects. Benton’s new venture is into portraiture, treated

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  • Charles Mattox, Harold Paris, Stephen De Staebler, and Wilfrid Zogbaum

    Lanyon Gallery, Palo Alto

    Four of the major sculptural talents currently working in the Bay Area, gath­er to throw their support to this up-and-­coming peninsula gallery. All of them have exhibited in more depth in the recent past, and all were featured in the concurrently showing “California Sculpture” exhibition at the Kaiser Cen­ter. Particularly striking was the “edi­tion” approach used by Mattox in pro­ducing a series of identical examples of one of his construction-machines in miniature form almost as a printmaker makes a series of prints for wider dis­semination. Zogbaum's large sculpture, centered in the showroom,

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  • Ralph Johnson

    Belmonte Gallery, Sacramento

    Johnson was always drawn his subject matter from nature, how­ever much he abstracted it. This show is no exception. Here he makes full reference to the natural shape, in this instance, the moth, which he treats as a baroque shape of great emotional vitality, and also as a symbol of death and resurrection. Whether Johnson, who lives in Davis (where there are plenty of moths for research), is interested in lepidopterous insects as such, or whether he sees in them a vehicle for exploiting color and form, is a moot point. At any rate, he takes his moths through the paces of emotion, from blind,

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  • Lloyd Strathearn, Dolly Bonetti, Cynthia Goldstone, and Jean Dickow

    Artists Co-operative

    Mr. Strat­hearn, Miss Bonetti and Miss-Goldstone each exhibit a variety of decorative, illustrative and pictorial statements in rather banal commercial genres. Miss Dickow is a little young to be exhibiting. For the most part her abstract state­ments bear the stamp of sophomoric exuberance in a wide range of deriva­tions, while her more original ideas are inadequately realized. However, we may see noteworthy work from this young artist when her sensibilities and imagi­nation, with respect to color and syntax, are implemented with a little more ex­perience, disciplined observation and technical

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  • Robert Arnold

    Howland Gallery

    Mr. Arnold’s preface to his own exhibition is interesting because it contains a remark quite relevant to his situation. “I’m an isolationist because my paint­ing leaves me no time for discussion with other artists and I don’t want to be influenced by their work.” Mr. Ar­nold has succeeded; his work should not be judged alongside that of artists who are involved in the problems that they do tend to discuss, quite passion­ately, with one-another.

    ––James Monte

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