Los Angeles

“Ten Sculptors”

Ceeje Gallery

Lively variety on every level is the keynote, as members of the gallery’s painting stable join recognized West Coast sculptors and several newcomers. The late John Bernhardt’s proportional measuring rod The Dimensions of Man is spread­eagled in greeting. An A-framed starfish in choice worn redwood and silvery spring tendons, it amply demonstrates again his naive sophistication and inge­nious near-functional inventiveness. Junk for Bernhardt was never discarded, it was aged; raw materials whose use had given them friendly character, wait­ing to be combined with taste and rein­vested with new purpose.

Joan Maffei’s wood Man in Boat brings a shy smile, for he resembles a serio-comic collection of pestles in a bloated bucket or fat pistils rising from a common flower at the dawn of Crea­tion. The “Man” takes his place in the mythology of folkish subject matter as an early and more anonymous member of her Early American Miró. Two other artists fare well in extending their pic­torial activities toward a total oeuvre. The interpretations of Mexican religious art by Louis Lunetta in clay and lost­wax bronzes record traces of a will stronger than his thematic material. Ray Brown’s pairs of trembling nudes, unfortunately truncated at the loins, could be placed in spirit after Rodin’s gesturing, prophesying St. John the Baptist but before the famine of Gia­cometti. Mates and sisters content themselves with the salvation of their flaked skins, rather than give in to the Word or give up to the Spirit.

By dominating this crowded gather­ing, Lloyd Hamrol emerges as the out­standing contributor with the frontal and carefully crafted, striped wood pieces, Marcastle and The President Line. The rationale is a playful seri­ousness achieved through the geometric ambiguity of repeated hard straights and controlled curves. Conceived of, in their origination, as two-dimensional patterns to which a sculptural third has been added, they hold sway like signposts in demanding respect. Along with his large graphite drawings, they are contained but imply an infinite field of activity. Hamrol’s art threatens to become en­vironmental, and we await the results with impatient enthusiasm.

––Fidel A. Danieli