Los Angeles

Milton Hebald

Zora Gallery

In his exhibit of cast bronze sculpture, Milton Hebald has paraphrased Canova’s Paulina Borghese, but only managed to make fun of her. The lady was taken from her seat in Rome and given a studio couch and a pony tail. Thus, the neo-classic sculpture becomes colloquial, but in this case it is only the result of diluting a good idea.

Two themes open to anyone, the Three Graces and the Rape of the Sabines, are also treated by Hebald, but again he is only playing. As with every other piece in the show, these two are the size of a cocktail conversation piece and lack scale, and in each the bronze is shaped into planes that stop short of becoming volumes. The lightness of the “Three Graces” becomes flimsiness, and the Rape is ineffectual either as a parody or as a legitimate subject.

The main visual cause of the lifelessness in Hebald’s sculpture is a pervasive equality of tension. One particular curve becomes fixed and is repeated throughout a piece in the silhouette and the three-dimensional structure. Without this weakness, two other themes which Hebald used, “Vespa” and “Jitterbug,” could have been treated successfully since they have the chatty, “in passing” quality of his style.

Molly Siple