San Francisco

“The Square Drawing”

San Francisco Art Institute

While the San Francisco Art Institute would appear all too willing to accelerate confusion in the nomenclature of Art by its elastic definition of the word “drawing,” the simple and specific limitations it imposed upon works to be submitted for this juried exhibition stimulated some of the most crisply economical and highly individual statements in black, white and grey that one has seen locally for some time. Jacques Fabert’s Finlandaise (oil) is a singularly powerful figure study, heroic in its mannerism but without bravura affectation or Expressionist cliche. Sonya Rapoport’s abstract Dream Concept 2, uses the square format as pedal-point against which to build acid, tangential dissonances, simple and compelling, while Leonard Breger’s The Blues humorously paraphrases Rococo extravagance in a florid cadenza of virtuoso draftsmanship. Deborah Remington explores hard-edged abstraction along new pathways in her pencil study, Image, where the stereoscopies of black and white space definition are manipulated in a startling fashion. Jean Hyson and Mona Beaumont turn up, here, with works of high personal intensity and bold clarity of thought. Miss Hyson chose oil and charcoal to vary the tangibility of shapes, dark and ominous, that seem borne on the periphery of an explosion, veiling the white heat at its core. In contrast, Miss Beaumont’s study in ink, The Kiss, economically conjures interlocking cardioid forms endowed with the elegant, contoured solidity of marble sculpture. While the artists here mentioned seem to have contributed the most persuasive work, none of the exhibitors fall below a fairly solid floor of competence and discernment. One can only conjecture that the huristic challenge implicit in concrete limitations provides a much needed impetus to potential talents floundering among too many possibilities in the ebb-tide of three decades of anti-disciplinarian and “anti-intellectual” forms of expressionism.

––Palmer D. French