reviews

  • “Surrealism”

    Santa Barbara Museum Of Art And University Art Gallery, U.C., Santa Barbara

    Art Movements, Like old soldiers, never die: they just fade away. Or sometimes, just when we think they have finally disappeared, they march back in like conquering Caesars from the provinces of near oblivion. Just so with Surrealism, returned to our consciousness by the exhibition entitled “Surrealism: A State of Mind (1924–1965),” initiated and presented by the Art Gallery of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in conjunction with a showing of earlier Surrealist works at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

    Now that we are far enough removed for a revival of interest in Surrealism to

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  • Jawlensky and the Serial Image

    Art Gallery, University Of California At Irvine

    Though most of these paintings were seen as recently as 1964 (in the Pasadena Art Museum’s Jawlensky Centennial exhibition, in the installation of which, by the way, the thesis of the current show was implied) two of Jawlensky’s grandest masterpieces Blossoming Girl and Blonde (both 1911) are re-viewed with the greatest of pleasure. Painted at the apex of his bitter and heavily personal Fauve style, they are constructed of unformalized, knitted, and intensely contrasting color patches and isolating dark lines. Barely restrained power emanates from this pair of completely particularized amazonian

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  • Robert Morris

    Dwan Gallery

    This is the first Los Angeles exposure of a body of Morris’ recent, widely-publicized work in which he has attempted to reduce the traditional qualities of sculpture—tactility, visual incident and structure—based on extra-optical premises to a kind of total gestalt experience. One does not see these simple, neutral, grey polyhedrons in the conventional sense of seeing sculpture. Rather, the pieces are sensed as spatial amalgams, objects that disrupt or comment upon the space of the room. Interest in the shapes themselves is quickly diminished, leaving an impression of scale as the dominant

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  • Frank Lobdell

    Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

    This is the first major retrospective exhibition of one of San Francisco’s most influential painters. During the late 1940s and early 1950s Lobdell’s presence at the California School of Fine Arts emerged as the dominant force in the inculcation of the moral/intellectual attitudes of Clyfford Still, an approach that has seemed to dominate much Bay Area painting and sculpture up to the present moment.

    In being confronted with the vast body of Lobdell’s work one is impressed immediately with the consistency of a morphological approach to image and paint application that attempts to tear loose

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  • John Mclaughlin

    Felix Landau Gallery

    One of the elder statesmen of West Coast geometric painting continues his sparse, right-angle subdivisions in eight recent canvases, and viewed against recent reductive or minimal developments his pioneering development may be more justly considered and fully admired. Since 1958 he has explored the particular possibilities of vertically or horizontally oriented bilateral symmetry, involving broad areas and delimiting margins or frames. Gradually increasing his format size, he has, since about 1961, concentrated on the generous but comfortably manageable proportions of four by five feet. In size

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  • Joe Goode

    Nicholas Wilder Gallery

    In his past work, Joe Goode has consistently combined a purist formal stance with common-object subject matter, producing an ambiguous, sidelong rather than head-on confrontation with the problems of contemporary art. The ambiguities attendant upon this combination reach critical proportions in his current exhibition of staircase-like constructions. The mute installation of six of these constructions, varnished, lovingly finished with sensually pleasing rugs tinges with Surrealism a brilliant game between formalism and realism.

    The constructions do not parody the ready-made, for had Goode sought

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  • Ellsworth Kelly

    Ferus Gallery

    Kelly quite rightfully occupies a leading and influential position among today’s painters and this brilliant presentation confirms his awesome control of the optical language.

    Typically a single full blown shape (here, geometric or rectangular) attached to at least one edge of the canvas, clearly commands a prime position of full dimension. The contours are sharply cut, the oil paint applied in a clean, subtly brushed manner. His European experience perhaps produces a more traditional approach to composition and space. In the banded organizations of Noland and Stella, one sizes up the whole,

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  • William Turnbull

    Pavilion Gallery, Newport Harbor

    Writing recently of British artists in general, Max Kozloff remarked “. . . they risk becoming satellites of our art . . . at the same time they tend to give up what previous individuality they had.” Recent developments in American art, particularly those aspects stemming from Barnett Newman (as well as those from mass media) are not only urban in origin, but are also an outgrowth of an American mystique. Turnbull’s paintings, extremely large in scale, convey an impression of being studies of Newman’s space-color-form style, rather than being the product of an inherent conviction. Many of the

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  • Vija Celmins

    David Stuart Galleries

    Vija Celmins in her first one-man show has produced a series of small, grey paintings of sudden moments caught by a camera, but there is a sense of something lost in the transition from photograph to painted picture. For the most part her images are of a direct kind (frozen rhinoceros, plane in midair, a second in a bombing), all of which seems to call for an equally direct technique. However, she paints with a softened, romantic stroke, which creates a sensitive surface inconsistent with the shock qualities of her realism. The greyed palette seems logical, but the painting technique does not.

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  • Vasarely, Davies, Bayer and Pinkerton

    Esther-Robles Gallery

    Vasarely’s Op art is tasteful and restrained. The black and whites on display are not as visually exciting as the paintings. Planitarische, a close grouping of highly colored dots vibrating tonally and rhythmically is especially attractive, as is Folklore which is somewhat more relaxed in feeling, but retaining the same opulence of color and design.

    Alan Davies’ Zurich Suite of Color Lithographs is exuberantly flashy, splashy, facile, and eclectic, and like so much of that type of decorative razzle-dazzle, it is, by now, something of a bore.

    The eight geometric Monochromes by Herbert Bayer which

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  • Fourth Annual Southern California Exhibition

    Long Beach Museum Of Art

    Jurors Warren Beach, Claire Falkenstein and Kenneth Ross did an excellent job in selecting a broad diversity of styles without compromising on the quality of work. Many new faces and surprisingly few old names contribute to the freshness of the show (although there are quite a few familiar-looking selections by unfamiliar people).

    Particularly impressive is the quantity of fine sculptures, ranging from the very basic, symbolic tree stump carving Mother Walking Her Five Corks by Barry McCallion to the completely formal, geometric, symmetrical, colored plexiglass organization of Robert Stevenson.

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  • Ray Brown

    Ceeje Gallery

    Etchings, oils, drawings and bronze reliefs comprise this showing of recent work by Ray Brown, currently teaching at U.C.L.A. His work is executed with boldness and skill, and in his attempt to capture the irrational and absurd, he comes close to success, falling just short of it because of an excessive reliance on gimmicks and melodrama, to the point where the picture itself and the message it contains are strained apart. Brown divides his canvas into two or more sections, each containing a separate set of images, all joined to each other by his central idea or theme. Color is not one of his

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  • Jacques Villon

    Sabersky Gallery Kurzen

    A beautifully sensitive line and a highly developed esthetic sensibility mark the work of Jacques Villon whose unpretentious drawings and etchings spanning the years from 1911 to 1951 are tastefully displayed. His portrait drawings ReneCorneille, and the drawing of his brother, Marcel Duchamp, are all included in the show. Le Petit Equilibriste shows the influence of his brother as well as the Cubist influence which is quite pronounced in much of the work. The show is quiet and restrained. Nothing screams at you, but it’s all there when you come to it.

    Estelle Kurzen

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  • Tony Pastor

    Bognar Galleries

    This show consists of a series of abstract images dealing with nature, a concern not only in the artist’s imagery, but also in his use of color and paint. He chooses an earthen palette of greens, browns and ochres applied in a heavy gesso technique of glazes and light black lines. The paintings treat of humus- like surfaces and rock- like forms. His larger canvases are much more accomplished, as forms become stronger and more self-confident.

    Susan R. Snyder

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  • “French Impressionists, German Expressionists, and Contemporary Artists”

    Stephan Silagy Gallery

    Among the more familiar artists represented are prints by Kandinsky and Miro, an arresting portrait drawing of Chauvian Heran by Modigliani, a Matisse ink drawing, potboilers by Vlaminck and Utrillo, and a small and delicate painting by Marie Laurencin. From the School of Paris there are picturesque landscapes by Yves Brayer, Forrissier, and George Rohner, as well as a floral still life by Bernard Lignon. Of the other Europeans represented, there is a small watercolor of three seated figures done with child-like candor by the German Expressionist, Kirchner, and a large canvas Woman Holding

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  • Jean Arp and Gallery Group

    Gilles A. De Turenne Gallery

    One cannot help but feel how closely the poet and artist are joined in the work of Jean Arp, and included in this showing are a small group of his drawings, reliefs and collages. “Torso Regard,” a masterpiece of understatement, is a perfect example of Arp’s fluid and lyrical style. In this drawing as in most of his work, the image is distilled into the idea of its being, evoking more in the imagination of the beholder than what is immediate to itself. The intuitive aspect of Arp’s work is what gives it its poetry, but along with that, his work has an intellectual sophistication that is particularly

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  • Emerald Merrill

    The Emerson Gallery

    Issuing photographs in limited numbers, matless on substantial mounts for wall hanging, Merrill is utilizing techniques which successfully present his work. His major set, a back-lit, out of focus study of a lithe and languorous nude, is his most original and outstanding sequence. Entirely controlled in the camera work, particularly evocative are the seated and turning poses in which the soft focus light reorganizes the recognizable into a series of fresh forms. Though more conventional, three studies of Edmund Teske strike a balance between character analysis, textural qualities and a dramatic

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  • Fritz Faiss

    Canoga Mission Art Center, Canoga Park

    Mr. Faiss has revived the use of Punic Wax, a technique in which beeswax is heated in sea water and soda until it becomes very hard. Then wax is melted and powdered color, resin and oil are mixed into it. The canvas and palette must both be kept heated while working and then a final “burning in” process is employed. Encaustic is not only an indestructible material, but a great variety of textural possibilities can be produced. His religious paintings produced between the years 1940 and 1945 under the constant fear of Nazi terrorism, show a simple and moving sensitiveness. His more recent works

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