Los Angeles

“New Directions”

Palos Verdes Community Art Association Library Gallery

This four-man show, featuring works by Marcus White, Gordon Wagner, Jerome Kirk, and Jari Havlena, is both well chosen and effectively presented. Swinging mobiles, standing sculptures and prone paintings combine in a most complementary fashion. The individual selections, however, are of variable quality.

Strong are the welded and assembled metal sculptures of Marcus White. Completely constructed of automotive parts, they successfully transcend their mundane origins to become cohesive sculptural units, as in the shimmery, undulating, amorphous welded bumper entitled Swing Low Sweet Cadillac, or more lightly imaginative, as in the strangely humanoid collection of stray parts painted black and red and left Untitled. White is also showing several two-dimensional, primarily cloth collages. Outstanding among them is Blue Jean Rohrschack, a subtle organization of bits and pieces of cowboy garb juxtaposed into an intriguingly balanced unit. His other ventures in this medium, however, are not up to this standard.

Compelling are the fantastic, whimsical, and nightmarish assemblages of Gordon Wagner. Weathered wood, decapitated and de-extremitied dolls, and other worn trivia comprise these semi-symmetrical units, of which All Is Not Lost, a circular collection of rotted shoes, gloves, and doll against a red, white and blue, background plane, The Naz, a bizarre, Surreal creation, and American Sunburst, a centrally-based construction from which almost atom like projectiles eject, are the best.

The mobiles swaying to and fro, within the gallery and without, are the products of Jerome Kirk. Although very Calderish in style, they are nevertheless well executed, designed, and engineered. The circular-formed arrangements, the red Fission and blue Excentric, were particularly nice.

Weakest contributor to the exhibit is Jari Havlena, whose works span a broad gamut of styles and quality levels. By far best is her Journey I, an oil and collage painting in which torn paper and paint effectively interact to create a moody yet sharply-formed composition. But at the other extreme are two sloshy, smeary, tritely conceived selections which should never have been shown.

Charlene Steen