reviews

  • Llyn Foulkes

    Oakland Art Museum

    This is Northern California’s first large-scale showing of the work of one of the most promising young artists on the West Coast. An amazing quality of Llyn Foulkes is his apparently effortless ability to transform an essentially assemblage sensibility into the two-dimensionality of thin paint on canvas. This feat has been accomplished with absolutely no loss of intensity or expressive power. On the contrary, the newer works have a tomb-like finality surpassing the earlier constructions, if for no other reason than because the scabrous materiality of the former works interfered with the ultimate

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  • “English Pottery, Swedish Folk Art”

    de Young Museum

    120 pieces of early English pottery from the Frank P. and Harriet C. Burnap collection housed in the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and the Atkins Museum of Fine Arts in Kansas City, and over 500 items of Swedish folk art in an eight-part exhibition from the Nordiska Museum, Stockholm.

    The new policy lined out for the de Young Museum by new Director Jack R. McGregor, does not eliminate the showing of contemporary art, but it evidently aims at curtailing it, which has its unfortunate side. However, such historical and educational exhibitions the de Young’s program, and some validity to

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  • Joanna Magloff and Arlo Acton

    Lanyon Gallery

    Mrs. Magloff, a graduate of Bennington College, has for the past two years lived in Berkeley, California. She has been active in the Bay Area art community as both a painter and a frequent contributor to Artforum and Art News. This is her first exhibition and it is refreshing to note that it is a good one. The paintings fall within the presently-defined limits of Hard-Edge Abstraction which, because the style is a radical distillation of approximately ten thousand years of artistic endeavor, is somewhat more easily defined by what it isn’t. Mrs. Magloff eschews all impulses to use paint as

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  • Richard Bowman

    Rose Rabow Gallery

    The “kinetogenic” series which Bowman has been painting recently, are whorls of pure energy in colors from the violet edges of the spectrum in vibrant relationship to the vivid primaries of the center. These paintings have much less sense of place or landscape than Bowman paintings we have seen before. The “Environs” group accompanying the energy pictures in this exhibition, are, on the other hand, specific about place: are of flower beds and branches of trees, painted with the same brilliant color intensity. This use of vibrant colors gives an all-over electric, textural effect in contrast to

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  • Bruce Breckenridge, Robert Biancalana and Kathan Brown

    Art Unlimited Gallery

    Breckenridge’s particular brand of Abstract Expressionist paint handling has undergone a radical revision, as evidenced by this latest exhibit, comprised of paintings completed over the last year. His former work suggested the wet-into-wet application of paint, using enormous brush loads of pigment, not unlike that of Michael Goldberg. Both Goldberg and Breckenridge carried a visual phenomenon, proposed by Willem de Kooning’s pictures of the late fifties, to a logical conclusion. Having worked out a particularly volatile style to what, for him, is an impasse, Breckenridge moves sideways in the

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  • Alex Nicoloff, June Felter, Pat Tavenner and Lillian Elliot

    Richmond Art Center

    Nicoloff, a sculptor, is Senior Artist in charge of exhibit design at the Lowie Museum of Anthropology, University of California. It is not unexpected, then, that some of his work would relate, in part, to primitive art, and some to sophisticated mutations. He shows small bronzes here, cast by the lost wax process. The character of the wax is apparent in thumb-printed surfaces, sensitive rotation of masses, crudely gouged grooves and thumped edges. Nicoloff, however, disclaims any special interest in materials as such. He says “That an image is Mainstream Abstract, is of the New Figurative

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  • Karla Moss and Richard McLean

    Berkeley Gallery

    Karla Moss uses letters, bands, symbols and script to heighten the visual interest of these recent paintings. Some are mainly decorative while others have that depth of content that is often born of form (like Inside a Diamond). It is the smaller paintings which, lacking that pretentiousness that so often characterizes works of exaggerated size, are most successful here. Among the drawings included, the group composition titled “Thinkers, Listeners, Watchers” is outstanding.

    McLean seems to be reaching for direction in this show of paintings and drawings. His works vary from stimulating drawings

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  • “Drawings and the Like”

    Dilexi Gallery

    Several of this gallery’s artists have undergone recent adjustments of style. Deborah Remington has carefully drawn pictures of objects which look like abstract sculpture. Disposed here and there on these forms are small emblems with symmetrical abstract images. Some painters make this sort of symmetrical image the object of the whole picture. We wonder if Remington will expand these forms until they come to conceal the larger form. Roy De Forest is still using his same forms, but has now arranged them symmetrically: arms reach into the picture from both sides to button a coat fly which buttons

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  • Harold Altman, Faralla

    Gump’s Gallery

    Primarily known as a printmaker, Altman’s oil paintings reflect his extensive working knowledge of various printmaking mediums. His delicate, near-monochrome use of the etching process when transferred to the richer, many-hued oil medium suffers because he imposes the same restrictions on both, without regard to their fundamental differences. The painting entitled Blue Market, along with two small figure studies, break through into more painterly statements in a manner not unlike Bonnard. Altman’s ultimate salvation as a painter lies in areas where his gifts are strongest, i.e., as a draftsman.

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  • Eric Gronborg

    Dilexi Gallery

    Gronborg, a Norwegian, arrived in the United States in 1960 and subsequently attended the University of California at Berkeley. He has been closely associated with the group casting operation at the foundries in and around Berkeley for the past three years. This year’s first prize at the Paris Biennial was awarded to Gronborg for the three wooden pieces entered in the exhibition.

    Curiously enough, the cast aluminum, bronze and steel pieces frankly depicting fragments of the male and female anatomies, are far more satisfying art objects than the wooden pieces to which Malraux & Co. awarded their

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  • “Emanual Walter Collection”

    San Francisco Art Institute

    This selection of approximately fifty works from the two hundred Mr. Walter left to the San Francisco Art Institute was performed by two Bay Area artists—Robert Hartman and John Pearson. The oil paintings by 19th-century European artists such as Rousseau, Corot and Millet are all small works in which the main concern is with the French landscape, handled in a typically Barbizon manner. Another facet of the collection, perhaps less successful artistically, but certainly fascinating, is the drawing and painting of 19th-century artists in the salon styles of Munich and Paris. One picture in

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  • Group Show

    Cellini Gallery

    This new and spacious though low-ceilinged gallery on McAllister Street near the Civic Center opens with a diversified group show comprised of work in various media by ten artists. Bella Feldman and Henri Marie-Rose exhibit metal sculpture. Mrs. Feldman essays chunky pieces interesting for their modalities of shape, texture and surface corrugation, while Mr. Marie-Rose expounds decoratively lyrical compositions in sheet metal with schematized references to the figure. Bob Arneson provides the shocker of the show with some Surrealistic horseplay in the form of two grotesquely fashioned and painted

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  • Wesley Chamberlain, Richard Graf and Robert Bechtle

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    Mr. Chamberlain’s representational lithographs, such as Still Life for a Catholic Vintner and Sunday’s Ladies, comprise a tour de force of the draftsmanship and technical virtuosity employed with more range and imagination in his intaglio collages and tusche drawings. In Tuttle Flowers and in the Morning Objects series one finds sensitive explorations of “tonal” and morphodynamic space.

    Mr. Graf, turning to the rich heritage of North European Expressionism, essays lithographs and drawings evoking erotic fantasies and eerie, dreamlike architectural interiors, and demonstrating a consummate grasp

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  • Etel Adnan

    Karmanaduca Gallery

    Those courageous enough to go through a gift shop of fur rugs and cute cookies (all handsome stuff, but an unlikely prelude to good painting) were rewarded by seeing the first show of Etel Adnan in a white, uncluttered back chamber. Her small abstractions painted with a fresh and fat use of bright paint (the way De Stael could use paint) left a very large impression in the mind’s eye. They do not lend themselves to literary descriptions; probably the best visual art would not. They are formal without being a formal exercise: she commands the formality. The picture is a visual celebration to

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  • Jane Wilson, Jeoffrey Fricker, African Sculpture

    Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

    Jane Wilson exhibits pretty much the same show she had at Gump’s Gallery, San Francisco, in October. Her atmospheric landscapes are symphonies of color and movement. Reminiscent of Monet’s impressionism and of Sargent’s flickering watercolor brush-stroke, they evoke a romantic mood suggesting capsules of time and nature to be held in the memory like pearls on a rosary. Miss Wilson speaks the firm visual language of the action painter, but in a breathless whisper. And she knows when she has said enough.

    The African sculptures are from the collection of Dr. Ladislas Segy of New York. About 40 items

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  • Williamson Mayo and Francis de Erdely

    Maxwell Galleries

    In Mr. Mayo’s oil paintings a torrid and colorful treatment of Tahitian landscape and people veers from a Folk-Primitivism (that is more West Indian than Polynesian) in such statements as Three Tahitian Churches to a Fauvist handling of landscape rhythms and colors in “Glade Near Papete,” and then careens into a Gauguinesque exposition of figurative themes. To all of these assimilations, however, Mr. Mayo adds an individual transformation derived, according to the gallery statement, from his virtuosity and experience as “one of the best living poster artists.”

    Co-featured is a small selection of

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  • Louis Gutierrez and Julian Block

    San Francisco Art Center

    The two-man exhibition at the art center is a study in contrasts. Louis Gutierrez works in low relief collage, mostly of cardboard and canvas, with a basically geometric formulation. Most of these are in whites, greys and off-whites, but some are sepia monotones, and when he has introduced color it is as if the color has been worn away and remains as a weathered relic of some former condition. The result is that one feels one is experiencing color through light, and the light has its own color generalities intermixed with the specifics of the object seen. This is a reflective way of seeing and

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  • “Clairol Collection”

    de Young Museum

    An exhibition indicative of the growing trend among large American corporations to form art collections and circulate them for public exhibition. In this collection the prints and drawings are from The Clairol Collection, with sculptures and paintings lent by various museums, art galleries or private collectors. Will Barnett, Ben Johnson and Lester Johnson have lent their own works. As with many collections, this one is limited by the tastes and aims of the patron, and is further confined by the theme: “Mother and Child.” It is circulated under the auspices of the American Federation of Arts,

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  • “New Art and Design of Sweden”

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    A large part of this exhibition takes on the character of a decorators’ show, participated in by various importers, and promotive of Swedish housewares, furniture, office equipment and items of industrial design—all of superb quality and attractively elegant.

    On the less utilitarian side, a hollow, quadrilateral glass shaft corrugated with polyhedroid configurations, designed by Sven Palmquist, achieves a scintillating prismatic beauty, and an abstract tapestry by Alice Lund exploits textures and luminosities of color uniquely within the domain of fabric surfaces and textile dyes.

    The Fine Arts

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  • Anders Zorn

    Palace of the Legion of Honor

    Zorn was the Karsh of his period, making expressive and dramatic portraits of famous people. The Achenbach Foundation has gathered together a representative group of Zorn’s etchings for the museum’s “Sweden Week” participation. Oscar II is seated aboard ship with fierce moustaches; Prince Paul Troubetskoy is looking fixedly at his subject as he models clay with his hands; Senator Billy Mason’s portrait is a revealing caricature of an extensive genre of American politicians; a singer’s face registers the melancholy of his song; Renan’s face reflects the wisdom of the ages. Present day man has

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  • Kenneth Rexroth and Ori Sherman

    Peacock Gallery

    Ori Sherman paints primitives utilizing the Rousseau catalog of subject matter (lions, tropical plants, etc.) supplemented with pointy-eared demons from the art nouveau, and rearing stallions from the Freudian symbology, all together in mad, populous dream fantasies. In those paintings with the greatest complexity an attitude of sophistication and surrealist decadence pervades, and obscures any easy generalization about meaning. But when the pictures are simpler, the symbolism more direct, the meanings are naively evident—almost gauche: muscular and proud Narcissus strides on a river-like

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  • “Decorative Art of the Young Balinese”

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    These are charming paintings of Balinese village life sensitively executed in the busy opulence of color and foliate rhythms that characterize the decorative and illustrative arts of Southeast Asia. Within the conventions of a traditional style, each of these young artists nevertheless achieves an individual expression. There are marked personal preferences in both choice of subject matter and tonality of palette. The exhibition is small but rewards perusal.

    Palmer D. French

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  • William J. Hughes and Walter N. Ball

    Sacramento State College

    Paintings in diverse approaches by two new members of the art faculty. Hughes was a science major before turning to art midway through the University of Oregon. He has selected canvases from four years of work here, and in them indicates that science and the tendency to categorize are still with him. This in no way devaluates his work; the scientist’s analytical approach can be of great value to the creative artist. Others, Mondrian and Albers, for instance, have preceded him in this field, but he does not emulate their work although he refers to their findings.

    His largest painting here is a

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  • Wally Devlin, Freeman Gadberry and Ruth Surdez

    Barrios Gallery, Sacramento

    Devlin’s big yellows are the most exciting works in this group show of new names. It also includes fantasy abstractions by Gadberry and assemblages of found objects, mainly of kitchen origin, worked into relief sculptures with richly colored surfaces by Surdez.

    Devlin pushes the yellow color to its extreme, in textured nonobjectives, and landscapes with figures. Yellow suggests the form of the triangle or pyramid with the point or apex down. As the color of highest visibility in the spectrum, it is sharp, angular and crisp in quality. Yet it does not have much weight, is more like light than

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  • Gary Swartzburg

    Greta Williams Gallery

    Mr. Swartzburg does small portrait etchings of impish, faun-like people—the playboys of art nouveau. There are etchings such as everyone needs—to take people home to see. Also drawings, somewhat larger, of people in bird costumes, in extravagant headdresses, an old maid flying with Leonardo’s wings in a Victorian chamber, etc. These are funny pictures, not cartoons: there is no caption, no point. But who wants points? Funny pictures are very diverting.

    Knute Stiles

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  • Jacques Fabert

    Gump’s Gallery

    This exhibition gives the impression of an off-season schedule filler. Mr. Fabert essays a slick and clichéd expressionism featuring studies of statuesque, muscular female nudes in which the figure surfaces together with elements of background are schematized in a purely decorative quasi-cubism. While Crosses on a Field, a landscape with figure,and La Beige, in which the manipulation of shapes approaches pure abstraction, are more convincing, the thinking, if not literally the style, throughout this showing, tends toward the Rockwell Kent genre of popular De Luxe Edition woodcut illustration.

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  • “Modern Twentieth Century Masters”

    Galerie de Tours

    This gallery has come up with its best show of recent months in turning dealer and importing from Europe an impressive selection of drawings by Feininger, Grosz, Klee, Lautrec, Modigliani, Pascin, Schiele, and Villon. Too much has been written and widely read on these familiar artists to say anything here, other than that this is an extremely worthwhile exhibition. One finds none of the student sketches, studio doodlings and potboilers often so eagerly bought by dealers to be cashed in on for the mere prestige of a distinguished autograph. Each exhibit is a telling and distinctive revelation of

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  • Janet Richards

    The Louvre Gallery

    Miss Richards’ watercolor studies of ,rightly-hued flowers are nicely handled and, in two or three examples, very beautiful. Her wet watercolor technique demands a high degree of creative concentration and recalls, in the best sense, the watercolors of Emil Nolde.

    James Monte

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  • Frank Milner

    Quay Gallery

    Milner’s exhibit is a decisive break with his own artistic past. His work of two or three tears back was characterized by an all-over spatially taut surface working out from the picture plane, bringing the image to the viewer. In the recent paintings, Milner has resorted to the use of Renaissance perspective—foreground, middle ground, background—to depict forms found in the Marin County countryside. But his success is not thereby assured. The forms and colors Milner uses tend to become monotonously repetitive when one is forced to focus in a gallery full of his pictures.

    James Monte

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  • Marie E. Johnson

    Lucien Labaudt Gallery

    These paintings are In heavy impasto of rich dark browns sometimes in the company of violet areas and in one called Lake, bright cerulean blue is the principal color. In one large painting cement has been used in the pigment to turn the browns into a terra cotta variant. This painting is entitled Wall and represents the artist’s remembrance of adobe walls from a trip to Mexico. There are also elements of collage material in some of the paintings. In one, for example, cloth used as the shirt of one figure, also becomes angel wings for another figure. This is a tragic picture of Negros painted

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  • Peter Shoemaker

    Hollis Galleries

    Mr. Shoemaker’s exhibition displays a diversity of approaches to problems of method and style. The core of his current showing, however, would appear to be a group of large, abstract seascapes in oil, in which, turning to the past, he expounds a sensitive rapport with both the palette and the cubism of Robert Delauney in the period between 1912 and 1913. Shoemaker is nonetheless disconcertingly unable to use this rapport as a point of departure for the building of a more personal idiom, but the results are technically competent and tasteful.

    Palmer D. French

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  • “Group Show”

    New Discoveries Gallery

    This small gallery intime on Columbus Avenue opens with an exhibition of items from the private collection of its proprietor, a much traveled retired business man whose catholicity of taste is reflected in the present showing. If the discerning selectivity of the dedicated collector seems wanting, the range alone has insured the inclusion of a few interesting and charming exhibits. Noteworthy among the current offerings are a sombre abstraction by Netter Worthington, Poise and Counterpoise, some extremely romantic and turbulent landscapes by Andrew Wing, and Thomas Blackwell’s sensitive and

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  • Gunnar Anderson

    Pantechnicon

    The lonely, thoughtful, pensive child is a recurring theme in Anderson’s oeuvre. Even in a picture of uniformed girls playing ball, the most poignant figure is the participant who is waiting. The palette is mostly of shades and greys, the mood meditative, the mode not quite contemporary, suggesting that these pictures are recollections of childhoods past.

    Knute Stiles

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  • John Mancini

    Eric Locke Gallery

    This is an all too extensive exhibition of oil paintings expounding schematically treated cityscapes and “checkerboard” agrarian landscapes. Some Italian Piazzas and roof-top scenes seem to be studies after de Chirico. The monotony and banality of it all soon permit attention to wander to the cradles of prints where one discovers the most truly inviting treasure-trove of graphics in San Francisco. Here are not only the great and familiar names among contemporary graphicists, but intriguing examples of work by a younger generation of as yet little-known Europeans.

    Palmer D. French

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  • Gabor Peterdi

    Original Prints

    These are very large engravings, rhythmic, complex and textural. There is a multi-color series resulting from a trip through the Southwest called “The Desert,” which is printed in dark colors made intense by complementary relationships. The plates were deeply bitten by the developing acids to produce an embossed effect which one really wants to touch, to reassure oneself that it is not an illusion.

    But in a graphic gallery, the exhibition is only a prelude: the small print gallery often has a veritable museum in folio, such as a gallery showing the major mediums couldn’t find space to show. This

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  • “Art and the Atom”

    Palace of the Legion of Honor

    The Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (which produced the original bomb) has fostered Taos artists by reproducing paintings to illustrate their employment advertisements, because, says the personnel director, “Printed words . . . do not suffice for conveying the excitement of taking part in scientific exploitations that begin on the verge of the unknown.” However that may be, the models for some of these paintings are well known: there are imitations of Kandinsky, Herbert Bayer, and Helion, among others.

    Knute Stiles

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