San Francisco

“From the Berkeley Gallery”

Mills College

With their own gallery occupied by an invitational, the members of the Berkeley Gallery were still able to hold a group show in the spacious quarters at Mills. For most of the artists it was a waste of time, since they have all shown extensively in the past year, thanks to their cooperative, and it does them no good to have every wet brush­stroke held up for public scrutiny.

The work of Boyd Allen, Mel Moss, Robert McClean and Mel Henderson demonstrates massive changes in their orientations. Robert McClean exhibited another witty all-wood dreamship that strongly resembles Jeremy Anderson’s work, but holds its humor well. But, as if to demonstrate how undecided he is about his direction, he also showed one of his Harold Paris–student pieces. Mel Henderson seems bent on making leath­er his major medium and the offering in this show is a double bust. He has done several heads, all with the look of death masks and much stronger than his other experimentation with this material. Even the heads are a little too easily resolved as sculpture, but are sinister and disturbing, neverthe­less. His work is still in its first stages and is marked by as many failures as successes.

Head and shoulders above every­thing else in the show is a splendid hard-edge painting by Nancy McCauley. It is the silhouette of the head of a woman, only the woman’s face is not in profile, but turned to the front and all that is clearly visible is a wonderfully wild black hard-edged shape on a tan ground. Using high-gloss commercial enamels on masonite and accepting the unusual and often ungainly color situa­tions these paints force upon her, Mrs. McCauley announces her willingness to at least consider current propositions about art. Her subject matter comes from art; indeed, her silhouettes are of some of the most famous heads ever painted. More than simply an outline copied from a book, Vermeer’s woman wearing a red hat is transformed into a bright red form vibrating in a brown field. Nancy McCauley uses industrial paint because it is one way of elimi­nating brushmarks and of making the surface more austere. However, the idea of crossing Rembrandt with the two-­tone chic of the latest cars adds im­pressively to the total impact of the paintings.

Joanna C. Maglott