reviews

  • Drawings by Dine, Oldenburg, Talbert and Whitman

    Dwan Gallery

    Considering recent tendencies in advanced art, drawing, at least in the classic sense, has ceased to be of importance. Artists will, of course, use preliminary sketches as a kind of private notation but rarely are these produced for public exhibition, nor do they contain much more for the public than a satisfaction of the desire to see and possess the trivial productions of famous names. These four artists, however, among others, are producing drawings that work as finished products. Often they relate to major works but rather than being studies, they are made after the fact, or as integral

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  • David Gray

    Feigen/Palmer Gallery

    Gray’s polychrome metal sculpture exhibition (of works completed within the past twelve months) can be seen as part of a conscious attempt to focus in on the series of transformations wrought within the medium of sculpture during this century. Despite considerable dependence on surface coloration his shapes are intimate studio objects within a long-standing sculptural tradition, but they avoid reference to the monumental, the figurative or to the anthropomorphization of machinery. He maintains sculptural bulk by using pierced geometrical shapes of symmetrical and emblematic character––in effect,

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  • Exquisite Torsi

    David Stuart Galleries

    This group show consists of a lively miscellany of mannequins, dummies, and plaster casts which have suffered some shocks that even flesh is not heir to; in the process they mock the human nude, torso style, as an ideal form. A group sculpture exercise in Dadaist body-building, the exhibit has the inevitably forced tone and minor quality of an anthology of occasional verse; its saving grace is humor and a good title. Though a few epicene torsi appear (such as the mute grey “Cloud Torso” by Vija Celmins), the forms shown are predominantly female, profusely treated to all manner of punning and

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  • Lowell Nesbitt

    Rolf Nelson Gallery

    It’s time somebody wrote, “The Relief of Sexual Repression In American Art.” One senses this restraint as a murky native tradition, even in the 17th century. It gains immensely in Winslow Homer, Glackens, Hopper and even Moses Soyer. The feelings held back by those broad-shouldered, busty, skinny nervous women who brood out of so many windows in the ’30s burst forth in the loquacious gabble of Gorky’s “The Plow and the Song,” and the coarse swath of de Kooning’s women. Edward Albee should write this history and he should include Lowell Nesbitt, who joins the newest interpretation––that of the

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  • Recent American Painting

    Pomona Gallery

    This show consists of assemblages, silk-screens and paintings by Lichtenstein, Warhol, Rosenquist and Wesselmann. All the selections are taken from private collections in the Los Angeles area, and although most of the selections are typical works of the artists, they do not give the full range or depth of any of them. Rosenquist is represented by three widely diverging canvases which are not among his best. The best of Lichtenstein’s comic-strip works is “Scared Witless,” a painting of a sweating, crawling soldier in combat. The bulging of the muscles on his hand, the jagged rendition of his

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  • Emerson Woelffer

    Santa Barbara Museum of Art

    An exhibition of the artist’s recent works, featuring his own personal vocabulary of handprints and “mirror” shapes––shapes which recall half-apples seen in silhouette. Only one work “Yellow Poem #2” lacked both; its dominant feature was a large, black, almost square shape nearly filling the canvas, its uneven edges defined on the sides and the bottom by dark brown areas, while its top was edged by a band of bright ochre. In the upper center of this shape, white, thickly textured paint became two adjoining squares. The black, functioning as a shape in itself and also as a background, provides

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  • Louis Elshemius

    Janis Gallery

    Moony and romantic, Elshemius was discovered by Marcel Duchamp who said, “He is a poet who paints like one.” He did, too; rarely has an artist achieved such touching imagery with such slipshod technique.

    Despite training, Elshemius remained a primitive. When old he railed against an indifferent public, writing letters protesting to the newspapers that he was not only a great artist but one of the great lovers of all time. Meanwhile dealers pirated his work for nickels and dimes. His market rose constantly but he died in Bellevue Hospital, unaware of his rising reputation. He joins the thin stream

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  • Arnold Mesches

    Santa Monica Gallery

    This exhibition includes drawings, oils and gouaches. The 29 works were painted during the past four years. The canvases, some of them tremendous in size, are filled with masses of black and white with occasional bright colors, and immediately communicate violent moods. A deep preoccupation with the struggle between life and death lends a dark brooding quality to these explosive and foreboding canvases. Mesches, a young California painter and teacher, is a highly skilled craftsman who employs tortured distortion within the limits of a restrained palette to implement the ever-present mood of

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  • Joan Maffei

    Ceeje Gallery

    An artist of undoubted evocative power, Joan Maffei, a product of Long Beach State College and UCLA, was given her second one-man exhibition at this gallery. Miss Maffei creates a rather terrifying world. Her world of solid objects in almost garish colors is peopled with icons, not humans, and it faintly recalls the worlds given to us by some of the Mexican social realists of the 1930s, yet developed in an anti-classical manner. Such a work as “Portrait of Carlo” with its strange, dark, powerful figure, cramped into a space too shallow to contain it, gauntleted arms raised high to hold or catch

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  • Old Master Prints from the National Gallery of Art

    National Gallery of Art, University of Southern California

    As a part of an educational program designed to create greater interest in prints, the Print Council of America asked Mr. Lessing J. Rosenwald, one of the nation’s outstanding collectors (and donor of the extensive and magnificent collection that bears his name to the National Gallery), to select fifty works by twenty artists from his donation for circulation to museums and galleries throughout the United States. Spanning the major print developments in Western art to the end of the 19th century, the exhibition is not only a fine introduction to the subject for the novice, but an excellent

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  • Figure Today

    Los Angeles Art Association

    There has been much talk about a return to the figure, but since the Los Angeles Art Association has a long tradition of at least one exhibition each year devoted to the contemporary figure painter, it could be said that the figure never really left the Association. The current exhibition is not the strongest of the recent Association exhibitions, but, as always, it is of interest to the viewer searching for works by artists not currently fashionable.

    The most outstanding painting is Harry Carmean’s “untitled.” It represents a shift in his concepts; the long interest in the Renaissance is still

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  • Robert Hartman

    Comara Gallery

    Hartman’s collage-paintings are done in acrylic paints and cut-out photos of early gliders, which are reproduced by a photocopy process uniquely his own. The process allows him to reproduce a photo and control the delicate tonal values of light and dark, which he varies in his final images. The results are airplanes which are ghostly and evocative shadows of shapes, blurred and indistinct apparitions with only their birdlike silhouettes visible. Usually they are placed on top of luminous washes of thin acrylic paint. Some areas are painted with a dry, wispy brush-stroke; other sections of paint

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  • Architecture, Plan and Environment

    Scripps College - Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery

    Of particular interest to students of architecture and critics of the new Los Angeles County Museum is this selection of designs and plans for the new Museum, which range from the earliest schematic sketches to final detailed drawings. The creative evolution of a monumental building is often taken for granted by the public; seeing this exhibition gives the lie to the misconception that a plan must spring, full-blown, from the brain of some Wrightian genius. Rather, the building is seen as a hybrid of ideas forged into a whole; the Museum might be said to have sprung from the multiple heads of

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  • Frederick Wight

    Ankrum Gallery

    Frederick Wight is the Chairman of the Department of Art at UCLA and Director of UCLA’s Art Gallery. He has written and traveled extensively; the current exhibition, his “Roman series,” is a result of his sabbatical in Rome last summer. His large canvases are filled with historical and mythological figures, gods, animals, frenzied lovers, with symbolic literary references. Wight seems to be re-evaluating ancient Greek and Roman attitudes in terms of modern morality. Two of his most common contrivances, breaking the large canvases up into smaller framed sections, and arbitrarily tearing or burning

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  • Thomas Cornell

    Sabersky Gallery

    This was a thoroughly delightful exhibition of skill and competence in the graphic field. Combining superb draftsmanship with psychological insight expressed through his medium, the artist gives us a series of portraits of classic figures from the literary and political world of 18th-century France, such as Voltaire and Robespierre. The air of antique charm that envelops these works is not false, but is engendered by the artist’s careful craftsmanship, while his concept of the subject is wholly acceptable to a modern viewer.

    Mr. Cornell, born in 1937 and a graduate of Amherst, the Cleveland

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  • Franco Minei

    The Ryder Gallery

    Franco Minei’s paintings are exhilarating, dramatic, vibrantly colorful and strongly patterned. His concern is with the urbane society living in Italy today, the “lost souls” we have encountered in Fellini’s films. Here are the raconteurs, the cosmopolites, the pleasure seeking society of the 1960s, engaged in the frantic struggle of escaping loneliness. Most of Minei’s canvases are filled with highly realistic genre scenes; the remaining are more romantic figures, concerned with beauty, youth, love, and always with pathos. “Suzanne,” a successful painting of a young girl just emerging Into

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  • William Theo Brown

    Landau Gallery

    We come from Brown’s show with a strong aftertaste of nature philosophy; of seas that are Life, symbolical white horses, and nude figures that are generic types of motherhood, fatherhood and childhood. These feelings come specifically from his heavily finished work. Here is something frozen in thickly painted shapes. Stilled gestures become symbolical. We cannot help feeling that he expresses a solemnity not native to him. When Brown discards his archetypes and paints in that looser manner that recalls Matisse bathers and dancers we find a sparkle and spontaneity that proves him more profound

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  • Robert Moore

    Adele Bednarz Gallery

    Moore, a native Californian working in New York, is having his first show on the West Coast. The execution and composition of his work is clear, confident and strong, and seems to express his intention of painting “the primal forces of nature.” It is an elemental nature, generated by the sun and rooted and fertilized in the earth. Most of his images are forces of generation and of continuance: the sun, a seed, the earth, a growing plant. His most successful paintings are his later ones, in which he applies his pigment thinly and utilizes his massive shapes (reminiscent of Gottlieb) in a free

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  • Marjorie Allen

    Galerie de Tours

    Marjorie Allen is concerned with a fantasy world of woodland scenes, fair-haired gods, childlike women, and graceful creatures of the sea. Her canvases are deceptively simple. The poetic shapes and glowing colors trigger reactions in the viewer of half forgotten memories and reveries.

    She is a skilled draftsman with a thorough academic knowledge of paints and techniques. Her studies in anatomy and sculpture at the Boston Museum of Fine Art and her subsequent work as restorer at the Boston Museum furnished her the time and training to develop her technique. A patient experimenter, she has evolved

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  • Group Show

    Feingarten Galleries

    It is curious that group shows displaying a gallery’s stable are so rarely a rewarding experience for the pedestrian. Although open competitions and juried exhibitions show about the same selectivity and diversification, there is something about the commercial exhibitor’s review of his own artists that mysteriously belittles the best while emphasizing the worst.

    The selection mounted by the Feingarten Galleries certainly has its ups and downs, perhaps even more than its share of ups, yet one leaves the premises with a mild sense of dejection probably inspired by a secret wish that the selection

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