Los Angeles

Group Show

Ankrum Gallery

The sculpture in this show of the gallery group is divergent, ranging from Bernice Kussoy’s whimsical and active junk creations to Bruno Groth’s referential Aves theme bronzes.

Assembled from scrap metal, springs, rusted tins and corroding iron rods, Kussoy’s work often approaches the heroic in size if not in content. Welded into extraordinarily rhythmic and fluid figures brim full of fantasy, the creatures ride bicycles, play flutes, jump rope or, as in “Lady With a Parasol,” just sit. Groth’s “Rite of the Crane,” and “Sand Pipers,” are formed with affection and sensitivity, escaping the representational by eliminating superficial details yet retaining the complete essence of birds. Working in the lost wax process he personally casts each bronze. There is no groping for mere effect. Whether plastic and attenuated when forming cranes, or working with the strong and powerful planes of predatory eagles, Groth brings to each piece a directness of statement that is almost if not quite Zen.

German sculptor Lothar Kestenbaum’s figures evoke the same emotional response that stresses the underlying purpose of Expressionism. Suffering, death, fear and unrelenting social comment are incorporated in the attenuated stark figures. “Flight,” and “Survivors,” are especially poignant and disturbing. Kestenbaum’s welded iron rod pieces appear to be born from compulsive necessity. Much as an action painter traps his images in hastily applied pigment, the German sculptor uses the difficult technique of torch and metal to form the gaunt anatomy. The figures are a contrast of linear motion with webs of atmosphere patterned against tendon and flesh areas. At first sight one immediately rejects the grim and haunting images—only to return again and again for further study and enlightenment.

The exhibiting painters are well known and are also representative of divergent approaches, but they stand second best in the overall display. Frederick Schwaderer, Shirl Goedike, Helen Lundeberg and Robert Frame are among those whose works are on view.

Betje Howell