reviews

  • Lucas Samaras

    Dwan Gallery

    Prick­ly, pin-studded, glass-thorned wall pieces, boxes, constructions, and bags, exotic products of an occupational therapy center for algolagniacs. The grim balance between artist as self­-inflicted victim or as defender of the faith here hinges on the turn of a pin. Hostile content is formalized, however, and maleficent vision so neatly con­trolled by a tidy craftsmanship that after the first “frisson nouveau” one does Samaras the honor of simply ac­cepting an environment whose given is the dangerous omnipresence of sharp, pointed objects. The barbaric pins and needles which he inserts in

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  • Roy Lichtenstein

    Ferus Gallery

    This show of recent works holds together well. The current figures, as before, are pressed to the surface, and in Sketch for World’s Fair Girl and Tension they burst forth and can barely be con­tained. This close-up cropping, locked within the story-board frame, relates not only to its comic-book sources, but as well to the cinema close-up. A char­acteristic move into whatever illusion of compressed space does exist takes place across the complication of a hand, a clutch of bent fingers, often slightly out of scale, contrasting with the field of the face and complementing the waves of hair. The

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  • “A View of the Century”

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    The century is ours; the title of the exhibition promises everything, and with the exception of idio­syncratic favorites and Americans, the names are all there (“fifty-eight of the foremost artists who have defined the character and established the values of modern art . . . ” reads the catalog). Walter Hopps, who organized the show, explains in his forward that he has selected, as an introductory group, four paintings by artists “associated with the climax of the 19th century who clearly seem to prefigure four major pathways for the art to follow.” That is, one apiece by Cézanne, Monet, Munch,

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  • “Some Paintings to Consider”

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art

    The underlying idea of the current exhibition is com­mendable––the problem was to find the artists to fit it. Dr. Thomas W. Leavitt expresses it this way: “(The) modern critical tendency of creating stylistic categories for artists can im­pair individual responses and cause the work of some very significant artists to be undervalued. The eight painters included here (Seymour Boardman, Charles Cajori, Al Held, Matsumi Kani­mitsu, June Lathrop, Knox Martin, John Opper, Richards Ruben) are neither new nor unknown, but their stature has not been generally recognized because they have not become

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  • Manuel Neri and Joan Brown

    David Stuart Galleries

    Neri’s powerful, life­size plaster of Paris desdichados seem to grow (or decay) out of the post-­atomic phase of the iconography of despair. This is their content and context, but their virtue is not in what they say about the condition of hu­manity, for this view gets frequent ex­posure at all levels from kitsch to kul­tur, but in spite of it. One therefore grudgingly admits that these are form­ally impressive works with a fine sculp­tural and dramatic presence. The use of plaster is a frighteningly effective medium for this morbid vision and strikes the proper chill note, but it is also a

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  • Karel Appel

    Pavilion Gallery, Bal­boa

    Drawn solely from California col­lections and purporting to be a com­prehensive survey, the exhibition is ample in size and quality (22 oils and 33 gouaches, drawings and lithographs), but weighted with work from 1959–60. While one would not have supposed that such numbers of locally owned Appels would even be available, it is nonetheless difficult to trace his de­velopment from the samples here.

    A general description would picture him as a graphic Expressionist who has moved in a dozen years from con­tained, child-like images through spon­taneous cartoons, to gestural patchy configurations. The

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  • “George Washington Smith and The Spanish Colonial Revival”

    U.C., Santa Barbara

    If, during the 1920s, one were to thumb through a stack of home magazines or profes­sional architectural journals, it would have been surprising not to have come across illustrations of the building of the Santa Barbara architect, George Washington Smith. In fact, by the end of the decade of the ’20s, his name had become synonymous with the Spanish Colonial revival movement.

    The California pioneers of the “New Architecture,” Schindler, Neutra and later Ain, Harris, and Soriano had noth­ing but caustic comments to make about a movement which they felt had little to do with the ideals of their

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  • Charles Hinman

    Feigen/Palmer Gallery

    Hard-Edge painting seeks expres­sion through control and careful tech­nique. But purity and sterility may be synonyms, and many artists explore variations on the approach in an attempt to stay on the fruitful side of the line. One of the most successful practitioners of a varied approach seen recently is Charles Hinman, who paints three-dimensional works. His first ap­proach is to give each flat area of color a stretched canvas of its own, so that the shape, the color, and the canvas are one. He then hangs the can­vases in relationship to one-another, sometimes uniting felt relationships with

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  • Peter Krasnow

    Scripps College

    Krasnow, 74 years old and still hard at work, is justly honored in this, his second encompassing retrospective in nine years. The brief commentaries which have dealt with him lead to the belief that he is a recluse redeeming himself through his art. Certainly here is honesty, sincerity, dedication, and enviable productivity—only the purest of motives and ideals. At best his work is individual and inimitable, but as with all such figures there are few clues with which to approach a dis­cussion; he has worked in isolation for 30 years. Curiously, perhaps typically, Krasnow’s work recalls that of

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  • Jack Zajac

    Felix Landau Gallery

    Zajac has abandoned the tortured fig­ures and sacrificial goats that have be­come his hallmark. He has retained only the ram’s skull and broken horn. The animal no longer excites our pity but rather our awe. The bones have grown to the dimensions of dinosaur remains. His work has become monu­mental without being totemic, objec­tive without being impersonal. He has gained in seriousness. Despite the sculptural excellence of earlier work, it often had about it an aura of roman­tic self-indulgence, a tendency to man­nerism, and a reaching after effects that was theatrical.

    Now we are faced with

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  • Peter Saul

    Rolf Nelson Gallery

    Peter Saul appears to be a very troubled young man in many ways and a troub­led young painter in more. During his eight year residence in Europe, Saul has evolved a Rube Goldberg cartoon style of presentation with which he attempts too many things at one time. From across the ocean Saul aims his arrows at American comics, advertis­ing, TV, pulp magazines, capital punishment, sexual hypocrisy, momism, po­lice graft, etc. Apparently prompted by violent indignation and anger, they fall short of their target, for anger is not an ingredient of his pictures. He employs funny visual symbols such as

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  • Karl Benjamin

    Esther-Robles Gallery

    Few directions in contemporary art can be directly associated with this geographic area. There were the California watercolor regionalists decades ago, and more currently, the indelible Lebrun legacy, but none seems more persistent, more determined to exhaust every possible nuance than the so-­called Hard-Edge group. Some devotees have adhered to the purely classic con­structions of McLaughlin or Feitelson, while others have permitted romantic­ism to add an essence of drama, such as Hammersley. It has made strong contributions toward certain Pop con­structions while also donating formal attitudes

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  • Morris Broderson

    Ankrum Gallery

    Large paintings dominate Broderson’s latest output. Their subjects are drawn from Japanese legends, but like West­ern legends, to which they relate, their psychological overtones, modified by the personality of the artist, create a kind of folk-Surrealism that makes in­terpretation difficult. For example: Brod­erson, who is deaf, has introduced hands in sign-language positions into the paintings. Such hand positions re­late to Buddhist mudras and simultan­eously to Broderson’s personal situa­tion. Unlike the usual mystery-for-its-­own-sake of Surrealist painting, Broderson’s work makes a serious

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  • Don Wey­gandt

    Sabrina Gallery

    Wey­gandt, recently from the Bay Area, fills this new gallery with large, humble paintings. They would blush and scuff their heels at the mere suggestion of virtuosity. Casual observers will find them awkward, but it must be remem­bered that in painting an aura of fumb­ling reticence is an achieved effect, just as is a gesture of mannered self-confi­dence. Weygandt’s forms are as they are because he loves the humble and the commonplace. What qualifies him as an artist is his ability to orchestrate his shapes. He is a master of composi­tion in such a painting as his Double­-Arched Bridge.

    His

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  • Jose Luis Cuevas

    Silvan Simone Gallery

    There is no shortage of desperate views this month. Eliot’s lady has a full chorus behind her discreetly mur­muring, “life, what cauchemar!” The current ploy, however, is irony and Cuevas self-defensively labels his gal­lery of mutilados and madmen, his catalogs of tortures, gruesome games, and deformities, and his self-portraits as various historical connoisseurs of agony, a “Horror Theatre.” Borrowing Gothic themes and Romantic attitudes, Cuevas perhaps has the notion of up­dating them with black humor. He is more successful, however, in the ortho­dox persona of the Divine Marquis, and manages

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  • Allan Blizzard

    Rex Evans Gallery

    Mr. Blizzard’s subject matter is pri­marily the turn-of-the-century world of Cézanne and the Dreyfus case; the world immortalized by the Impression­ists and Marcel Proust, presented not as an essay in sentimentality but as the foundation for works of grace and charm. The artist works in paint, a combination of patterned cloth and paint, and in small bronze figures and heads. These graceful, small bronzes share the elegance of the paintings.

    They tend to be rather slight, and function perfectly as three-dimensional adjuncts to the paintings. The two paintings which do not utilize fabric are

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  • Les Biller

    Ceeje Gallery

    Western art­ists have been seduced by the ele­gance, simplicity, stylization, and immediacy of Japanese art: Biller, unique­ly, has fastened upon its eroticism. Lustily, he translates it into English. Where oriental art is flat, his is paint­erly, where its colors are muted, his are the shades of the backdrop cur­tain at the New Follies. His attitude is that of a sailor on leave in Tokyo com­bined with that of an adolescent crazy in love with the exotic. In Biller’s hands their calligraphic arabesque becomes a gesture describing a sexy dame. Their perspective, as far as Biller is concerned, is

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  • Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

    Pomona College Gallery

    Fifty-five lithographs and drawings from a single anonymous collection form this hundredth anniver­sary celebration of the birth of the “little monster.”

    As the group is comprised of the miscellany of menus, advertising post­ers, sheet music, book and review il­lustrations, and smaller portfolios, but for La Goulue and Debauch, all are unfamiliar to the non-specialist viewer. It is a fine treat to see these rarer, if minor, items. They range from the merest caricature to sketches and finished drawings and convey as broad a field of attitudes. The outstanding mood is a serious, sharply-honed

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  • Salvador Dalí

    Municipal Art Galleries

    Admirers of this curiously contro­versial figure often defend him on the basis of his draftsmanship. If this were indeed his principal contribution he is outstripped by dozens of unknown drudges sweating in schools and studi­os. What is truly curious about Dalí is his ability to appeal to a certain im­agination. He, along with Modigliani and Lautrec, seems to be the favorite artist of the half-lettered imaginative adolescent. It is a consciousness at once given to dream and at the same time deeply materialistic––an imagina­tion that is less creative than recrea­tive. It is altogether possible

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  • Robert Hansen

    Comara Gallery

    The list of artists once devoted to a single medium but currently experimenting with every conceivable material con­tinues to grow and grow. Sculptors blessed with one-man exhibitions today usually include in their display not only preliminary sketches for the three­-dimensional objects, but finished paint­ings and prints as well.

    Robert Hansen who possesses a solid reputation as a painter has re­cently expanded into the field of litho­graphy through a Tamarind Workshop Fellowship awarded him this year, and also has cast a few bronze sculptures. Hansen moves into the monochromatic prints easily

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  • “New Dimensions in Lithography”

    University of Southern California

    This is a retrospective exhibition, selected from the Tamarind Lithography work­shop. Significantly, Tamarind’s chop (drystamp) is the medieval alchemist’s sign for stone, chosen by Los Angeles artist June Wayne, who as founder and director of the successful Ford Founda­tion-backed project, has been rather an alchemist herself in transmuting an an­cient process into a modern idiom. Predicated on complete collaboration between artist and master-printer, and established in 1959, a National Panel of Selection nominates twelve artists a year for fellowships. Judging by the choice works done individually

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  • Leonel Gongora

    Zora Gallery

    By now Gongora may be resigned to com­parison with Goya. There is evidence that he promotes the comparison; squatting, dog-faced women, undefined irony. Is he ironical because he rea­lizes that he is appreciated for peri­pheral statements? Probably. He must know that his central message is not directed to worried humanists or to writers with a taste for the macabre but to a much smaller audience—con­noisseurs of draftsmanship. Who today, he may ask himself sleeplessly, remembers Goltzius, Callot, or the drawings of Ucello or di Cosimo? How do you make your talent noticed when it is the talent

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  • Arthur Oka­mura

    Feingarten Galler­ies

    The diversified character of selec­tions included in young Arthur Oka­mura’s second one-man show at the Feingarten Galleries really does more harm than good. Where usually such a wealth of disparate media might de­monstrate the scope of the artist’s in­terests or proficiency, in this case it accents areas of decided weakness. However, in the midst of the oils, wa­tercolors, crayon, pastel, and pen and ink drawings, etc., there are pieces which certainly demonstrate the artist’s firm control of most of them, and often manifest his knowledgeable and versa­tile application in obtaining aggressive

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  • Donald Borthwick

    Santa Barbara Museum and Gallery de Silva

    Donald Borthwick’s paintings are fresh and in­ventive, full of whimsy, humor, pathos and pain. Some of his canvases are abstract, many of them have literary references, and others are filled with figurative and realistic material.

    Studio Assembly is divided into areas of concentrated movement and activity fused into spatial relationships that are evocative. Model Walking is a carefully drawn chair with an elegant textured drape calculated to emphasize the movement of the model walking away.

    Others, such as Plan for an un­painted title painting, or Essay on the Nature of painting, have typed literary

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  • Krishna Reddy

    Plaisir de France

    Mr. Krishna Reddy, born in India, is currently the Associate Director of S. W. Hayter’s famous Atelier 17 in Paris. His teachers include Henry Moore, Zadkine, Marino Marini, and Hayter. His current exhibition is of prints in a mixed medium that is basically etching. Of great technical interest is the print­ing process, for Mr. Reddy presses each print only one time; the plate con­tains all the different colored inks for this one printing, rather than the usual technique of having a separate plate or printing for each color. This is ac­complished by using inks of different consistencies. The

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  • Jack Baker

    Esther Bear Gallery, San­ta Barbara

    There is nothing gloomy, morose or sordid about Jack Baker’s world. His paintings, vibrant with color, are joyous affirmations, filled with dazzling flower forms, charged romantic landscapes, all zest and gusto. These recent paintings are filled with the heady aromas and flavors of exotic places, India and Ethiopia, where he has taught, lived and worked. The im­pact of Baker’s strong spontaneous color is immediate. He instills a sense of living abundance and color excite­ment; there is nothing forced, strained or hidden. For Baker there will always be more beautiful flower forms, more esthetic

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  • Franz Rederer

    Dalzell Hatfield Gal­leries

    Swiss expressionist Franz Reder­er possesses one of the surest brush strokes in action today. A lifetime of devotion to his art has culminated in an assurance which seems to leave little to be desired except that solutions now come easily, creating a predictable for­mula of execution almost without chal­lenge to the artist. Experimentation is no longer of apparent interest or im­portance. Characterizations in many of the large portraits seem weak, but em­phatic praise must be tendered to well-controlled spatial-effects and rather brilliant composing of the canvases.

    Rederer’s palette is repetitious.

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  • California Watercolor Society 44th Annual Exhibition

    Lytton Center of the Visual Arts

    A widely diver­gent selection of entries was chosen by jurors Jonathan Scott, Leonard Edmondson, Noel Quinn, Clem Hall and Hilda Levy for exhibit and awards. Elsa Warner won the top award for her In­ward Sun. Four other purchase a­wards went to John Leeper, John Opie, Dale Hennesy, and Robert E. Wood.

    As 96 artists from various parts of the country are shown, the exhibition is an adequate survey of national water­color trends, running the gamut from traditional to more inventive concep­tions. One work does not show any in­dividual fairly and the display areas in the halls, foyer and auditorium

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  • Hilda Levy

    Santa Monica Art Gallery

    There is much more than simplified ab­straction in Miss Levy’s recent works, which show a development in highly controlled visual elements combining solid structural form with space ex­ploration. In the “Circular Depression Series,” Miss Levy has created extraordinary lace-like patterned areas of depth. Formulations, a calligraphic study in watercolor and ink, is rendered on hospital-paper (heavy crepe paper used in sterilizing instruments and gauze at an extremely high tempera­ture), the texture of which lends a con­tinuing development and diversity to the non-objective forms. A pastel and

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  • James Hueter

    Heritage Gallery

    His sculptures and drawings are all about poetic anguish and sex. In form they reflect an awareness of Moore and Brancusi but in spirit they belong to the attenuated sensibility of the end of the century, and to Northern romanti­cism. Mask and Hands has the sad­ness of Lehmbruck, a drawing of some floating nudes relates directly to a study by Gustav Klimt, flowing half­-torsos in bronze are sculptural transcriptions of the same idea. There is a curious unwillingness to make a state­ment that is evidenced by the general­ity of the works. Hueter seems either to quit just short of commitment or to

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  • Leon Saulter

    Adele Bednarz Gallery

    This is an eclectic exhibition which ranges from a thinly conceived oil on masonite, The Drama of Sunset, in a somewhat Abstract Expressionistic manner, to a flat figure-and-interior study in which all elements are im­prisoned in a network of semi-geomet­ric black lines. Diverse sculpture is in­cluded. This range of styles is deliberate, for in his written statement the artist rejects consistency for “constant change and evolvement. The criterion of personal style becomes expendable in the face of exploration of the many personality facets that demand new­ness of comprehension. The search becomes

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