reviews

  • Viola Hildebrand and Harold L. Downer

    Lucien Labaudt Gallery

    Miss Hildebrand exhibits abstractions in oil bearing such titles as “The Place No One Knew Water,” “Duel in the Sun Water,” and various other “Waters,” in which the obvious attempt is to evoke the rhythms and colors characteristic of lakes, pools, reflecting foliage, and other natural water surfaces. As the titles imply, one is here confronted with a rather cloyingly Romantic Abstract Impressionism, indifferent in both conception and execution. Mr. Downer’s abstractions are monotonously repetitive, suggestive of commercial designs for textured linoleum.

    Palmer D. French

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  • Melvin Hanson

    Green Gallery

    This small gallery has devoted three successive exhibitions to a memorial retrospective of works by the late Melvin Hanson. It is clear that the automobile collision which claimed Mr. Hanson’s life in 1962, at the age of 24, deprived the Bay Area of a promising artist in his formative years. The quotations from his writings in the gallery brochure as well as the exhibited work, reveal not only a youthful exuberance but a mystical viewpoint, reminiscent of William Blake’s, encompassing in its contemplations the demonic, the Dionysian, and the naively beatific. Currently exhibited is a series of

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  • Jack Carrigg, Taiji Kiyokawa, Grover H. McLeod, Walter Snelgrove, Bill Snyder, William Morehouse, Robert Kabak, Elizabeth Campbell, Wayne Thiebaud, Charles E. Gill, Robert McChesney, Sam Tchakalian, Peter Shoemaker and Geoffrey Bowman

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    This winter invitational, selected by Howard Ross-Smith, with prizewinners selected by Miss Ninfa Valvo, exhibits many newcomers, and many of the more well-known artists are absent. This marks the end of a five year experiment in invitational annuals, and next year’s annual exhibition plans are now still a matter of speculation.

    The vertical stripe painting of Jack Carrigg uses vibrant colors within bars of relatively small variation, and with diffuse edges. This format does not cause the color vibrancies to produce jumpy after-images, as do sharp-edge abstractions, but makes the color glow and

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  • Elmer Bischoff

    Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

    A special preview of 10 paintings and 8 drawings from Bischoff’s Spring-scheduled exhibition at Staempfli’s, in New York. The purpose of the Bischoff preview is to select one of his works for the Crocker Gallery’s Contemporary Collection.

    An incurable romantic, Bischoff still holds mainly to figurative painting, and currently favors rounded, strongly modeled figures reminiscent of Corot’s Italiennes. Stripped to their bare emotions, they stand, clothed or nude, staring with unquenchable yearning toward a far horizon, or gazing with tender narcissism into a mirror or pool.

    Some of his more recent

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  • Robert McChesney

    San Francisco Art Center

    In this McChesney exhibition the majority of the pictures are part of the “Hair Suite,” and a few are from a group of paintings called “Arena.” The latter are bright enamels (painted matt, not glossy) with sand in the medium. The colors have a dye quality, and they spread and mix with a fluidity which is different but suggestive of what happens with a very wet use of watercolor. They are rhythmic with drawn lines. The lines are not present in the “Hair Suite” paintings: These are atmospheric and panoramic; their message is romantic and poetic. Romantic as a vast cloudy skyscape, or the map of

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  • Peter Voulkos, Manuel Neri, Abraham Schlemowitz, James Melchert, Jerome Johnson, David Lynn, Robert McChesney, Joan Brown, Hassel Smith, Earl Loran, Morris Yarowsky, Karl Kasten, Joan Matthews, Matt Glavin, Howard Margolis, James Monte and more

    Berkeley Gallery

    An exhibition arranged specifically to raise funds for the above organizations through the sale of art works, this show brings together an encouragingly large percentage of excellent work by the best cross-section of Northern California’s art community that could be hoped for. Contrary to the usual run of benefit exhibitions, to which artists contribute half-heartedly at best, this one was organized by an artist, Fred Sauls, and elicited a quick and enthusiastic response from artists throughout the area—a fact well indicated by the high quality of the works which the artists chose to contribute.

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  • Jeremy Anderson

    Dilexi Gallery

    Anderson is currently exhibiting sculpture from the years 1950 through 1963, inclusively. The show amounts to a small (twelve works), well-chosen resume of the past thirteen years’ activity. In 1950, Anderson, along with a handful of other sculptors, were the only artists in this country exploring the possibilities of surrealist-inspired abstraction in sculptural terms. His untitled magnesite piece of 1950 with its visceral imagery combined with a bone-like surface treatment has the same doomed quality as some of Picasso’s drawings and paintings of the so-called “Bone” period. The piece representing

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  • Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Stuart Davis, Ben Shahn, Abraham Rattner, Jacob Lawrence, Morris Graves and Mark Tobey

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    The Halpert Collection was gradually put together in the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s, and though some significant tendencies are absent, it is a large and fairly inclusive representation of American art of that period. There are paintings here which recall the importance of various painters whom one hasn’t even thought about or heard mentioned for years, and it should be an informative experience for the museum-goer of many years standing to assess his own taste against the ravages of time and the caprices of the market.

    Some of the earliest work in the show seems, from our perspective, to be the

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  • Frank Hamilton and Arne Wolf

    Richmond Art Center

    Geophysical surrealism, calligraphy as pictures, plus an educational exhibit of the methods and materials of casting.

    Hamilton, a former potter and sculptor, abandoned clay in 1960 to become a full-time painter. He has studied with Hans Hofmann and Ralph DuCasse, and before he quit pottery he must have come into contact with Miró’s ceramic plaques. Excepting for an occasional flare of color, there is little of Hofmann left in his work. DuCasse, however, seems to have left an indelible impression. Hamilton has used his islands and pods of color, adding to them Miró’s precise and lively freeform

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  • Elaine De Kooning

    Art Unlimited Gallery

    This exhibition contains both portraits and abstractions. The heads of the portraits are painted with careful attention, and the rest swiftly brushed in. Despite the sketchy quality of her figures, one notices a fascination on the artist’s part with the way people sit. In the abstractions there is also some representational subject matter, sitting figure, bulls, etc., but their significance is abstract, and the subject is merely the vehicle of form, just as the Cubists used conventional still life objects as a point of departure rather than as an object whose nature was of any importance. Indeed,

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  • Victor Royer, Arlo Acton, Erik Gronborg, Fred Sauls, Jerome Johnson, David Lynn, Stephen de Staebler, Bruce Beasley, Neri, Voulkos and Arne Hiersoux

    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

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  • Dicron Injeyan and Richard Crawford

    Distel Gallery

    This gallery, another in the ever-increasing list of vanguard galleries on the suburban perimeter of San Francisco, affords the best possible hanging space of any gallery in the Bay Area. The two rooms are provided with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing a maximum amount of natural light to enter throughout the day. The physical characteristics of the gallery make it impossible to overcrowd the current exhibition of paintings by Richard Crawford and Dicron lnjeyan. Both artists can be described as “Pop” and written about in terms of “commonest subject matter,” ironic social protest, unpainterly

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  • Edvard Munch, Emile Nolde, Ernst Barlach, Aristide Maillol, Kirchner and Heckel

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    The title of this exhibition refers to the penchant of 20th-century artists for rough cut, grain cut, more broadly done woodcuts. With no slight to Gauguin intended, it is likely that the advent of the photographic reproduction had more to do with the decline of the picayunely detailed engraving than anything the great post-impressionist had to contribute to the trend. The Gauguins were carved in almost grainless wood, and his blacks are as rich and soft as dry point etchings. The grain cut experiments, as this exhibition indicates, were left to Edvard Munch, in particular, though there is

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  • Joe Clark and Ernest Rosenthal

    Quay Gallery

    Clark’s sculpture in welded sheet steel ambitiously attempts to re-create the heroic quality of high Baroque in terms of contemporary junk sculpture. The irony of his ambition must be clear to Clark since his inclusion of a piece of automobile trim doubling as a sword in the hand of one warrior-effigy is a jolting commentary on the work’s contemporaneousness. The copulating dead or dying man-woman warrior hero seems to be a trap into which any number of sculptors fall and out of which few appear to emerge with tangible results. Clark’s smaller, more quiescent pieces, with their carefully

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  • Harold Margolis and Gardiner McCauley

    Berkeley Gallery

    Margolis is a highly competent painter who gambles with various styles, coming up with certain notable benefits. (From such sources as Goya, Ensor, Redon and Gauguin.) Despite his study with the late David Park, whose influence shows here only in the lush paint surface, his most substantial gain seems to be from Gauguin, not so much in the use of color, although his colors can be rich as well as bright, or in 2-dimensional space, but in his aspiration toward a pictorial equivalent of states of mind.

    His small landscapes, in which he creates spaciousness by refusing to linger over details, are

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  • Dan Szpakowski

    Artists Cooperation, Sacramento

    Szpakowski shows both paintings and drawings here. He identifies with that group of Sacramento artists who examine the landscape of the surrounding area with an eye to its structure rather than sweetly describing it. But he varies in that he chooses his subjects from mountain tops: creeping snowpacks, precarious rockfalls and flying wedges of forest. Subjects which offer compelling diagonals in contrast to the endless horizontals of the Valley floor. Szpakowski is at his best in those small drawings where strong oblique lines trace the special flaws in a rock, or a glacier, which are first to

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  • Bay Area Art

    First Savings and Loan Association

    This exhibit differs from the usually dismal character of group shows chosen at random to open new banks, shopping centers or other private commercial establishments. In selecting as its principal juror, Mr. Dennis Beal, curator of prints of the Achenbach Foundation, the First Savings & Loan Association displayed great artistic acumen. Mr. Beal has hung the exhibit in a thoroughly professional manner and each and every artist chosen by Mr. Beal is very definitely a professionally committed member of the Bay Area art community.

    Mr. Beal has selected 39 painters and sculptors to represent the Bay

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  • Dame Cosmy

    Maxwell Galleries

    Dame Cosmy was born in Greece and died, an octogenarian, in San Francisco. She began painting late in life and adopted a “folk primitive” style, curiously resembling that of Grandma Moses and devoid of any traces of Byzantine heritage or of the contemporary folk art of Greece. The subject matter of most of her exhibits is retrospections of her childhood on the Greek Island of Poros and of her European travels. As the genre goes, her work is colorful and “charming,” but lacks the enduring appeal of humor and crispness that Grandma Moses assimilated from the rural folk art of New England.

    Outstanding

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  • Robert Gronendyke, Charles Gill, Ben Langton, Wally Hedrick, and Clayton Pinkerton

    San Francisco Art Institute

    A curator from the Delgado Museum selected a San Francisco exhibition, mostly from the Art Bank, for hanging in New Orleans. The Institute has now hung the show in their own exhibition room. A considerable part of the show is Dada-Pop—a carnival noise with puns, jokes and satires after the long night of humorless searching to which the expressionists subjected themselves. Dada-Pop looks like an escape divertissement: bright, brash, and jazzy, but its meanings are mostly ironical, and it is—hate it or love it—of the very stuff of the real world, painted, pasted and tacked together impertinently.

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  • Fred Dekker, Ed Handelman and Barbara Spring

    Hollis Galleries

    There seems to be no significance, either in terms of contrast or of parallelism in the juxtaposition of work by these three artists. Mr. Dekker presents numerous ink drawings in which vaguely suggested clusters of featureless figures emerge from areas of ink wash alternated with uniformly dense meshes of thick lines and whorls busily spreading to the margins of the paper. There is nothing in these drawings to indicate that Mr. Dekker possesses the slightest sensitivity to his medium; all of the problems, as well as the vast range of resources of drawing are neglected. Mr. Handelman’s collage

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  • Brian Peacock and David Tindle

    Gallerie de Tours

    Mr. Peacock presents figurative themes, primarily on ecclesiastical motifs, stylistically manipulated in a “flat,” but by no means hard-edged manner, usually dividing his canvas into unequal rectangular areas of muddy color. Mr. Tindle presents a wider variety of subject matter, including some banal portraiture employing thin washes of neutral, transparent color to a linen surface. Both of these painters seem preoccupied with a flaccid and prosaic rectilinear syntax, dish-water tonal values of grey and green, and clammy surface-textures producing a singularly brackish drabness.

    Palmer D. French

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  • Warren Parker and Victor Heady

    Vido Gallery, Sacramento

    The Vido is Sacramento’s newest gallery, located in Town and Country suburb. Its current exhibition roster indicates that it will cater to the more plebian tastes of the suburbanite. Which confronts Heady and his partner, Don Wilson, who own the gallery, with a problem of policy: determining their responsibilities as tastemakers as well as merchandisers.

    This small opening show features an exhibition of works done in the past three years by Parker, a young man of very irregular performance, and a token show by Heady, himself. Since the gallery is small (though tastefully appointed) and emphasis

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  • Steve Elvin and Tomur Atagok

    Vorpal Galleries

    This small North Beach gallery has recently added some impressive talent to its stable. Outstanding among the newer young painters is Miss Tomur Atagok, whose large abstract oil on canvas, “Reaching No. 3,” displays a capacity to conjure intriguing, bold, simple forms, dynamic contrasts, and extremely subtle modalities of texture and surface. Noteworthy among the recently acquired graphics exhibitors is Steve Elvin who evolves fantastic microcosms in labyrinthine whorls of tenuous linearities. Among the older regulars, Muldoon Elder, always a sensitive draftsman, is exploring new directions in

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