San Francisco

Bill Ris­don

Batman Gallery

Mr. Ris­don is young, energetic, versatile and innovative. His present exhibition en­compasses paintings, sculptural assem­blages and a photo-kaleidoscopic de­vice for the production of “mobile ab­stractions.” Mr. Risdon has composed electronic music which is played in the gallery at low volume, so as first to be heard at a subliminal level and only gradually to impinge upon the threshold of consciousness as one surveys the visual exhibits.

In not all of the directions in which Mr. Risdon ploys his experimental ex­uberance is he equally perceptive and disciplined. It is in his electronic music and sculptural assemblages that he is most persuasive. Mr. Risdon’s “musique concrete” clearly reveals a sensitive ap­proach to organizing electronically pro­duced tonal complexes into a definitely musical syntax of acoustical events. His sculptural constructions and assem­blages likewise evince architectonic sensibilities. A large assemblage en­titled White Sculpture (1963) has an almost classic lyrical elegance and re­veals new and intriguing involvements of Iinearity and surface as one surveys it from different angles. Mr. Risdon is least persuasive in his painting. Some eerie portrait fantasies have a quality of histrionic commercial surrealism. In marked contrast, however, a recent ab­straction entitled Internal Landscape (1963) is evocative in conception and subtly executed. The photo-kaleido­scopic device consists of a box in which light is passed through a complex of rotating mirrors and prisms in such a way as to project moving asymmetrical vari-colored patterns on a glass panel (resembling a television screen) at the viewing end of the box. The angles and phases of multi-axis rotation of the prisms and mirrors are so disposed that the probability of the device ever re­peating, identically, a given pattern is practically zero. This essentially tech­nological novelty frequently produces rather interesting visual sequences.

Palmer D. French