Los Angeles

Bernice Kussoy

Ankrum Gallery

The extensive showing of sculpture by this San Franciscan first impresses with the artist’s aptitude with a blowtorch and second raises doubts over the appropriateness of using this masculine and indelicate material to depict tender subjects somewhat feminine in character. What Miss Kussoy does she does well. The Cubistically constructed figures of people or animals arrive with authority and the introduction of various functional pieces of junk to portray roles of a less mundane nature such as large washers acting as tortillas for sale by a squatting street vendor shows the artist to possess wit and ingenuity. A garden hose spool becomes a handsome chariot with the warrior brandishing an iron ashtray base as a shield. Bicycle chains and springs become maiden’s hair or horse tails while an undisguised faucet handle is transformed into a flower. The application of these objects, while occasionally obvious. prove an alert imagination is at work and it is therefore somewhat disconcerting to find in the midst of all this that is not what it is, a trumpet that is a trumpet, and a wheelbarrow that is a wheelbarrow.

Humor is not inappropriate to the subjects selected by the artist, particularly when she casts the steel and iron objects recovered from the junk yard in unlikely roles. but one cannot help feeling that the considerable effort evidenced by all those tortured chunks of steel might have been better spent on subjects a bit less lighthearted. Best in the show are the full-sized standing and sitting nudes—pure compositions where the artist used her sheet metal and blowtorch to advantage, unadulterated with the whimsy of rubble.

Curt Opliger