Los Angeles

Vincent Kruger, Howard Bond, Chuck Prentiss, Jules Engel, Ronald Mallory, John Battenberg and Mowry Baden

Esther-Robles Gallery

The Esther-Robles Gallery is showing a group of new works by gallery artists. Some of the most interesting are younger sculptors and object-makers whose work has rarely been exhibited.

Vincent Kruger has been working in Los Angeles for about a year: he comes originally from Canada and is a professional architect-designer. All but one of his works here are silk-upholstered. East-West (1967) is the largest, measuring 44 x 56 inches. It hangs from the ceiling like a thick canopy, splitting away from the top into two concavely turned segments. The outer surface is covered in blue silk, with orange lining. Gobi Desert is a small wall-hanging piece, with maroon silk stretched in a flat plane which is disrupted merely by a slight linear protrusion near the bottom. Another wall-supported object, entitled Birth (48 x 31 inches) is upholstered in chartreuse synthetic fur, split vertically in the center to expose a protrusion of blue stretched fabric. The aura of this work (and, to a lesser extent, of the others) combines the sensibility of San Francisco funk art and the slick-object art associated with Los Angeles.

Pasadena artist Howard Bond is represented with a large (84 1/2”) piece in opaque plexiglass and fur. It is a harsh five-sided semi-triangular form which leans against the wall. The plastic segments are pink, green and purple, with a swatch of black fur covering one joint. The work is incredibly repulsive for all its glossy resplendence. Like Kruger’s things, it has a quality of California eclecticism; and, like Kruger, one doesn’t like to leave it unremarked.

Chuck Prentiss is a young Los Angeles artist who knows how to rhodium-coat glass (in fact, he should receive due credit for having collaborated with Larry Bell to perfect this technique). His two works, Dielectric 103KM and Dielectric 107KM, are coated glass and metal boxes with tiny neon lights inside. The outer pane of glass obscures all of the interior mechanism except for the lights; they are reflected in a mirror behind so that the effect is of shafts of light (repeated reflection) pointing off into space. The neon tubes are mounted on a rotating bar which is programmed to revolve once every eight minutes (103KM) or faster (107KM).

Other artists included are Jules Engel, Ronald Mallory, John Battenberg and Mowry Baden. Baden shows two works, Planter (polyester and wood) and Coalinga (polyester and fiberglass), both of which are superior small examples of the San Francisco funk idiom.

Jane Livingston