reviews

  • Society of Women Artists

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    Women artists of the past have formed a small but very special category in the art of their various eras. The maternal paintings of Cassatt, the delicate and poetic paintings of Laurencin are a distinguished part of our heritage. With this in mind it is easy to generalize why it might be wise to show them separately. The possible small subtleties and feminine gestures might not compete well with the bluff and brusque pictures of their male counterparts in the arts. But there is little evidence of anything especially womanly in the paintings of this group. Without the title, one would not have

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  • Beatrice Wood

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    People sometimes look wistfully at pieces of ancient ceramics in museums, as if such beauty were a part of a lost and buried past. But Beatrice Wood is a modern ceramist who is creating objects which emanate the same grace. The colors, textures and forms of Beatrice Wood are both vivid and subtle. But more important, perhaps because of her training as an actress, Beatrice Wood is able to portray a sculptor’s range of dramatic presences, from tragedy to comedy. The decorative ability is extended into portrayals of humor, euphoria or contemplation. She constructs a vase of the purest esthetics

    Read more
  • Tio Giambruni and Harry Lum

    Berkeley Gallery

    Giambruni’s recent sculptures have lost their tentacley quality and have now taken two separate di­rections—one in which flotsam is assembled in an ascending stream on a vertical column, in direct opposition to his former enfolded “cephlapods,” and one where he again enfolds shapes, but they are streamers which become globes. He also shows a number of small discs. They suggest an involvement with Buddhist philosophy, especially as the meticulous drawings he also shows seem to have been inspired by contemplation of the navel. Giambruni still takes his subject matter from nature as it is revealed

    Read more
  • Fletcher Benton and John Ihle

    Hansen Galleries

    Mr. Benton’s “Kinetic Paintings” are sophisticated mobile geometric montages in the crisply economical symmetries and black, white, and primary color palette of the Hard Edge school. In a modern spirit Mr. Benton has turned to the mechanical principles underlying the famous automata of the great 17th and 18th cen­tury horologists, executing colorful compositions on a metal plaque or “face” equipped with various sliding bars, squares and panels, the synchronized movements of which are predetermined by an essentially “clockwork” type of mechanism encased behind the plaque. Technologically the only

    Read more
  • Charles Safford

    San Francisco Art Center

    This is a memorial exhibition of selected paintings by Charles Saf­ford, veteran Bay Area painter who died at the age of 63 last year. Mr. Safford was a gifted and eloquent Abstract Expressionist whose work shows little affinity either with New York or West Coast trends of his time. While at first admittedly influenced by Hans Hofmann, Safford soon evolved a style that was lyrical and Romantic in its opulence of rich, sensuous color and its tangential evocation of the exhila­rating spaciousness of forest and mountain landscape. His work of the “Swan Valley” period became almost a metamorphosis

    Read more
  • John Baxter

    Rose Rabow Gallery

    Baxter paints wall hangings free of stretchers which look like studies of corrosion, and undersea or microscopic organisms. His sculpture is made of sticks and stones, the tide strewn beach which he has selected and com­bined for the paradoxes and similies which they suggest. Moby Dick is a white stone with rusty barbs in its back. Dog and Turtle are pieces of cracked and rusted enamel mounted on a water­logged board.  Venus With Parasol is a darkly suggestive stone which recalls the prehistoric Venus of Willendorf. It would be a better sculpture without the too-cute shell umbrella. Several of

    Read more
  • Sam Francis

    Lanyon Gallery

    Effer­vescence and spontaneous ebullience comprise the dominant mood of Sam Francis’ recent abstract color litho­graphs. A profusion of quasi-child-art free-forms in bright primary colors­—vaguely comic shapes that seem to float like carnival balloons—as well as fibrous drip-and-blot configurations lend a buoyant and airy casualness to these compositions which must, in fact, have involved considerable forethought and technical predetermination to execute in color lithography.

    Palmer D. French

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  • Warren Brandon, Richard Heidsiek, Six Spanish Printmakers, and Helen Breger

    Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

    Brandon’s semi-abstrac­tions of bridges and ships are both colorful and decorative. Heidsiek’s wa­tercolors of a rather ethereal Mexico represent a very personal interpretation, seemingly filtered through Feininger and Shahn.

    It is the printmakers who make this an outstanding month at the Crocker. The Spaniards, Julio Zachrisson, Jose Vento, Marcel Yrizarry, Francisco Echauz, Julio Martin-Caro and Angelo Medina, are all from Madrid. The spirit of Goya is the catalyst that binds their strongly individualistic styles into a unified group—the Goya that wrote “The Sleep of Reason brings forth Monsters”

    Read more
  • Milton Komisar

    Venus Gallery, Oakland

    Komisar, who has just won a $2,000 award from the Louis C. Tiffany Foundation, is the second artist of the Venus Group to present a one-man show, his first. The quality is high.

    Komisar is a figurative painter with definite thoughts on the place of man in the urban art which is today’s en­vironment, thoughts which he some­times projects through the figure of his dog, Harry, much in the manner of the novelist, Jack London. Harry Some­times Dreams of Far Off Places is the literary title of one of his paintings­—a blue shepherd dog stands at the win­dow in a dark and richly-hued blue room, staring

    Read more
  • “Hiroshige Prints”

    James G. Kelley Gallery

    Hiroshige made several pil­grimages, drawing the landscape as he went, and these drawings were the sub­ject of a series of prints. Many of his most well known prints are from his views of Fuji which he drew on a tour all the way around the mountain. Some are vast panoramas, and others are trifling puns which have to do mostly with the foreground. For example, one in this collection has a huge Chinese chair (in chairless Japan) beside a rock mounted with a torii which is much smaller than the chair. His line was simple and direct, and always in char­acter with the object illustrated. A tree would

    Read more
  • Sonya Rapoport

    Bolles Gallery

    In her current exhibition entitled “Con­trasts” Mrs. Rapoport essays construc­tions in which painting, graphic and plastic media are combined with col­lage and montage methods. In spite of this diversity of techniques there is a considerable paucity of imagination and very little freedom of inventiveness to these works. Full of sophisticated cliches, calculated casualness, and the now ubiquitous jargon from the vernac­ular of the revolt against “taste,” “craft” and decorative paint-handling, these are nonetheless labored cha­rades, prim and ponderously clever in their carefully plotted “prosody

    Read more
  • Society of Women Artists

    San Francisco Museum of Art

    Women artists of the past have formed a small but very special category in the art of their various eras. The maternal paintings of Cassatt, the delicate and poetic paintings of Laurencin are a distinguished part of our heritage. With this in mind it is easy to generalize why it might be wise to show them separately. The possible small subtleties and feminine gestures might not compete well with the bluff and brusque pictures of their male counterparts in the arts. But there is little evidence of anything especially womanly in the paintings of this group. Without the title, one would not have

    Read more
  • Beatrice Wood

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    People sometimes look wistfully at pieces of ancient ceramics in museums, as if such beauty were a part of a lost and buried past. But Beatrice Wood is a modern ceramist who is creating objects which emanate the same grace. The colors, textures and forms of Beatrice Wood are both vivid and subtle. But more important, perhaps because of her training as an actress, Beatrice Wood is able to portray a sculptor’s range of dramatic presences, from tragedy to comedy. The decorative ability is extended into portrayals of humor, euphoria or contemplation. She constructs a vase of the purest esthetics

    Read more
  • Tio Giambruni and Harry Lum

    Berkeley Gallery

    Giambruni’s recent sculptures have lost their tentacley quality and have now taken two separate di­rections—one in which flotsam is assembled in an ascending stream on a vertical column, in direct opposition to his former enfolded “cephlapods,” and one where he again enfolds shapes, but they are streamers which become globes. He also shows a number of small discs. They suggest an involvement with Buddhist philosophy, especially as the meticulous drawings he also shows seem to have been inspired by contemplation of the navel. Giambruni still takes his subject matter from nature as it is revealed

    Read more
  • Fletcher Benton and John Ihle

    Hansen Galleries

    Mr. Benton’s “Kinetic Paintings” are sophisticated mobile geometric montages in the crisply economical symmetries and black, white, and primary color palette of the Hard Edge school. In a modern spirit Mr. Benton has turned to the mechanical principles underlying the famous automata of the great 17th and 18th cen­tury horologists, executing colorful compositions on a metal plaque or “face” equipped with various sliding bars, squares and panels, the synchronized movements of which are predetermined by an essentially “clockwork” type of mechanism encased behind the plaque. Technologically the only

    Read more
  • Charles Safford

    San Francisco Art Center

    This is a memorial exhibition of selected paintings by Charles Saf­ford, veteran Bay Area painter who died at the age of 63 last year. Mr. Safford was a gifted and eloquent Abstract Expressionist whose work shows little affinity either with New York or West Coast trends of his time. While at first admittedly influenced by Hans Hofmann, Safford soon evolved a style that was lyrical and Romantic in its opulence of rich, sensuous color and its tangential evocation of the exhila­rating spaciousness of forest and mountain landscape. His work of the “Swan Valley” period became almost a metamorphosis

    Read more
  • John Baxter

    Rose Rabow Gallery

    Baxter paints wall hangings free of stretchers which look like studies of corrosion, and undersea or microscopic organisms. His sculpture is made of sticks and stones, the tide strewn beach which he has selected and com­bined for the paradoxes and similies which they suggest. Moby Dick is a white stone with rusty barbs in its back. Dog and Turtle are pieces of cracked and rusted enamel mounted on a water­logged board.  Venus With Parasol is a darkly suggestive stone which recalls the prehistoric Venus of Willendorf. It would be a better sculpture without the too-cute shell umbrella. Several of

    Read more
  • Sam Francis

    Lanyon Gallery

    Effer­vescence and spontaneous ebullience comprise the dominant mood of Sam Francis’ recent abstract color litho­graphs. A profusion of quasi-child-art free-forms in bright primary colors­—vaguely comic shapes that seem to float like carnival balloons—as well as fibrous drip-and-blot configurations lend a buoyant and airy casualness to these compositions which must, in fact, have involved considerable forethought and technical predetermination to execute in color lithography.

    Palmer D. French

    Read more
  • Warren Brandon, Richard Heidsiek, Six Spanish Printmakers, and Helen Breger

    Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

    Brandon’s semi-abstrac­tions of bridges and ships are both colorful and decorative. Heidsiek’s wa­tercolors of a rather ethereal Mexico represent a very personal interpretation, seemingly filtered through Feininger and Shahn.

    It is the printmakers who make this an outstanding month at the Crocker. The Spaniards, Julio Zachrisson, Jose Vento, Marcel Yrizarry, Francisco Echauz, Julio Martin-Caro and Angelo Medina, are all from Madrid. The spirit of Goya is the catalyst that binds their strongly individualistic styles into a unified group—the Goya that wrote “The Sleep of Reason brings forth Monsters”

    Read more
  • Milton Komisar

    Venus Gallery, Oakland

    Komisar, who has just won a $2,000 award from the Louis C. Tiffany Foundation, is the second artist of the Venus Group to present a one-man show, his first. The quality is high.

    Komisar is a figurative painter with definite thoughts on the place of man in the urban art which is today’s en­vironment, thoughts which he some­times projects through the figure of his dog, Harry, much in the manner of the novelist, Jack London. Harry Some­times Dreams of Far Off Places is the literary title of one of his paintings­—a blue shepherd dog stands at the win­dow in a dark and richly-hued blue room, staring

    Read more
  • “Hiroshige Prints”

    James G. Kelley Gallery

    Hiroshige made several pil­grimages, drawing the landscape as he went, and these drawings were the sub­ject of a series of prints. Many of his most well known prints are from his views of Fuji which he drew on a tour all the way around the mountain. Some are vast panoramas, and others are trifling puns which have to do mostly with the foreground. For example, one in this collection has a huge Chinese chair (in chairless Japan) beside a rock mounted with a torii which is much smaller than the chair. His line was simple and direct, and always in char­acter with the object illustrated. A tree would

    Read more
  • Sonya Rapoport

    Bolles Gallery

    In her current exhibition entitled “Con­trasts” Mrs. Rapoport essays construc­tions in which painting, graphic and plastic media are combined with col­lage and montage methods. In spite of this diversity of techniques there is a considerable paucity of imagination and very little freedom of inventiveness to these works. Full of sophisticated cliches, calculated casualness, and the now ubiquitous jargon from the vernac­ular of the revolt against “taste,” “craft” and decorative paint-handling, these are nonetheless labored cha­rades, prim and ponderously clever in their carefully plotted “prosody

    Read more