reviews

  • Hassel Smith

    Dilexi Gallery

    Any student of Smith’s oeuvre over the last two decades will certainly gain enormous insight into the working habits of the artist from his recent exhibits at the Worth Ryder Gallery in Berkeley and at this gallery. Smith has for the last two years painted a number of very broad, whimsical, figurative pictures which have been included with his more widely known abstractions in one-man shows in London and Los Angeles, and in group exhibits in the Bay area. The two latest one-man exhibitions contain the figure paintings solely. The concentration of attention on these works does not necessarily

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  • Cordoba Bienal

    Kaiser Center, Oakland

    30 paintings by 20 artists from Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, selected by Paul Mills, curator of the Oakland Art Museum, Lawrence Alloway, curator of the Guggenheim Museum, and Robert Wool, president of the Inter-American Foundation for the Arts, from the Second Bienal Americana de Arte held at the University of Cordoba, Argentina, last fall.

    The South American artists are apparently an eclectic group. In some cases they have achieved a syncretistic style in which their obvious borrowings have been made to serve a new and personal purpose. And in other cases one searches

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  • Charles Mattox

    Lanyon Gallery

    Tread on the electrical button and Mattox’s mechanical constructions stir into motion. Drive cranks and elbow and hinge frames are strung with wires to produce shimmering and changing moire patterns. Or a limp plastic noodle coming from the center of a disc, but trapped by a stationary loop on one side, flops itself in a most organic way when the disc begins to turn.

    Demonstrating Newton’s law, “For every action there is a reaction,” has been the primary motive behind these inventions. A tall flexible rod topped by a ball and moving on an eccentric hub, sets another ball fixed to a rod in near

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  • Fredric Hobbs

    S. F. Art Center

    In order to understand what Mr. Hobbs is doing today we have to turn back the clock a bit to a prior episode where we find him inside one of his monster sculptures, on wheels, as it creeps along the gallery floor. Hobbs powered the piece himself with the aid of a few simple devices. From this simple beginning it was a logical step to have a sculpture that moved without the aid of man (or animal).

    After a number of false starts a Fiat motor car was secured upon whose girth would rest what was later called a “Parade,” or a parade sculpture. Hobbs used the auto as an armature upon which he put

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  • Robert Stevenson

    Quay Gallery

    Stevenson, a graduate of the U.C.L.A. art department, forsook painting for advanced study in sociology and anthropology. His biography states that he felt the pre-eminence of Abstract-Expressionist painting smothered the art world. A course in psychology rekindled his interest in art and led to his current experiments with optical phenomena.

    Encounters with young Los Angeles artists, also disenchanted with the verbosity of Abstract Expressionism led Stevenson to experiment, as they had, with spray techniques. High finish lacquer spraying with a wet-into-wet look is best exemplified in the finishes

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  • Ben Langton, Charles Gill, Eleanor Anderson, Robert Harvey and Beth Van Hoesen

    S. F. Art Institute

    The word “supernatural” may have been added to the title of this show to allow it to include Ben Langton’s “Angel Flying” which, however, has a more complete complement of natural equipment than most angels. Charles Gill’s “Nosebleed” is a naked lump of humanity on a morgue slab painted with Baconian grotesqueness. “The Invader” by Eleanor Anderson is painted with transparent polymer in bright violets, oranges, blues and greens; the figure is only nominally present, having been used as a point of departure for designing, like the compote in a still life. It is a beautiful abstraction. “Esther’s

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  • Genevieve Edwards and more

    Richmond Art Center

    An astonishingly weak selection of 28 paintings. For some obscure reason a jury comprised of Elmer Bischoff, Paul Mills and Wally Hedrick rejected 388 of the 416 paintings and drawings submitted for this year’s annual, to come up with a show that resembles a high school annual more than the sophisticated work one has a right to expect from an area supporting some of the better known artists in the state.

    Insecure jurors can create a minor scandal, and at the same time buy a cheap reputation for having ’’tough eyes” by this process of mass rejection. The West Coast has seen a rash of such jurying

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  • Karl Benjamin

    Hollis Galleries

    Mr. Benjamin exhibits crisp geometric abstractions in oil, exploring a variety of directions. In a series of paintings designated only by the Roman numeral VII, a rectilinear lattice or grid of black lines is superimposed, as it were, on a mosaic of color squares, the intersections of which are noncongruent with those of the lattice. The color tonalities are cool and aseptic. This series is reminiscent sometimes of Mondrian and sometimes of the geometricism of early exponents of Bauhaus theory. An isolated painting simply designated as “7” reduces to its essentials a formula of the early Cubists

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  • Bryan Wilson

    Gump’s Gallery

    Overall this show is one of Wilson’s weakest to date. At the same time the large drawings on canvas of predatory birds in the small inner gallery are some of the finest things this artist has achieved to date. The trouble with the total exhibit is the inclusion of far too many plainly bad pictures. Unfortunately for Wilson the numerical preponderance of indifferent works obscures some really marvelous painting.

    James Monte

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  • Jose Posada

    Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

    A selected group of 100 wood engravings by a printmaker who, for the better part of his life, was a salaried employee of a Mexican publisher and conducted a sort of picture journalism of his own for the illiterate peons of his time. It is estimated that he produced more than 20,000 engravings, with a single design running in some cases to as many as 5 million prints.

    In using his work to satirize contemporary Mexican life, Posada wielded a forceful and vitriolic weapon. As a prophet of revolution he paralleled Spain’s Goya and France’s Daumier. The limitations of the medium plus the vehement

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  • Lovis Corinth

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    The soft, fast and cursive drawings of the “Deluge” series are at the end of a career which began in the 19th century with rather tight academic drawing with overtones of Art Nouveau subject matter (Bacchanalia, for example). Though his work parallels the German Expressionists, and he is generally included among them, he cannot be classified as a “Blau Reiter” or a member of “Der Brucke,” but was in fact an independent. Perhaps that is why his work has not been included in some of the tidily organized and well-circulated exhibitions of German Expressionism since the war.

    The “Deluge” series,

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  • Helen Breger

    Cellini Gallery

    The very contrasty black and white aquatint etching is Mrs. Breger’s métier. The drawings and acrylic washes that form almost half of this show might better have been left in folio; they detract from the powerful prints. These engravings record the artist’s view of various scenes in Europe: a piazza in Florence with tiny pedestrians across a sunny expanse bordered with black Renaissance buildings, or a group of peasants from Greece, hard work and hard experience written into their faces. “The Beach” is a scene of many types, a hatted, bearded and coated man walking near a huge, briefly attired

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  • Ronald Dahl and Carl Jennings

    Richmond Art Center

    Paintings and drawings of figures in a strange state of weightlessness, and decorative iron works that have the feel of honest craftsmanship and the look of beauty.

    Dahl has his own ideas on subject-matter and has painted in a style strongly influenced by Frank Lobdell, which would indicate a thick, painterly surface and wonderfully plastic composition, with shape defined by sinuous brush-stroke. Despite its suggestion of Munch and Kokoschka, Dahl’s idiom borders on Surrealism: floating figures of fantastically colored dogs and people (in that order of importance) held in suspension just above

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  • William H. M. Weber

    Galerie de Tours

    Mr. Weber is obviously a well-schooled, commercially oriented painter with a remarkably facile ability to turn out paintings of sensuous, decorative, or sentimentally pictorial appeal in an eclectic range of styles and mannerisms. His least offensive and perhaps most sincere essays are those which draw on French prototypes: a nude study in the pastel flesh tones and diffused light of Pascin, and a study of elderly men seated around a table in a manner paraphrasing Daumier. However, with somewhat less care and involvement, Weber has produced quasi-photographic portraits, slap-dash Expressionistic

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  • Henri Lebasque, William Keith and Thaddeus Welch

    Maxwell Galleries

    For the most part this is an exhibition of period paintings from the gallery’s backlog of run-of-the-mill dealer’s items intermingled with a few works by contemporary artists who have had featured exhibitions here during the past year. The preponderance of wall space is, however, devoted to minor French and American genre painters of the turn of the century, also-ran Impressionists and a few diehard followers of Barbizon traditions. The eye-catcher on the main floor is a richly painted, buoyantly colorful still life of a fan and a bowl of fruit against an ornate Oriental tapestry by Henri Lebasque

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  • Elaine Badgely

    Atherton Gallery

    If one saw Miss Badgely’s drawings apart from her paintings one might assume that they were studies for sculpture. They have a monumentality and a simplicity of contour which would lend itself to working in stone or clay. The line is less sensitive or is obscured by the painting process. The suggestion of sculptural figures is flattened into designed shapes. This is probably the point at which a gifted draftsman has become more concerned with the resolutions of abstraction. The colors tend toward rich greens and purples which are effectively decorative.

    Knute Stiles

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  • T. Mikami

    Winblad Gallery

    Mr. Mikami lectures widely, writes popular treatments on oriental brush technique, is a TV personality, paints a prodigious number of pictures each year, and sells very well on three continents. These paintings are palette-knife sketches of trite scenes. They remind one of thousands of other paintings by thousands of other rather fluent scene painters.

    Knute Stiles

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