San Francisco

Arne Wolfe

Hansen Galleries

In a small selection of woodcuts which Mr. Wolfe exhibited in a corridor group show at the San Francisco Museum of Art last year he was preoccupied primarily with statements in black and white and with ornate calligraphy. While a few of the earlier calligraphic works are included in his present exhibition, the preponderance of wall space is given over to his newer works which are woodcuts on a very large scale teeming with vibrant color. These are all abstractions in which form and color are manipulated in a very free improvisatory way. While the work is not disdainful of such traditional devices as rhythmic sequences and dynamic compositional balance, it is hard to relate it to any specific established school, or method of non-objective statement. Simple, regular geometric forms, such as triangles, squares and circles are used in profusion, but so also are irregular shapes and quite complex convolutions. While, as the medium would imply, shapes are stated in sharp delineation, the work hardly relates to present day Hard Edge methods of composition, and although the use of color is dynamic, there is no attempt at optical gimmickry. These prints are original in conception, and intriguing, displaying a satisfying orderly formalism. Mr. Wolfe is chiefly concerned with color-shape building and has little interest in the limited range of textural variation his medium affords, although here and there is a sparing use of light inking techniques to let the grain of the wood participate in the final impression.

Palmer D. French