Los Angeles

“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 during the six-week period of intense study and creativity, the numerous Tamarind Fellows have not only been enriched by their participation, but have added con­siderably to their already more than significant artistic stature by new explorations and disciplines imposed in mastering this graphic medium.

Widely divergent in content, the scope of individual approaches ranges from Henry Pearson’s red and blue optical print, to Landau’s black and white Ritual Happenings, an agon­ized perspective of mass participation, to John Rocks’ Landscape, as sen­sitive and mood evocative as a Japan­ese watercolor, with its muted greys, black calligraphy and one accent of yellow. A remarkably expressionistic statement, Antonio Frasconi’s Death of a Poet I, is as explosive and fore­boding as a German woodblock, but in this medium a greater juxtaposition of wide and narrow black lines and a greater dimension of space is success­fully explored. John McLaughlin, a Hard-Edge abstractionist since 1946, works with solid rectangular forms, most frequently black, but with occa­sional bright blue, red, green, yellow or grey images, a singular accomplish­ment, as such geometrical purity taxes the medium of lithography to the ut­most. Achieving completely flat, solid tones is an exacting test of the hand­printer’s craft.

Pop-art is also on display. G. Ray Kerciu’s Freedom Now; and in the Livre de Luxe, The Rime of the An­cient Mariner, Henry Pearson’s illus­trations plus hand-lettered text, a mag­nificent collector’s item. Again pointing up the range of content and techniques is Rudy Pozzatti’s XII Romans, heroic portraits of Titus, Caesar and Hadrian.

Rufino Tamayo, the most recent art­ist to become a Tamarind Fellow, is also represented. William Brice, Clinton Adams, Nathan Oliveira, Jules Engel, Sam Francis, Richard Diebenkorn, Philip Guston, John Hultberg and the late Rico Lebrun are among the outstanding artists showing pristine lithographs in the USC Tamarind exhibition––a fine survey of the four-year period in which the Workshop has been activated.

––Betje Howell