reviews

  • New British Painters

    Feigen/Palmer Gallery

    Many years have passed since Washington Irving could refer to “the indiscriminating bigotry with which some of our countrymen admire and imitate everything English, merely because it is English” and Emerson feel the need to attack the timidity of the American who had “listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe.” Although American Anglophilia is not entirely a dead issue in certain literary circles, its counterpart, the satellitic single-mindedness with which young English artists now look to the United States as the arbiter elegantiarum, is the current scene. The remarkable impact of the

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  • James Rosenquist

    Dwan Gallery

    As slippery, agreeable and conventional as an ad man at a client’s party, Rosenquist nevertheless makes us aware of his attitudes in his big chopped-up ads and billboard sections. He persistently presents a picture of harebrained noninvolvement, sneaking in his comment so quietly that we are never certain we have not made it up for ourselves. His is a world of inescapable superficiality.

    He necessarily comments upon a dead idea . . . Shaw said that was the fate of those who comment. He talks of a world created by vulgar advertising. But after all there is another world of advertising that is

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  • Edward Ruscha

    Ferus Gallery

    There is a remarkable tension about this show. No room here for amateurs; sybarites keep out. These are coldly brilliant canvases whose perfection of technique proclaims a hermetic self-sufficiency, an almost depersonalized aloofness. The tension comes in at that “almost.” Personality, not through painterly gesture or expressionistic distortion, asserts itself in the surreal clamps and torn western magazine that Ruscha aggressively and ironically adds to his obsessive order, intrudes via the deracinated, the unconnected, the literally conceived object.

    The paintings divide into two groups. First,

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  • “Arts of New Guinea”

    Municipal Art Gallery

    Unlike the Western artist, the primitive carver gained little from skilled performance alone. His profession was ordained through a variety of circumstances over which he often had no control. In the Mundugumor area of New Guinea, artists were always born with the umbilical cord wrapped around their necks and believed to be immune to danger. In spite of this curious method of selection, the would-be artist managed to achieve high levels of performance. This exhibition of primitive art from the Sepik River region of New Guinea, one of the finest collations of bewitching material to go on view in

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  • Lee Mullican

    Mount St. Mary’s College

    The opening statement of the unsigned introduction to the catalog of this exhibition asserts: “Lee Mullican has been one of the dominant figures in West Coast art since his first one-man exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art, in 1949.” It is the kind of statement which appearing in a commercial gallery would mean nothing, and in a scholarly institution is surprisingly unqualified. But the fact is that it is a statement which ought to have been true, and that it is not is saddening. For there is no doubt that Mullican is an artist of talent. His work maintains very individual overtones.

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  • Llyn Foulkes

    Rolf Nelson Gallery

    In his fifth one-man show Foulkes is still at work clarifying and modifying his statement, editing his material, and more certainly attaching his interests to the landscape tradition. Though much of the zealous compulsion has gone underground and refinement of a product become paramount, numerous features still merit attention. One hopes this focus and consolidation will not yield up atrophy, doubtless a premature concern, since his self-command remains intact.

    The paintings are all double images within framed borders traceable certainly to Foulkes’ interest in stereoscope slides. They are

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  • “American Impressionists”

    Dalzell Hatfield Galleries

    The final section of the Summer Art Festival presented at the Hatfield Galleries in the Ambassador Hotel concentrates on the American Impressionists and an additional few who, by some stretch of esthetic imagination, might also be expected to relate to the movement.

    Rarely does one find a survey of this kind which establishes within itself such over-all excellence. There is no place here for fill-ins or trivia—the criteria for inclusion is obviously demanding, and in all instances successfully met. One could rarely find a more exemplary George Bellows than “The Skeleton.” A huge fishing boat is

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  • George Rouault

    La Jolla Museum of Art

    Under its new name and program of presenting major loan exhibitions, the La Jolla Museum of Art installed 86 oils, gouaches, watercolors, drawings and prints by Georges Rouault, all borrowed from an impressive list of owners throughout the United States.

    Georges Rouault lived until 1958. He worked in Paris during the period of great artistic ferment that gave us the art we have today. Knowing many of the great artists of the time, and participating in some of the important early exhibitions, he developed and held on to a personal, unique style of his own. As a child, he was tutored in art

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  • “Imprint”

    Pasadena Art Museum

    Devoting almost its entire space in a multi-section celebration of the Fourth Biennial Print Exhibition, the museum begins by neatly surveying art history from its own permanent collection. Outstandingly powerful and well-chosen samples form the 15th through 19th century European and Japanese selections. A lesser level marks the accompanying 20th century European masters, the exception being the in-depth showing of the ever-present Blue Four.

    The dubious poems of Walasse Ting in his volume “1c life,” illustrated by twenty-eight European and American contemporaries provides an opportunity to

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  • Maryan

    David Stuart Galleries

    Maryan would seem to take as his text Jeremy Taylor’s “What is man but a vessel of dung, a stink of corruption, and, by birth, a slave of the devil?” His Personages are strutting, fretting idiots, whose silence makes the plastic arts appear lacking in a dimension. His characters are permutations and combinations of all our literary Yahoos: Caliban, Sweeney, Ubu, Oskar, and the Snopes, wedded to the devil in a medieval farce or a clown from the commedia dell’arte. They come from Gothic distortions via Matthias Grunewald, Hieronymus Bosch, Goya’s Black Paintings, and German Expressionism; they

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  • Gamble Etching Collection

    University of Southern California

    Approximately 40 choice works in the Univerity’s permanent collection, with many fine etchings by the American, James A. Whistler, including his character depictions, “La Vielle aux Loques,” and “The Pool.”

    Copperplate etching, which reached its peak of popularity during the 18th century, suffered the same fate as other graphic media until the comparatively recent resurgence of interest by contemporary artists in introducing fresh concepts into a field that over the years had been increasingly relegated to the commercial artisan.

    Artists’ explorations during the past several decades have been

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  • Helen Lundeberg

    Ankrum Gallery

    This first exhibition in the recently-opened, handsome new headquarters points up Helen Lundeberg’s continuing preoccupation with expanding vistas seen through doorways, panoramic scenes of rivers, waterways—and a new theme, the arch which invites the viewer to linger appreciatively at the entrance of the architectural forms before experiencing the visual treat of entering into landscapes which are increasingly referential to her earlier surrealistic work. Done with intellectual precision, great control and fine craftsmanship, the large canvases would reflect the cold geometries of the so-called

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  • Robert Cremean

    Esther-Robles Gallery

    Late sculpture continues to reflect Cremean’s refined intellectuality, sensuousness and nostalgia. He continues to draw freely upon other art forms. Often he conceives architecturally, building his pieces. He joins parts with the skill of a cabinetmaker. Now he will choose to draw in line upon his work, again he makes space function as line. He achieves double effects by blotting out sculptural masses in white. Sometimes they are mass, sometimes space, and between them appear shapes that become linear arabesques, accounting in part for his elegance. Cremean’s virtues tend to be unpopular,

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  • Martin Lubner

    Ceeje Gallery

    Few galleries in Los Angeles are so readily identified with their artists as the Ceeje. Usually figurative, with loose free brushwork and palettes which concentrate on emphatic blacks, yellows, and reds, pictures seen here are by young uncertain performers whose presences are sometimes ill-advised. Not so 35-year old Martin Lubner who has been the subject of more than half-a-dozen one-man shows in Los Angeles as well as in London and Rome. Though his works adhere to the gallery pattern, his palette is less confined, his stroke stronger and surer, and he employs fewer of the aimless violences

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  • John Coleman

    Zora Gallery

    Here is an expressionist who is not angry. His subjects are those of Die Brucke, rendered harmless by familiarity. We can’t believe that he wants it otherwise. He is energetic, thoughtful, and lots of other things, but not shocking. Coleman is a serious printmaker and printmaking makes contemplators and philosophers, not revolutionaries.

    That love of technique bred by printmaking shows in Coleman’s oils. They are realized in value changes. Colors run to earths, warms and an occasional red or blue. For a man showing oils for the first time he reveals an admirable aptitude. Occasionally, as in “

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  • John Paul Jones

    Felix Landau Gallery

    Although this area has developed a cult of artists attempting to work in a similar vein, John Paul Jones continues to out-distance the field. Not predilected to sudden changes, Jones manages to ease from one nuance to another with exhilarating invention and without changing his general direction. His mono- and duochromatic settings are still peopled by mysterious beings who stand or float motionless exhibiting pleasant or mildly pugnacious demeanors, as though faintly amused by the antics of foreigners in their land where all the usual means of communication have failed to make contact. They

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  • John B. Dobbs

    The Carter Gallery

    A series of masterfully self-confident oils and drawings clearly show Dobbs as an inheritor of American social realist painting of the thirties and forties. One need not be told of his studies with Jack Levine—they are apparent in his conception of the figure and in the refracted, rapid paint handling. Ben Shahn’s influence is less apparent but is reflected in Dobbs’ tendency to use socially conscious subject matter almost as a motif. A love of rich paint surfaces and design effects that exist for their own sake tend to dull the bite of pictures whose subjects are in the Goya tradition of man’s

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  • Gloria Brown

    Kramer Gallery

    These are, for the most part, Matisse-like paintings in their clear bright color and minimal paint application. We get a surprising opening up of space in paintings dealing with the nude in an interior. An accompanying set of crayon drawings, light and effervescent in touch, serious in purpose, expands on this theme and permits an examination of her procedure. For all of her many merits, she is dominated by flux, a collage freedom of change, or an arbitrary fill-in approach which disrupts the unity, pacing of moves, and spatial position. As well as in a geometric series of circle signs, she

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  • June Smith

    Heritage Gallery

    Miss June Smith paints in oils in a rather heavyhanded, brilliantly colored way. Her drawing is uneven, and the way she handles her medium varies, not always to the enrichment of her work. Her figures are least successful, although “Quiet Waiting” is powerful; a pregnant woman handsomely patterned in blues, greens, and yellows, it is weakened by red flowers obviously placed where the distortion of the subject’s figure is most apparent. Miss Smith’s landscapes are more successful. The most completely developed and unified works are “Blue Hills” and “Blue Lagoon.” In both of these works, all

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  • Harry Bledstein

    Feingarten Galleries

    A partial survey of the development of Harry Bledstein, the oils on view cover approximately three years of painting. From heavily-impastoed figure studies, the works graduate into very thinly painted, closely valued, limited-hued statements, with the figures resolved by areas of dark and light. In some, line is added to aid in the delineation, but this is rarely successful, for there may be only one overstressed line in the entire works, as in “Seated Figure” where the line which defines the underside of the arm floats on the surface of the work in an irritating manner. Other works dissolve

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  • Emile Norman

    Adele Bednarz Gallery

    This exhibition marks the gallery’s formal opening. Norman, who lives in Big Sur, also maintains a studio in Italy near the quarries of Carrara and the foundries of Florence. Periodically he returns to Japan and the new year will find him on safari in Africa sketching the animals and birds which are his favorite subject matter. Self-taught, Norman works in wood, stone, bronze and endomosaics with equal skill. “Four Seasons,” an innovation of cast bronze, a disk encircled with a separate casting representing the sun’s rays, is mounted on a cloth scroll on which he has sketched an ascending design

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  • Susaan Lautman Hertel

    Comara Gallery

    Shape handling, solid composition and a mood of relaxed correctness make Hertel’s paintings look fine. She reminds us of Vuillard because of her muted ochres, blacks and browns. She makes domestic interiors and likes to use dogshapes and other commonplaces of the menage in chopped-off views. Shapes are her principal ploy; she uses them decoratively and she uses them to force space. Rarely does she elaborate them, leaving them to function as planes.

    It is harder to join those who praise either her brush or her color. She characteristically applies paint thinly with a fast, scrubbing motion. The

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  • Ray Friesz

    Ryder Gallery

    Subdued nature breathes most convincingly in these middle-sized paintings. Oil on masonite is the principal material. Basically the paint is thin. In spite of glazing over, it often looks hard and dry at close range. Considering the generally suffuse appearance of the paintings, perhaps another material would be more compatible. Rendered in predominantly brown monochrome, the best work shows a stillness and lack of pretense convincing of afternoon atmospheres. Friesz alters his manner from a contemplative realism, as in “The Golden Pool,” to a more expressionistic swath. The former concentration

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  • Sister Mary Corita

    Laguna Beach Art Association

    According to the gallery attendant, Sister Mary Corita was intrigued by the advertising posters on the outside of a new market across the street from Immaculate Heart College. At any rate, in her current exhibition, Sister Corita utilizes such elements as her basic design statement. The large, over-all elements are either single words, portions of advertising slogans, or simplified designs from boxes or wrappers. Her work would differ from Pop Art, as she modifies these elements to achieve stronger designs. Also included in each work are beautifully designed quotations. In some cases, the two

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  • Cecil Beaton

    Rex Evans Gallery

    It would be as silly to regard the famous English designer by normal fine arts standards as it would be to not regard him at all. His opulent set designs and costumes are rendered in that conventional fashion peculiar to designers, which is only a kind of slap-dash working technique. Thus a style referred to is everything while a style of doing is insignificant. Beaton does have the end of the century by the tail. He explores its facets so that we are reminded of Charles Dana Gibson, Beardsley, Victorianism and Art Noveau without any strain upon our judgment since we attach it to the object

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  • Serge Mendjisky

    Plaisir de France

    Roughly translated, the gallery’s name, “Pleasure From France,” reflects its policy of showing alternating exhibits of works by contemporary and traditional artists including lithographs by such masters as Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Cézanne and Bonnard.

    Serge Mendjisky’s small oil paintings are exciting and colorful. Untouched white canvas is juxtaposed with bright, impressionistic strokes; the subject matter is of French landscapes, everyday scenes of villages, forests and people. Although freely done technically, he paints with economy in brush strokes, using contrasting vivid colors in figurative

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  • Dick Ralph

    Paideia Gallery

    A one-man exhibition of paintings called “Romantic Realism,” of mostly traditional nudes with several still-life works. This show is not a return to the figurative, as the artist’s approach is academically classical. Ralph has never left the figure; the canvases leave one with the impression that this is an honest endeavor by a man who enjoys what he is doing. The small oil of a young woman awakening is both tender and sensitively done.

    There is nothing ugly here, and there is no evidence of exploration or development of a modern idiom. For those who want their art “straight,” representational

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  • Group Show

    Martin Janis Gallery

    The Martin Janis Gallery exhibits its stock atelier-style, and does not put on one-man or group shows organized around a theme. All media are represented, but in general, the gallery is strongest in drawings and graphics by internationally recognized names. There are several examples of Picasso’s “Suite Vollard”; there is a de Kooning sketch of a cat; Matta is represented by a handsome drawing in his later style; Charles Birchfield’s 1917 drawing of trees and houses is very good-looking; Klee, Lautrec, Pechstein, Rouault and Braque are also represented. Several paintings by Louis Eilshemius are

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  • Derek Wernher

    Ernest Raboff Gallery

    In figures entitled, among others, “Going to Work,” “Beggar,” “Produce Man,” “Carrying Refuse,” “Foundry Man,” Wernher, a 26-year-old Los Angeles sculptor, takes the celebratory attitude towards Self-Help and Work that was fashionable a hundred years ago. His subject matter becomes less of an encumbrance when he does a Judas or the Ahab-like “Man With Peg Leg.” Prepared by the cire perdu process, these hand-size bronzes are most promising whenever, as, for example, in “Man With Scythe,” they exploit that technique to achieve a thumb-printed, nervously sensitive attenuation of form and a baroque

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  • Group Show

    Wooden Horse Gallery, Laguna Beach

    The Wooden Horse Gallery continues to bring to Laguna Beach artists of Southern California who do not fit into the “Laguna Beach” category. This handsome group show included Bently Schaad, Jae Carmichael, Sister Mary Corita, Hans Burkhardt, Rex Brandt, Joan Irving, Robert Frame, Leonard Edmondson, Karl Benjamin, Crandall Norton, Howard Lockway, Dick Swift, and Andy Wing. Larry Rink had a beautiful transparent watercolor, and Mel Henderson of San Francisco showed three sculptures in leather and wood which were most impressive. Leather, stretched over a wooden framework, with some of the framework

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  • Jose Maria Dena

    Elson-Robyns Gallery

    A self-taught Los Angeles artist, Dena shows a large number of very small paintings in which he tries to approximate an anachronistic trecento or quatrocento manner. He works with thinly applied tempera, and often uses a delicate line to define his forms. Usually he does single figures; when these are not children they are more successful than his slightly larger group of studies of angels, whose flight is naively earthbound. He is best in such figures as “Lady With Kerchief” or “Renaissance Study,” and a talent for fragile line may be seen in the wash and pencil study, “In Memory of Miss

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  • Antonio Melendy

    Melendy Gallery

    The gallery is an outlet for the artist’s welded metal reliefs. The designs are usually a hackneyed massing of small, repeated, planal units mounted out upon radiating stems. Graduated in size, irregular in surface, he has faceted the work with textural and color changes, the most interesting in his sample kit being rings of halation caused by extreme heat. Facile, sometimes abstract, some figurative, some imitative, they can be dismissed as full blown, posh tinsel and chi-chi decor.

    Fidel A. Danieli

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