reviews

  • John Constable

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

    John Constable recast the subject of the landscape and this most insular figure stands as a seminal influence in European nineteenth-century painting. To a slowly developed and interrupted grounding in the Academy and the rigorous demands of topographical rendering he added his admiration and understanding of Rubens, Claude, Ruysdael, and Gainsborough. His honesty and steadfastness set him in opposition to such prevalent cliches as brown and varnished tonalities, the Grand Style bravura, and the preference for the picturesque. All were attitudes which had grudgingly elevated this most pedestrian

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  • Ron Blumberg

    Ryder Gallery

    Painting comes easily and naturally to Ron Blumberg, and his work has a vibrant and passionate glow, but because of his natural aptitude he has allowed himself to become so enamoured of the act of painting itself that his pictures, for all their glitter and glow remain superficial and limited. His style, which is rather impressionistic, enhances the romantic mood of his paintings, and because of his extravagant use of color, his pictures have an unusually decorative quality. His brushwork is very adept adding vitality to a style that might otherwise appear almost too commercial and picturesque.

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  • Larry Bell

    Ferus Gallery

    Bell, in this most recent group of glass boxes, has eliminated the seductive jewel-like elements of his previous work and focused his attention predominantly on the containment of light and the use of light as volume. The sparkling allure of the earlier work, the moving fragmentation of surrounding space accomplished by the juxtaposition of mirrored and transparent surfaces and the play of light from coatings that reflect one color and transmit another, is gone, as are the reflected variations on geometrical patterns. The poetic restructuring of space has here given way to a tougher more esoteric

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  • Edward Ruscha

    Ferus Gallery

    This artist has abandoned pictures of letters that turn into numbers for paintings of giant birds that turn into pencils. Without searching for meanings one can respond enthusiastically to the humor of the pictures. But if they are funny it is not because they are entertainment. Their implied depths are often grim, tantalizing and suggestive. Birds, which have been turning up often as subject matter in recent months, are potent if ambiguous symbols. For Morris Graves they have been religious, others have seen them standing for a free, untrammeled masculine ego. Birds are odd. They combine delicacy

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  • Ed Carrillo

    Ceeje Gallery

    Inspired and color-dreamt passages through an imagined nation. The paintings, mostly oil on wood panels, are in some cases joined or assembled from cut-out forms that have been re-inserted into the “home” panel. The paintings all date from 1964–1965 and offer a full view of Carrillo’s recent work and world. There is in these works a very non-tense matter of fact paint touch that eases the viewer, giving the imagery a kind of fluid long play with the senses. This first quality of great charm and authenticity protects them from any immediate dissembling. In Pearly Gates, a vast conjured upper-world

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  • “William Blake And His Circle”

    Huntington Library And Gallery, San Marino

    William Blake (1757–1827) lived in modest obscurity, mostly in London, making illustrated editions of his own poetry. Although his influence wasn’t marked until mid-nineteenth century he did inspire admiration among contemporary artists. It is to him, his generation and those slightly older that the present exhibition is devoted.

    Actually there are two exhibitions. One of independent drawings, etchings and woodcuts, another of Blake’s books. Blake’s ideas and meanings are obscure and allegorical. They have been widely discussed and disputed by scholars, for Blake valued ambiguity. Easy

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  • Alfred Jensen

    Rolf Nelson Gallery

    In this exhibition of a recently completed suite of lithographs made at Tamarind, Jensen finds another literary means for articulating his color-geometries. The suite of 20 prints is entitled “The Pythagorean Notebook,” and is based on ancient mystical-mathematical formulas for architecture. The numerical systems are written out on the lithographs themselves and then illustrated using the artist’s own familiar vocabulary of geometric shapes and colors. Most of these are highly attractive, but the demand for an intellectual response to the extra-visual material makes for an incomplete confrontation.

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  • James Gill

    Felix Landau Gallery

    This artist was brought to notoriety by his painting of Marilyn Monroe. It seemed, with its smile frozen into a scream, prophetic of her absurd death. Gill has had an unusual sensitivity to the problems of the private individual as a public figure, painting ghostly television images or wiggy-type girls in cars in the flickering, horroresque syntax of Francis Bacon.

    Gill may be seen as sustaining the problems of his actors—too much public exposure too soon. His earlier works were done in rubbed crayon and despite their virtues of imagery and anecdote they were flatly lacking in material knowledge.

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  • Kosso Eloul

    David Stuart Gallery

    With only the slightest of alterations—a cut, slice, or gouge—Israeli sculptor Kosso destroys the magnificent power of a solid steel girder or cylinder and by so doing endows the material with a new delicacy and fragile balance quite alien to its indomitable substance. The simple masses accept the disfigurements with grace and dramatic eloquence. Resulting scars, painted white, black, or brilliantly red, give emphasis to the artist’s impeccable surgery on basic structures. Kosso projects a curious satisfaction in the thesis that metal and stone are not after all as invulnerable as prior associations

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  • Rico Lebrun

    Silvan Simone Gallery

    This large viewing of Lebrun’s early drawings is held together by the promise that it comprises work of the 1930–1945 period, yet no further documentation, or in some cases even dates, accompany this random selection of what has to be viewed as a “formative” period for an artist who was later to wield a significant influence on a certain generation of California artists. The possibility of groupings around specific interests, projects, or subjective “streams” is perhaps hampered by the nature of the artist’s life at that time, but this should not be an insurmountable task for any real partisan

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  • Stanley Landsman

    Feigen/Palmer Gallery

    There is a photo process employed in the preparation of silk-screening which reduces everything to two values. Somewhere in the vast range of photographic greys a mechanical or chemical decision is attained and the image is interpreted in only black or white. Whether Landsman actually takes advantage of such a process in executing his paintings is unimportant, but the same decisions, mechanical or mental, are reached and the results are probably identical except for the obvious intellectual control over subject selection and the application of some indifferent art-nouveau mannerisms. Female

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  • “Myth and Man in Primitive Art”

    Harry A. Franklin Gallery

    Examples of African and Oceanic art drawn from museums and private collections combine in an exhibition of significant quality. The small gallery encompasses an initially bewildering variety of masks, figures, suspension hooks, drums, gaming boards, cosmetic dishes and spoons.

    Eventually one begins to piece out distinctive varieties of styles. There is the smooth black polish of the Baule, whose bearded princes and kings have the posture and dignity of ancient Egypt. This handsome Ivory Coast people, we are told, are the only African tribe to have made objects for pure esthetic enjoyment.

    A mask

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  • Lance Richbourg

    Ceeje Gallery

    Richbourg’s romantic, literary paintings pose as up-to-date illustrations for Brett Harte short stories, with hip elements of Pop and funk. The paintings are illustrative of our over-glamorized “Wild West”; one cannot help thinking of Hollywood and Knott’s Berry Farm. They form a series of violent and humorous incidents, but the visual stories are as corny as the manner in which they are painted. Mr. Richbourg is well trained in the use of foreshortening, perspective and rendering, upon which he builds a style of Pop attitudes, Surrealism and personal garish taste. These are violent power-packed

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  • Herbert Bayer

    Esther-Robles Gallery

    Herbert Bayer’s dedication to an esthetic attitude has persisted through a quarter of a century of close associations with significant movements and the leaders of those movements. A student of Kandinsky and a member of the famed Bauhaus in Germany, Bayer carried the “Art for Use” ideal to America along with Moholy-Nagy, Mies van der Rohe and others fleeing from Hitler’s attack on that institution and its principles.

    The transposition from Europe to New York in 1938 and to Aspen, Colorado in 1946 has resulted in the extension and purification of Bayer’s style of abstraction. All of the works in

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  • “Plane and Real”

    Mount St. Mary’s College

    This is a mounting of ingenious and theatrical experiments by UCLA professors Gordon Nunes and Jan Stussy. The impression of rhetorical academicism that is created by the mannikin figures which dominate the exhibition is extremely unfortunate for there are good works in the show, but they are the smaller two-dimensional objects.

    Dozens of dummys’ heads are painted, sliced, decorated, punctured and broken. Full mannikin figures are covered with stretched canvas to produce sculptural effects. The only feeling we derive from them is a strained mannerism. Nunes and Stussy have both previously

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  • Group Show

    Ankrum Gallery

    An interesting variety of styles and techniques are on display including what is now the gallery’s permanent exhibit of Doyle Lane’s ceramics. Up to now, Lane has worked only through commissions, and this is his first gallery exposure. His weed-pots, each one a little gem, glow with individual charm and excellence. There is a beautiful Zen quality to the work of this gifted ceramic artist and his permanent exhibition adds greatly to one’s pleasure in the gallery.

    Among the painters showing, Irving Block is well represented, along with Morris Broderson, who features among other things, paintings

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  • Sol Cenowski

    Gallery De Silva, Santa Barbara

    A new device for drawing, a computer, is being used by two young Santa Barbara scientists who call themselves Sol Cenowski. (It was inevitable that sooner or later this would happen.) These two young men work in a nuclear research development firm in the Goleta Valley, and became intrigued with the possibility of using one to program drawings, using their mathematical equations with an eye to esthetic results.

    The programming of the largest computer in the area demands a great deal of education and experience. It is also an expensive experiment because renting a computer is a costly business.

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  • Grigory Gluckmann

    Dalzell Hatfield Gallery

    There is much to be said for his technical skill and meticulous workmanship, but Gluckmann’s paintings remain altogether too pretty, lacking the vitality and dynamic irregularity that are among the most compelling qualities in all works of great beauty. Though his approach to painting is traditional and naturalistic, a certain artificiality is present in much of the work, as if Gluckmann has reduced his paintings to a formula without being consciously aware of it. The ballet dancers, by now a decorator’s cliche, appear out-dated and sentimental, and the nudes which derive from Renoir never seem

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  • Richard Whorf

    Galerie Gregg Juarez

    If movie producer-director-actor-etc. Richard Whorf were able to suppress his inclinations toward anecdote his paintings would gain considerably in stature for he demonstrates a fine eye for both objective reporting and technical proficiency, either trait served best without sentimental footnotes. Much in the manner of Hopper or Steumpfig, but lacking their humanism, Whorf avoids wallowing in formulated melodrama by composing with the careful consideration of an experienced cameraman. His obvious adoration of weathered barns and fishing shacks, junk shops, abandoned churches and farm homes,

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  • Helen Pashgian

    Rex Evans Gallery

    This show includes recent paintings and wall reliefs. The latter are constructed of natural bone and hydra stone, a refined cement. The wall reliefs, elaborately conceived, are somewhat ponderous, lacking a sense of direction, as if the artist were searching for something that she has not yet found. This feeling is also present in the paintings which for the most part are heavy and redundant. The subject matter of the pictures, some of which are part collage, seemingly reflects a prehistoric age, especially in the large canvas Earth Eyes which is like some strange organic growth of an antediluvian

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  • Thomas Bang

    Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara

    Bang has recently returned from a year spent in Europe on a Fullbright Grant. His new paintings and drawings display more authoritative techniques and more inventive themes. In his investigations of color and patterns Bang sometimes comes close to “Op” art, but his main concern is with color relationships and color vibrations so the Op art works only as a side-effect. His paintings are composed of rhythms of brilliant color patterns and transitions that are abruptly broken with a window or an isolated black form. Many of these themes have musical reference and connotations such as Study for

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  • “Arts of Southern California XVI: Prints”

    Long Beach Museum of Art

    Representative of the finest graphic art work of the Southland, this exhibition presents 69 selections by invited artists recommended by the more important local art museums and schools. (And indeed it proves that the professional museum people know what they’re talking about!) All varieties of intaglio, lithographs, serigraphs and woodblock prints are included, although the latter two media are relatively sparse.

    Most of the noted printmakers as well as some talented newcomers are included, and their products are truly breathtaking. By developing the intaglio techniques particularly to their

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  • Csengeri, Dillingham And Villumsons

    Long Beach Museum of Art

    These three painters share the upstairs gallery area of the Museum, and their very different approaches combine to make a well balanced exhibit. Clearly strongest of the trio is George Csengeri who paints large, somber-toned, roughly surfaced oils, often including collage elements. Forms are kept simple, sometimes open sometimes closed, and texture plays an important role. Often a kind of suspended or floating quality is achieved, although never departing from the essentially earthy appeal.

    Orval Dillingham’s paintings are a rather weak cross between San Francisco figurative and Pop Art schools

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  • “A New Generation of Latin American Artists”

    Palos Verdes Community Arts Association Library Gallery

    On loan from the Pan American Union are these paintings and drawings by about 20 contemporary Latin American artists. Although most of the selections are quite professionally executed in styles ranging from Abstract Expressionism to semi-Pop and Op, there was a notable lack of any specifically Latin American iconography or personality. Although this does not negate the esthetic validity of the works, it is nevertheless rather sad to see such a complete severance from the indigenous cultures. Interestingly, some of the most impressive examples are tied to their cultures. Distorted, slightly

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  • First Annual Redondo Beach Art Festival

    Dunlap Building

    Thanks to nearly $3000 in prize money, over 2200 artists from as far as Michigan and Florida contributed to this mammoth show. Limiting the displayed selections to 750, Judges Lorser Feitelson, Roger Kuntz and Ben Abril then allotted the prizes with an unfortunate inconsistency of taste and standards. Particularly disappointing was the big purchase prize winner Chandelier by Robert Frame, executed in the shallow slush-and-scrape technique which has become his formula. Overlooked were many excellent works by long-time California professionals such as Ynez Johnston, Leonard Edmondson, Frederick

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  • Faculty Exhibit

    Harbor College

    This display of groupings of arts and crafts by faculty members is relatively competent but thoroughly lacking in great inspiration or genius. Among the better selections are weathered wood-and-found-object sculptures by Jon Grider; plane-conscious, structural drawings by John Cassone; bold, Abstract Expressionist paintings by Nancy Wildermuth Webber; imaginative but short-on-control ceramics by Frank Metranga; and pleasing jewelry and pottery by Elaine Katzer.

    ––Charleen Steen

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  • Larry Rivers

    Dwan Gallery

    A small format show, arranged from fragments of earlier interests plus seven recent cut-out boxes dating from 1965, provides a skimming look at little touchdowns in Rivers’ running improvisation on the American art scene. The Daily Screw and The Sunday Screw, oil and collage works from 1963 open this presentation. Built up into the newspaper format with wide slices of photograph-induced paint, are two eye catching concerns of everyday and Sunday newspapering, sex and spies, the treatment of which in these two collages is, however, mostly verbal. Rivers’ short prose represents a kind of verbal

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