Los Angeles

Jess Collins, Judy Gerowitz, Irving Petlin, Robert Indiana, George Herms, Lowell Nesbitt, Lynn Foulkes, and Lloyd Hamrol

This group show introduced a couple of new people to the gallery’s regular stable. With few exceptions it proves how much more satisfying contemporary artists are when seen individually. It sets one to wondering if the bad old days of the masterpiece and the tour-de-force are altogether gone.

Robert Indiana comes as close as anyone to giving a work that is all his work compounded. An enormous yellow and black format in form of a fat “X” strikes us as more fruitful than all his recent number pictures added up. Each segment of the work contains a circle divided horizontally. In the top half of each one are the letters USA variously underlined with the monosyllable EAT, DIE, HUG, or ERR. One circle has the numerals 666—which could represent either the evangelical mark of the beast or a bookkeeper’s pun for sick, sick, sick. In any case the work is thought-provoking and diverting to look at.

George Herms suggests a slight variation in direction, moving from his fetishistic nature-mysticism towards something more cosmic and colorful. Two glassed redwood boxes contain objects intended to evoke a sign of the zodiac. Gemini, dominated by a shiny hubcap from an old Mercury, is not only pretty good esthetically but, according to our horoscope, a witty metaphor of the type.

Lynn Foulkes, noted for large stereopticon versions of monochrome mountains, shows a transitional piece introducing color and reducing one half of the piece to a hard edge linear variation on the illusionistic scene. That part is fine, the colors—possibly intentionally—are revolting.

Judy Gerowitz and Lloyd Hamrol are represented by a large wedge shaped object each. Gerowitz’s is about three feet tall and partially striped. Hamrol’s lies on the floor, intruding itself into the room. Since it is solid blue and there is nothing much to it, one could write a book on its possible implications. But one won’t.

A large monochrome flower by Lowell Nesbitt is just as good as it was when it was shown last fall.

Jess Collins and Irving Petlin are the newcomers. Collins makes paintings of laboratory trappings using muted pastel color and incredibly thick impasto, designed—we are told—to weather beautifully. Their eccentric commitment and odd romanticism makes one anxious to see more of him. It would also be nice to see more of Petlin, whose conservative, Steinbeck-flavored pastels failed to make much point aside from suggesting that he is socially aware.

William Wilson