San Francisco

“Paris Biennale Sculptors, ’63”

In its upstairs annex Art Unlimited has on display representative pieces by the Bay Area sculptors who had other pieces in the Parisian exhibition. Victor Royer has modern classical sculpture in very precise and crafts-manlike celebration of the mechanical tool: one of these looks a little like a drill press; is, in fact, a sculptural collage of machine parts—gears, rings, shafts, etc., welded together with a very careful bead. Across the board in tool imagery, Arlo Acton has glued, doweled, and nailed pieces of hacked, sawed and finished wood into complexes that are a little reminiscent of the framer’s shop wooden vise. Erik Gronborg uses much the same material as Acton to achieve a quite different sort of form: Gronborg’s are open and expanding while Acton’s are closed and ingrown. Fred Sauls has cut a pop shocker called Sugar with acetylene burning torch. Jerome Johnson has put together a visceral-mechanical Winemaker. David Lynn has produced scarf-like figures by beating and bending pipes. The use of new tools has inspired these sculptors to a new consciousness of the tool.

Stephen de Staebler has cut his modeled wall relief into three for baking, and the cuts seem essential to the design. This piece is a sort of earth mother. Bruce Beasley’s offering in this collection is a dancing ostrich in interestingly textured cast aluminum. There are also pieces by a couple of other sculptors who were not in the Bienale: Neri and Voulkos.

On the walls of this show are minor paintings by Arne Hiersoux. These are improvisations on the bone-like image which were seen at the Legion of Honor a short while ago, in a show of large oils. Hiersoux’s painting is obsessive: the bone theme is always present, and each painting is a variation on another. These are painted in black, white and mauve, and are thus on the order of paint drawings.

Knute Stiles