San Francisco

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 recognized the gender of most of these artists. Moreover, the general quality of the painting is mediocre, so there is no reason to mention more than a very few out of this rather large exhibition, whose work was really origi­nal or new. Large, White, Sliced by Barbara Spring is a log shaped like a loaf of bread and is sawed into slices. Miss Spring often produces enigmatic Pop sculpture which captures everyone’s attention and leaves them wondering why. Marvelous. Bernice Sender’s Target Practice is a vicious Pop cartoon of a shooting gallery with human targets. Nancy Genn’s Tide is a free linear wall sculpture in bronze with baroque arabesques which suggest liquid motion and seaweed flotsam. The Wall Hanging of Carol Sinton is a mysterious, fetishistic triangle with knotted tassels and fringe made from a variety of materials such as hair, wool and silk, mostly grey and brown, woven into an object which might capture ghosts or work spells. But most of these ladies are pursuing an interesting hobby which one hopes is properly therapeutic.

Knute Stiles