San Francisco

Art Grant, Mel Henderson, and Max Alfert

Oakland Museum

These three sculptors are linked together through their efforts to project characteristics of human and animal life into their material.

Max Alfert turns small bits of drift­wood and beautiful stones into religious themes and symbolic situations (Man on a Raft). The natural beauty of his materials is distracting and Alfert intensifies their seductive prettiness by polishing and oiling them. This would probably be less damning were his sub­ject matter not laying claim to consid­erable moral solemnity.

Mel Henderson’s sculpture has waded off into a sea of banality. He takes an item, such as a pigskin handbag or a pair of snakeskin shoes, fixes it to a wooden board in a cunning simulation of the original animal, and carves a doggerel ditty beneath it. This might be excusable were Henderson some un­talented member of that group who often substitute poor jokes for art, but he is a promising and capable sculptor. This, happily, is only part of his cur­rent work.

Art Grant knows how to handle his “projective” material. He does just enough joining to make the scrap metal he uses into an animal or figure. Some of this work is even more recent than his show at the Richmond Art Center a few months ago––and it seems to be better. There is more of an effort here to capture gesture, and less directed at making the found object into a specific animal. His work is confident and warm­ly humorous.

Joanna C. Maglott