reviews

  • R. B. Kitaj

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    Born in Ohio, and currently an expatriate in London at a time when English artists flock in the opposite direction, Kitaj uses the shored fragment and rag-bag technique as a defensive weapon against the imagined ruins of purism (“I don’t like the smell of art for art’s sake”). His disjointed paintings raise so many unpopular side issues about the role of disorder in a work of art, the possibility of “plural energies” (his phrase) in a time of simplistic monism, the range of subject matter permissible in contemporary painting, and the nature of the connections between the verbal and the visual,

    Read more
  • Larry Rivers

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    Larry Rivers concocts brilliance. Half-a-dozen unforgettable paintings stud his thirteen-year career. But nothing he has painted equals the guile with which he has painted it. Rivers’ artful dodges signal the triumph of craftiness over craft.

    Nervous, shifting, ambitious paintings evoke shades of artists whose drive surmounted severe limitations—Courbet, Manet, Gauguin. Rivers’ early variation on Courbet’s Funeral at Ornans scarcely resembles it but it does indicate the spiritual bond between the two revolutionaries. Today Courbet’s revolt seems simple. He struck a firm about-face posture as a

    Read more
  • Lichtenstein, Thibaud, Warhol, Indiana, Brach, Jensen, Ortman, Chermayeff, Goodnough, Frankenthaler, Yunkers and Marisol

    Feingarten Galleries

    No one could easily confuse fabric with paint and an attempt to make critical comparisons between the two or to consider the wisdom of transferring designs from one medium to another would only serve to belittle the entertaining, brilliantly colored summer fare featured at Feingarten Galleries. Produced in editions of twenty, these appliquéd felt banners were executed from commissioned designs by such celebrated innovators as Lichtenstein, Thibaud, Warhol, Indiana and others. The flat color compositions appropriate to the above artists adapt themselves with ease to the soft velvety textures of

    Read more
  • 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

    Read more
  • Barnett Newman

    Nicholas Wilder Gallery

    The problem of commenting on the recent Newman suite of color lithographs is that there is precious little to deal with visually. The whole exercise is about a “stance” taken by the artist in his preface, largely unsubstantiated by the work itself, while at the same time strongly implied by the sumptuousness of its presentation in hand crafted book form as a limited edition of eighteen volumes. Starting with the vellum-covered box, a faint, centered “BN” is discerned. Continuing to the red title page, with a flourish is written “18 Cantos” and the artist’s signature. Then the Preface. Then Canto

    Read more
  • Joan Miro

    P. N. Matisse

    A brief but significantly fine selection of gouaches and drawings by the Spanish Surrealist defy commentary both because of the extensive writings on him and the assertive mastery of most of the works.

    The sheets touch major periods between 1934–1960. Characteristic wise-child forms and ominous humor are already reflected in Sandpaper Collage (1934) which shows vestigial interest in Analytic Cubism, while Graphism-Poeme (1953) manifests a wildness that may represent an exchange of influence between him and the art brut of Jean Dubuffet.

    Four small pen drawings look like those master scribbles

    Read more
  • Jacob Epstein, Kaethe Kollwitz, Louis Barye, Menen

    Dalzell Hatfield Galleries

    The gallery presents a selection of sculpture as well as a changing exhibition of paintings and 20th-century Aubusson tapestries. The sculpture installation is dominated by seventeen works of the late British sculptor, Sir Jacob Epstein. Mostly bronze busts of his favorite models, these are joined by a study of a child as well as a roughly academic portrait head of Rabindranath Tagore. The Princess Menen bust of 1948, even in its truncated form of a half-body frontal portrait presents an aspect of the Epstein archetypal heroic female form: a large raw-boned Eurasian/Eurafrican with flowing,

    Read more
  • Richard Klix

    Esther-Robles Gallery

    The Richard Klix exhibition of paintings was but one of nine weekly one-man shows held during the summer months along with a continuous group presentation including works by each of the featured artists. The eight others: Fletcher Benton, kinetic sculpture; Karl Benjamin, Seymour Boardman, Glen Robles, Roslyn Ehrenhalt, and Dale Henry, paintings; and constructions by Joan Jacobs and Linda Levi. The gallery’s ambitious summer program was impressive but unfortunately public response was not.

    During the first week in August Richard Klix was given his due, a selection of a score of paintings featuring

    Read more
  • Roger Kuntz

    Felix Landau Gallery

    The exhibition of Roger Kuntz sculpture of swimmers, sirens, mermaids, water dancers and beach watchers at the Landau Gallery is lively fare for the summer season. The cavorting ladies, whether soaring, floating, diving, or prancing in and above the water seem wonderfully at ease in their new environment. The frivolous attitudes attained by the figures in no way rejects the authority with which Kuntz arranges the outflung arms, legs, heads, breasts and buttocks of his careless ladies. Sometimes distorting to Lachaise’s elephantine dimensions, the artist deals directly and freely with those

    Read more
  • Waldemar Otto

    The Ryder Gallery

    Polish born Waldemar Otto, whose first West Coast showing of bronzes was a total sellout, relies heavily on sentimentality when creating his sculptures based on family ties and religious themes. Mothers and children play, the Good Shepherd carries his lamb, Noah gathers his animals into the ark, etc., all expressed with the solid simplicity and formalization found in much figurative bronze work being accomplished today. When divorced from the anecdotal, Otto also rids himself of some pretty restrictive stylizations, and a few rather hesitant compositions manage to voice statements which are

    Read more
  • William Ptaszynski

    Rex Evans Gallery

    Student and admirer of the late Rico Lebrun, Ptaszynski’s devotion shows but subtly in his work. His admiration seems to have been more for the man than for the great legacy of work left behind, and correctly so, as too many students and would-be emulators have tried and failed to match Lebrun’s monumental strides. Ptaszynski’s watercolor landscapes betray the eye by proposing a lacy delicate composition which in turn veils too successfully a more potent statement lurking beneath. The underlying force is where echoes of Lebrun may be found but the surface configuration executed in soft pastels

    Read more
  • Charles White and Ernest Lacy

    Heritage Gallery

    Both of these Southern California artists demonstrate the importance of knowing one’s medium. In their work technique is not simply a question of making a good thing look a little better by executing it properly, it is the crucial factor of quality.

    Both of them are printmakers who deal in traditional imagery. There is little in conception or composition to distinguish them and yet they gain a certain distinction because they are able to calculate the effects of a wipe, bite or cut.

    White makes large linocuts of patriarchal figures. His understanding of relief printing techniques contributes

    Read more
  • Carol Tolin

    Galerie Juarez

    Individual personality is the main attraction of this first one-man show. It comes through the pastiche of the artist’s admirations with surprising strength. Tolin shadows forth sensuous romanticism in odd interior colors; purple, magenta and turquoise. There is an almost fetishistic fascination with the female figure which is much further to the side of psychological involvement with subject than is ever true of her mentors—de Kooning, Diebenkorn, and Oliveira.

    Tolin’s is a job well done but half completed. She must bring her drawing and composition up to the level of her feeling and color.

    Read more