San Francisco

William King

Berkeley Gallery

William King’s genial giants at the Berkeley Gallery pose in their naugahyde skins as if they stepped out of a Vogue pattern with a detour stop at a cartoonist’s studio. Their bodies, in some cases ten feet tall, have flat, square torsos and enormously long thin arms and legs. The embracing couple entitled Just Friends have a Byzantine distance between their giant presences and the spectator. In spite of the scale of the works King has not succumbed to the obvious and made theatrical golems. On the contrary the sculptures have a certain humanness in spite of their size.

The naugahyde material can best be described as a synthetic leather. It is used for upholstering automobile interiors as well as office furniture and other surfaces where wear is an important factor. The naugahyde is stretched and sewn over aluminum armatures with nylon thread. The craftsmanship is excellent, as well as the expressive range of the pieces, given the unusual materials.

James Monte