reviews

  • Hassel Smith

    David Stuart Gallery

    First there are the unsettling figurative paintings. The heralded “All American Girl” seemed to represent an ambitious and adequate departure, but an untitled nude not previously exhibited was treated in barely summary fashion. “Leda and the Swan” proves only that together his active contour line and color shape edges are redundant. A Rubens-like “Lovers,” painted in England, inexplicably included a diapered cupid and a panting, spotted dog, and at best, they all confirm a boisterous good humor found in certain previous works. That, or the shuttering and grating falter of a reappraisal.

    The

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  • Rico Lebrun

    Pavilion Gallery Newport Beach

    One of the most important single events to grace an otherwise prosaic California art history was the 1950 showing of Rico Lebrun’s “Crucifixion” series at the Los Angeles County Museum. This awesome presentation was either attacked as being merely extensive exercises based on Picasso’s “Guernica” or rigorously praised as the work of a newly recognized master. In any event, it was not, nor could be ignored. Its impact on the local art scene was both immediate and lasting and initiated not only a dedicated following for Lebrun but ignited a long-delayed pride in the domestic product. His work

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  • Niki de Saint-Phalle

    Dwan Gallery

    About the most encouraging conclusion concerning the works of Niki de Saint-Phalle is that she is not really such a bad shot—for a woman. In fact, she is a very attractive shot. She is also an excellent dramatist, a superb scavenger, a diligent worker, and a woefully misunderstood artist. The use of the word “artist,” however, is intended only in the broadest sense, for the only time there is any evidence of her visual apparatus is at that brief moment when she lines up the sights of her rifle to blast the already decomposing corpses she has created.

    Herein lies her genius and the crux of her

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  • Reg Butler

    Frank Perls

    Mr. Butler, 50 year old British sculptor of international reputation, held his first West Coast one-man exhibition during February. 25 sculptures and 6 drawings from 1955 to 1962 provide an accurate cross-section of the sculptor’s recent work when compared with the Speed Museum’s recent retrospective. The sculptures, mostly of the female nude, are worked in a non-sensuous cast bronze medium. Butler appears to be influenced by the lost-wax conceptions of Degas. His figures often strike similar poses and reveal a similar way of seeing. At his best, in works like “Girl on a Wheel I,” “Study for

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  • Phil Hefferton

    Rolf Nelson Gallery

    Phil Hefferton’s oil renderings based on U.S. paper currency are, of course, absurd. They are inaccurate, badly painted, misspelled, egotistical, flagrantly disrespectful, and usually ludicrous. And one cannot help but admire them for just those reasons, which is exactly the accomplished intention of the artist. To fully understand the point of Hefferton’s statement, one should justifiably demand a comprehensive exhibit such as this first local one of Hefferton’s now famous “mad money.”

    What the artist points out is that there is another world within the world of paper money. There is American

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  • Harold Stevenson

    Feigen-Palmer Gallery

    This Paris-based American painter shows large blowups of portions of the nude male figure. The paintings have achieved a certain amount of notoriety in terms of their monumental approach to the figure. One, of a reclining man, done in a number of separate segments, is over 22 feet long. But the other paintings are not particularly large; only the subject matter is enlarged. A finger may be a foot high or a mouth three feet wide. The artist’s technique is basically competent and academic. The only element which might warrant acclaim is the gimmick of enlargement. The avant-garde claims made for

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  • Paul Wonner and William (Theo) Brown

    Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara

    This dual show displays watercolors and drawings of Paul Wonner and paintings and drawings of William (Theo) Brown. These two artists have individual, rich vocabularies with which to articulate their observations and render their images. Wonner, a native of Tucson, Arizona, received most of his art education at the University of California, Berkeley. During his development he has accepted the permissive standards of abstract expressionism, and before that of pure plastic art and of cubism. He is now considered a figurative painter. He has also sweated through the workshop of disciplined classroom

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  • Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and Larry Poons

    Ferus Gallery

    This is an exhibition of examples, mostly quite recent, of work by important younger New York painters. Included are Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and Larry Poons. Of particular interest is the large Andy Warhol “Purple Disaster,” one of this artist’s recent death-and-destruction series that moves away from the usual conceptions of Pop Art into a brutal, formal idea, and the Larry Poons which places a small lavender spot on a large flat orange space, the orange space being held to the picture plane by a very lightly-drawn grid of

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  • James Weeks

    Felix Landau Gallery

    Weeks’ canvases exhibit a high but uneven quality, due in part to a multiplicity of direction. They are generally of solid construction and bluntly rendered. The wide value range is shot through with arbitrary increases of high-key color, and the shapes sharply simplified to a point of illustrative description. But as he struggles to preserve a strictly detached attitude toward his subject matter, an underlying motive is discernible. His genre scenes of children are untainted by sympathy, the landscapes are cropped and flattened as in a binocular or telescopic view, and the allegories and film

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  • Bernard Zimmerman

    Ankrum Gallery

    Cast bronze pieces of sculpture by Bernard Zimmerman are intimate in scale, sensual in appearance. For the most part, these small pieces are planar in format, functioning much like freestanding bas-reliefs. Surfaces are richly and impressionistically articulated, adding a tactile dimension to the wedge and disc shapes.

    Works exhibited are from the artist’s “blind series.” Each piece shows in some way the subject breaking through the darkness, or experiencing the first glimmerings of perception. This takes place through partially opened windows, through organic orifices, and through blister-like

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  • George Csengeri

    Paideia Gallery

    There is a considerable sense of paradox in these recent oils by Hungarian George Csengeri. Yet their paradox does not seem to lie in any emotional tensions generated by artistic intent. In spite of nicely woven interplays between textures and extremely subtle color variations, the artist manages to imbue his paintings with a grave stillness. Stillness itself can take many forms. There is the quiet before the storm and the silence after. There is that of a man sleeping and that of a man dying. And therein lies the paradox, for these paintings dote upon a silence wholly enigmatic; and, as one

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  • Abraham Walkowitz, Gilbert Stuart, Paul Sample, Thomas Hill, Albert Bierstadt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Wilhelm Blanke and Robert Kaufman

    University of Southern California

    The one unifying aspect of this display is the fact that all the works represent recent gifts to the Fine Arts Department of U.S.C. Material on view ranges from Roman and Egyptian glassware to Russian icons; from Kanjiro stoneware to a monumental map of Paris, and from a paper globe of the world to a painting someone has attempted to ascribe to Goya.

    To list a few of the items and their donors, we have thirteen drawings and watercolors dating around 1904 to 1929 by the lyrical Abraham Walkowitz. Included here are some studies of lsadora Duncan in less active poses as well as some other patterns

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  • Arthur Dubinsky

    Beach State College

    The documentary photographer normally works with a minimum of camera equipment, attempting to capture moments or incidents as they occur, without the attempt to interpose his own personality or the consciousness of the camera between the viewer and the subject. This is difficult to do, for the very choice of which angle to shoot, or which element of the whole is important brings out the photographer’s background and personality. However, to be successful, to record, to capture a moment is the photographer’s aim. And in this, Mr. Dubinsky is successful.

    To do more, to create photographs that either

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  • G. Ray Kerciu

    Comara Gallery

    Kerciu, a misplaced Michiganian, is the artist who “defiled” the flag of the Confederacy during a temporary tour of teaching at “Ole Miss.” In five pseudopop works he managed to enrage all that is dear to the Southern heart—prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and segregation. The consequences were threats of a substantial fine and up to seven months in jail. Kerciu now teaches at a Southern California university, fortunately, and his diminished subject matter shows it.

    Politics aside, these most recent works would seem to indicate an over refinement of his New Realist mode. Some of them, especially

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  • Dennis Beal and John L. Ihle

    Comara Gallery

    Intaglio prints by these two Bay Area printmakers fulfill major pre-requisites of printmaking: a sense of craftsmanship, and respect for the materials of the chosen medium. Without exception these pieces, employing aqua-tint, etching, and sugarlift, are exquisitely and flawlessly printed. Both artists realize and utilize the interplay of white paper and inked, incised areas. lhle uses classical tondo shapes when his lyrical, flowing forms dictate. Beal’s crisp images are contained within irregularly shaped metal plates, sometimes used in multiples to impress sculpture-like inked and inkless

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  • I. H. Prinzmetal

    Galerie de Ville

    The work of Prinzmetal seems to pose the problem, common to many painters, of what to paint after one has learned how to paint. The work is competent enough, but uncommunicative and Prinzmetal’s interest seems to wander. The painter’s eye is reflective, but it is not enough simply to mirror surroundings—he must make them seem important or make his way of seeing important. In short, one must be convinced that there is a reason for his painting. The work here is good enough so that one wishes it were better.

    Joan Hugo

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  • Robert Moesle

    Gallery De Silva, Santa Barbara

    Robert Moesle is a young California figurative painter currently working in France. He is personally deeply involved in his paintings, has a message and works it through in his canvases. Moesle’s main theme is the universal suffering of mankind, reflected in his titles and subject matter. “They Refuse to Renounce” is an emotional painting of religious persecution through the ages, with tortured bodies moving forward from the cross in an unceasing stream of agony. “Exception to the Rule” is a large oil done in monochromatic yellows of a massive Negro woman reaching for freedom, holding a gossamer

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  • John Lentine

    Feingarten Galleries

    Half-a-dozen years ago this young and enterprising painter developed a patently successful formula for mass-producing hand painted postcards of European views. Rather than indulging in the usual manner of nostalgic shorthand most often encountered, he heightens his souvenirs with direct tactile appeal (dry brush over a textural ground), fragments of brilliant under-painting, structural solidity through black outlines and tracery, and suffocating Mediterranean light and heat with the extensive use of white. Just as his realistic technique is a relative novelty in this field, so is his selection

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  • James Pinto

    Silvan Simone Gallery

    Luminous, lyric landscapes done over the past several years reveal a preoccupation with natural forces and moods. The works tend toward an oversimplification, perhaps because shapes are neatly arranged along a horizon, with little concern for intervening space. “Approaching Storm,” in which the shapes are more loosely arranged, is more successful. The still lifes are more dynamic, the point of view is different, perhaps because the space is enclosed. Here, as in the drawings, the concern is for surface rather than form.

    Joan Hugo

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  • Herb Hazelton, Seem, Garadedian, Elgart, Louis Lunetta, Burt Frederickson, Marvin Harden, Ed Carrillo, Ray Brown, Lance Richbourg, and Ross

    Ceeje Gallery

    The show, titled “Paintings of Women,” ranged from parody to primitive in perhaps as successfully diverse but homogeneous a theme exhibition as any stable of artists could provide. Herb Hazelton garners the prize of “success de scan-dale” with “Marilyn (Monroe) and Aunt Jemima” in a poor-taste, commercial illustration technique paraphrase of Manet’s “Olympia” A run of small paintings by Seem, Garadedian, Elgart, and Ross produced the cumulative effect of a highly disturbing rogues’ gallery of empathic distortion. As visionary is an exotic “Geraldine Page” by Louis Lunetta, in gun metal grey and

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  • Emil Bisttram, Louise Ganthiers, Michael Klein, Robert Day, Louis Ribak, Oli Shivonen, Jim Simmons and Charles Stewart

    Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego

    A show with a title “Art and the Atom,” a sponsor, the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, and, avowedly, a purpose, to use fine art to assist in the recruitment of brains. There are so many things involved in a show of this sort. First of all you wonder if any of the works did pull any brains out West. If it did, of course it was successful. But now it’s being sent around for all to see, and all the original admonishments should be forgotten (but they still dominate the catalog). It’s now a museum show, and not a very good one at that. But it does have some surprises. For one thing everyone is

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  • Leonard Paz, John Barbour, Joel Schiller, Edward Cornachio, Constantine Tavoularis, Belle Osipow and Gerda Penfold

    Los Angeles Art Association

    Under the capable direction of Helen Wurdemann, the Los Angeles Art Association’s gallery continues to encourage young promising talents by displaying their wares in the very shadow of the giants of La Cienega. Keeping this admirable policy in mind acts very much as a pair of rose-colored glasses—one tends to overlook the shortcomings in order to preserve the purpose of the exhibition program. In view of the restricted number of works allowed per artist (in this case never more than six) it might be assumed that what we see represents the cream of the artists’ crop. It is discouraging to believe

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  • Bruce Barton and Al Sarvis

    Flea Market West, San Diego

    Bruce Barton’s work illustrates again the central (and often commented on) problem of the San Francisco figure painters: how to install two vastly different paintings in one rectangle. Although this gives the best examples of the school an exquisite nervousness, it’s really a risky business. It’s like drinking sea water. Only once in a while does a person get away with it. Barton works strongly and occasionally elegantly in this mode, and although he never seems to come up with the big painting, there is never a lot of mere gesture either. Neither he nor Al Sarvis, who shows some art school

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  • Joseph Nyiri

    Orr's Gallery, San Diego

    Nyiri works very competently and freely within the tradition of welded sculpture, eschewing gimmicks and obviously believing in what he’s doing. Even his tendency to overwork his surfaces springs from a commendable concern with making, rather than merely accepting. He could be a little more ruthless with the space he expropriates, and more restless, but these are not matters sufficient to vitiate the overall impression of solidity his work conveys. In “Cytology of a Whale,” he does get restless under the constraints of mere physics, and effects a truly telling and passionate piece. It will be

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  • Maurice Chabas and Armin C. Hansen

    Cowie Galleries

    From this grab-bag of irritating “pleasantries” only Maurice Chabas (1862–1948) and the late Armin C. Hansen contribute standouts. The Chabas’ include an impressionist coast panorama and a far more interesting figure group arrayed beneath a swirling arabesque of foliage. In this canvas he seems to have been bridging in parallel the academic grace of Puvis de Chavannes with the consistently dotted surface and rigid color system prevalent in the era when pointilism, the Nabis, and early Fauve impulses were proceeding on their diverse ways. As an accessory to a crucial period it has an inherent

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  • Ken Glenn

    Ryder Gallery

    Recent sculpture by Ken Glenn extends in a variety of esthetic directions. Several welded steel arabesques—“Tightrope” and “Trapeze”—are truly engineering achievements. Elongated figures articulate the surrounding space, not by moving through it, but by resting in it in a state of improbable equilibrium. Modulated pointillist surfaces contrast with and relieve the rigid system of balanced arcs and curves. In a second group, Arplike organic masses spring from footed bases. Glenn here exhibits a feel for the richness of irregularly rounded metal; brushed highlights glow against murky depths. Mostly

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  • Michael Seuphor

    Esther Robles Gallery

    Once again we are treated with a show of works by Michel Seuphor who has long been known for his versatility and contributions in the modern arts both visual and verbal. Here we see his own vision of reality. Intuitive without emotionalism, meditative, the perfect harmony or blend where the apparent accident becomes so harmonious to the inner compatibility with the flux of life that the spontaneity of an entity becomes coincident with totality. The self awareness and perceptiveness to the flow of life necessary for the control Seuphor achieves is evident in the beauty of resolution of his works.

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  • Mary Lee McNutt

    Rex Evans Gallery

    The showing of glazed oils and transparent watercolors demonstrate obvious mastery and maturity, and as in “Seascape #10,” “Santa Monica Pier,” and “Treasures,” the ability of the artist to raise the commonplace to a rare degree of poetic delight. Doubts arise in assessing the merit of rigid repeated lines of construction in this feminine vaporousness.

    From internal evidence it may be possible to simulate McNutt’s muse of artistry and beauty. Stepping past an isolating vignette and into a world of tasteful romanticism, she appears bathed in diaphanous flows, robed in impeccable sophistication,

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  • Anya Fisher

    Galleria Gianni

    Many pleasant oil paintings are displayed of still-life, landscape and genre scenes using opaque oil in a loosely handled manner. One feels a certain lack of involvement and energy, a reliance on the anecdotal in a sentimental sense, a superficiality and lack of resolution of elements. The most striking effect is the apparent painting of these scenes over a generally bright underpainting. In certain areas the opaqueness of the top coat is left open to allow this undercoat to show through little windows, as it were, to the beyond. The possibilities of this concept and its development are very

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  • Gerd Koch, Jack Zajac and Keith Finch

    Long Beach Museum of Art

    This exhibition, comprising thirty-two paintings, was apparently selected as representative of the various trends in nature paintings done by thirty Southern California artists over the past ten years. An exhibition chosen to survey a variety of styles with emphasis placed on a common theme plus a time element always promises contrasts in the artists’ personal approach which stimulates greater public interest. This exhibition unfortunately points up the fact that “name” artists are not always well represented when the works bearing their signatures were done a decade ago—before they achieved a

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  • Moselle Townsend, Marsha Singer, Jari Havlena, Bently Schaad, Richard Stine, and Robert Freimark

    Paul Rivas Gallery

    Moselle Townsend, Marsha Singer, Jari Havlena, Bently Schaad, Richard Stine, and Robert Freimark each have one or two paintings in this group exhibition of gallery artists. Two pieces seem worthwhile. Moselle Townsend uses a triptych format for “Rock Forms.” Impasto and collage materials—sand, string, burlap—are skillfully and purposefully combined in earth tones, subtly playing off contrasting textures. The triptych format, which could have easily turned into a gimmick, becomes an integral part of the conception. Transitions between the panels are made easily, and spring naturally from the

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