If young painters and sculptors are hard put nowadays to find adequate exhibition space in New York, young photographers perhaps find it even more difficult. The galleries that specialize in photography are few in number and tend to spotlight artists of established reputations.
To help correct the inadequacy, a group of seven young photographers, spearheaded by Atsu Kawabata and Lee Romero, have followed the course of many young painters and sculptors and opened a nonprofit cooperative at 143 Prince Street, the first photography gallery in Soho. A second?floor loft in a building under renovation, Soho Photo, said Mr. Romero, is “open to whoever feels he has talent and wants to show.” Many photographers seem to fit these requisites. Already Soho Photo claims about 80 members and more are still joining.
Although the gallery addresses itself primarily to the young, it does not discourage the membership of established professionals. In fact, several photographers who work on the staffs of the New York dailies and the wire services, have paid the required membership fee of $35 and the $10 fee for inclusion in the monthly exhibitions.
But some of the established professionals and most of the young members practice photography purely as an art. “What is great about this gallery,” said Mr. Romero, who is a New York Times staff photographer, “is that the young and Pulitzer?Prize winners can hang together.”
The current group exhibition, the gallery's second, provides a considerable improvement over the first, which was diffuse in its scope. It is based on the theme “Survival in New York City.” A separate show comprises the work of three photographers, Bud Lee, Don Stickles and Eddie Adams.
Although there is a vast spectrum of quality in the theme show and certainly not enough photographs of each member to make a significant judgment of his full capabilities, the exhibition offers a fine purview of the myriad moods and aspects of New York. As for the feature exhibitions, I especially like the work of Mr. Lee and Mr. Adams. The abandoned living rooms and isolated buildings of Mr. Lee are examples of visual poetry that borders on the sinister. The anguished portraits of Mr. Adams are extraordinary documents.
Anthe Zacharias (135 Greene Street). If you are a painter or a sculptor who can't secure sufficient display space in a gallery and don't belong to a cooperative, you can do what Mrs. Zacharias did—rent a Soho loft for one month and turn it into a makeshift gallery.
A New York painter, who In 1966 showed some small oil abstractions at the now defunct Great Jones Gallery, Mrs. Zacharias is currently exhibiting some giant acrylic abstractions, arousing memories of Morris Louis. Ranging in outsizes up to 13 feet by 16 feet, the canvases are so large that they had to be executed in a ballroom. After pouring paints onto the immense surface, the artist, with ambitious gestures, realizes her forms by manipulating the sides.
The result can often be an entangled confusion of color and form. Mrs. Zacharias's best efforts are attained when she employs fewer colors and exercises more strenuous con trol over her images and the pigment density. The finest work, in fact, is the largest, a dynamic thrust of energy charged colors sweeping across the canvas.
Joseph Raffael (Reese Palley, 93 Prince Street) Joseph Raffael, a New York artist now living on the West Coast has been making super realist pictures with the aid of photographs for the last seven years. His first works of this type were collages in which Mr. Raffael placed preciously rendered images inspired from magazine ads on a bright?white background. The problem with these efforts was that the images were frequently too fragmented and scattered as well as too dominated by the background to produce any kind of visual impact.
More recently, the artist has been painting directly on the canvas, still from photos, and has been concentrating all his energies on one larger than?life image of wild animals to the almost complete exclusion of background. These paintings are more intense and assertive than the earlier works. What distinguishes these paintings moreover from most of the other super realist contributions is that Mr. Raffael paints his photo?produced images freehand without stencils and spray guns in rich romantic colors. But neither the new?found intensity of expression nor the richness, of color is sufficient to transform these canvases into anything more than something resembling a cinemascopic