reviews

  • Peter Hurd

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    This rather large retrospective exhibition of paintings by Peter Hurd occupies three galleries and could have been improved by some pruning. The earliest paintings in the show are from the mid-1920s: these works are in oil on canvas and depict atmospheric autumnal Pennsylvania landscapes with warm vibrant colors and bold swirling brushstrokes in a moderately heavy impasto, somewhat reminiscent of Van Gogh. After the twenties Hurd changed his locale, his style and his medium and concentrated on developing a Southwestern regionalism in egg tempera on gesso panel, and occasionally in watercolors.

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  • Lee Mullican

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    These are powerful and electrifying paintings. The exhibition is made up of two types of paintings, both exercising a similar palette and technique: short knife-strokes of paint using the whole gamut of reds from dark siennas to bright cadmiums have replaced the dominant yellows of earlier Mullican exhibitions, though there are some golden paintings here, too. One of these types of painting is a saw-tooth repeat pattern reverberating in a sort of hypnotic incantation. Two of these are entitled, suggestively, “Earth Rhythms.” The other sort of painting uses the knife-stroke to form pictographic

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  • Manuel Neri and Wayne Thiebaud

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

    One must try to accept the premise of this two-man exhibit, held in one of the long corridors connecting two wings of the museum. It is that if a curator chooses to exhibit the “personal” sketches, wash drawings, and prints of an artist, along with one or two major works, the whole will give some special insight into the working methods, and perhaps some insight into the germinal ideas, that make up the major works. In the case of Cézanne, enormous insight is gained by viewing his most rudimentary drawings; the converse is true of say, Rodin, whose wash drawings, though beautiful, shed little

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  • Masatoyo Kishi

    Lanyon Gallery

    Since 1961, when he arrived in the United States from Japan, Kishi has developed a visual syntax specifically grounded in the two-dimensional pictorial space of the Japanese and Chinese landscape masters. His style at the time was closely related to the mature style of Jackson Pollock in that the paint was applied to the support in an all-over manner, with individual pictorial incident subordinated to the all-inclusive design pattern. These paintings differed from Pollock’s in the relative calm of their surfaces and their thin washes of semi-transparent paint, as opposed to Pollock’s hyper-active

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  • Wayne Thiebaud, Tony DeLap, Jerry Silva, Anthony Berlant, Ralph Goings, David Dangelo, Darrell Forney, Alan Post, Gregory Kondos, William Wiley, Gary Pruner, Walter Ball, Larry Weldon, Dan Shapiro, Irving Marcus, Jack Ogden, Mel Ramos and more

    Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento

    Collector Malcolm Weintraub and Robert Else, Professor of Art at Sacramento State College, have selected 60 works by 31 artists of the immediate area in a show that is of much higher calibre than one might expect from a city too far away to be part of the Bay Area metropolitan complex of galleries yet too close to be wholly independent of it.

    In a strange sort of dual role, San Francisco has been both a boon and a curse to the outlying cities. Too often unforgivably parasitic, city fathers of perimeter metropolises are apt to take a dim view of building museums or developing art centers since

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  • Arneson, Gordin, Paris, Feldman, Henderson, Howard and Hoag

    San Francisco Art Institute

    The Art Institute’s Art Bank has gathered together an exhibition of new directions in sculpture to travel to various museums and school galleries. As prelude to its departure they have set it up in their own gallery. This show forms a visual essay on the extraordinary growth of sculpture, both in the literal number of people working in the medium and the constantly growing variety of techniques being employed by sculptors in the Bay Area.

    The welding of iron and sheet steel into figures and forms is still with us, but as this exhibition demonstrates, in reduced popularity. Sidney Gordin’s “42-61”

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  • Primitive American Watercolors

    de Young Museum

    Mrs. Abbey Aldrich Rockefeller and husband entertain Sunday guests. After dinner the guests congratulate her on her fascinating hobby; “This has needed doing!” and, “. . . It must keep you very busy.” But the gentlemen want to talk about oil and money, so the ladies withdraw to examine Mrs. Rockefeller’s magnificent collection of antique Pop art.

    What did they see? Young Mr. Scissorlegs and Miss Rockerfoot with duckbilled bonnet meeting for a tryst on a perilously miniature Boston bridge. And there was the sidewheeler “Bunker Hill,” stacks a smoke, rocker beam aslant, seeming to sit monumentally

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  • 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

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  • Charles Ross

    Dilexi Gallery

    The topicality of a show such as this is perhaps its most compelling feature. Ross is a young sculptor whose studies at the University of California brought him into contact with Sidney Gordin and Wilfrid Zogbaum, resulting in early work perhaps obliquely influenced by Zogbaum, but looser and more sprawling structurally. Perhaps a year ago Ross abandoned this rather open public style for a kind of hermetic object-making seen last at Stanford University’s Bay Area survey exhibit. His present exhibit is an environment created within the confines of an art gallery. It’s rather like the physical

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  • David Young-Allen

    Buzz Gallery

    Primitives, as we have come to understand the application of the word to art, elaborate their ideas explicitly. Perhaps we should call this painter an untutored sophisticate. There is the usual over-modeling in painting the figure, and the drawing is primitive, but atmosphere is the-principal concern, and the people have developed character, and are not the primitive’s doll-like dummy who performs some mundane act, or registers one very specific emotion. One painting shows a sinister woman seated between two even more sinister silhouettes of male companions; the environment is a very flowery

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  • Marjorie Ehlers

    Venus Gallery, Oakland

    The first one-man show of oils and drawings by an artist of great potential whose brushwork and whose design is nearly flawless, but whose symbolism is so personal as to need her special interpretation. Which limits viewer participation. In short, she prefers monologue to dialogue.

    Miss Ehlers has chosen to speak through the human figure as it is involved with a group. The central figure in each picture is part encapsulated in broad black line, and is presumably herself. The major part of her show is a sort of charade about one important event in her life. But what the event was and why its echo

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  • Dimitri Grachis

    Green Gallery

    Some of these paintings are entirely black. The definition of shapes has been obtained by using gravel in the black, which is to be positive: a disc of graveled black is seen in relief against the negative silvery black of smooth, thin paint. This is counterpoised against a graveled black square with the disc as a hole reversing the negative-positive relationship. Or the whole painting may be unevenly graveled with a scrived line as though a clam had moved from there to there. (If one is prone to literary simile only such modest allusions are allowable: the painter has scrupulously avoided

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  • William Morehouse

    Harbor Gallery

    In a gallery far too small for its stock and much too cluttered for comfortable viewing, Morehouse’s measured landscapes still show to advantage. He is exhibiting mostly small things in which his ability to state and support eloquent space is clearly revealed, although his tendency lately to break the frontal plane of the picture with an ox-bow line is tricky and unfortunate.

    Morehouse has recently enriched his palette by extending the range of color to include more reds, a condition benefiting such small pictures as “Black field,” which is best in the show here, and in harmony with the thick

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  • Masando Kito

    Triangle Gallery

    These paintings display virtuosity, imagination and diligent meticulousness. Mr. Kito works in oil which he manages to manipulate so as to produce surfaces that have the texture of stone: sometimes moist and porous, sometimes dry and crumbling, and sometimes hard and weathered smooth. So compellingly are these effects achieved that one imagines the tactile properties of the surfaces presented. All of the colors employed are such as one commonly associates with complex organic minerals: copper greens, chalky reds, slate blues, and the carbon blue-black of basalt. The various shapes, graffito

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  • Ben Langton

    Bolles Gallery

    The painting “Sun, a Tree, Woman” charts an astrology of private fantasy, with the sun as the center of goodness and grace, the angelic woman symbolizing love and innocence, and the octopus as fear, uncertainty and suspicion; the tree is Langton himself. From this construction the painter branches out into pictorial revelations of each symbol. “Angelic Form” pictures a very womanly angel who is also the contours of the hills and mountains, and whose spread legs form a lovely pastel lake. The octopus in another painting has a telephone dial at its center with the angelic nude eyeing it apprehensively.

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  • Robert Hartman and Richard Wagner

    Berkeley Gallery

    Mixed media paintings expounding the romance of the aviator, and constructed metal sculpture playing weight against measure.

    Hartman scrubs his canvases with subtle variable grays and into this nebulous background he photo-screens sepia-toned pictures of early-day biplanes or monoplanes in pairs, multiples in tight formation, and occasionally a single plane in lone-eagle concept (although there is no special reference to Lindberg). By keeping them compartmented in white rectangles he isolates them from the elemental sky area and suggests the artificiality of the flying machine despite its marvelous

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  • Sergio Agostini

    Maxwell Galleries

    Mr. Agostini’s paintings are concerned with melancholy and usually autumnal agrarian landscapes. He creates a dreamlike quality by the use of horizons-at-infinity and furtive, starkly delineated figures frozen in irrelevant postures and gestures; sometimes, too, the sun is suggested as a black crescent. There are a number of variations on the subject of checkerboard fields with groups of people in the foreground holding aloft bright colored umbrellas. Mr. Agostini applies his color as densely packed, narrow parallel ribbons of paint, or, alternatively, applies a very thin pigment permitting the

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  • Elizabeth L. M. Campbell

    California Palace of the Legion of Honor

    Mrs. Campbell explores the rectilinear color-grid idea not, however, in terms of the contemporary Hard Edge approach, with its emphasis on monotonous and optically hypnotic regularity, but well within the style and characteristic inflections of Mondrian, Glarner and the early Bauhaus. Even at this, her craftsmanship is hasty and amateurish and she brings absolutely nothing new to a method long since carried to its ultimate and most effective realization by others.

    Palmer D. French

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  • Prefete Duffault, Valcin and Philippe Auguste

    Karamanduca Gallery

    Prefete Duffault invents imaginary cities with carefully tended vineyards growing up the steep hills to the castellations and saintly statuary on each summit. Each city is full of people, all walking, no one stands still, no one is actually with anyone else. Valcin has painted a group of cane workers who are pretending stalks of cane are musical instruments; they are dancing to the imaginary music. Philippe Auguste paints brilliant jungles, this one with combed-maned lion, escalloped-eared elephant, and a snake whose fluorescent fuchsia mouth is as poisonous as his long green body. The Haitian

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  • John Mancini

    Nut Tree Gallery

    Mancini’s division of the canvas into large uncluttered areas of strong color and his ability to summarize trees and houses by means of reducing them to simple volumes give a quiet power to his paintings. Recently he has turned from the quiet serenity of understated landscape to the quiet serenity of understated urban scape—thereby escaping the threat of monotony which sometimes menaces his shows.

    Elizabeth M. Polley

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  • Sokichi Suga

    Lucien Labaudt Gallery

    In the course of teaching blind children Suga devised a method of gluing wrinkled rice paper with lines in raised relief and occasionally collaged articles, which give tactile as well as visual pleasure to his paintings. Even the paint is applied with variety and consideration of the tactility of its surface. One piece has a smooth oval stone glued down; another has a mosaic of small bits of broken eggshell. He used no brushes or other instruments. Everything was applied quite literally by hand. The essential symmetry of several of these pictures is probably out of the tradition of Japanese

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