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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 11. 1961

Fine Arts Section

page 6

Fine Arts Section

The Galleries

William Mason

This exhibition of drawings and paintings at the Central Gallery was not particularly enjoyable. In places, it was rather like a puzzle or a maze. There were some clear patches, but to me these were few William Mason showed paintings in oils, gouache and water-colour, and drawings in ink and ink and pastel; his styles being almost as varied as his mediums of expression. Some of these combinations of different coloured squares in oils seemed to be nothing but attempts at visual representations of mathematical concepts, and to have no positive meaning. Composition (48 gns.) was of this variety. So was Windows (45 gns.)—but this did also express a feeling of blankness and loneliness. Combat (65 gns.) was an attempt at making the squares move. The effect wanted was perhaps of a battle—of humanity struggling (the title suggests it) but the result was a more elementary conflict: trees whipping out horrid green branches in a storm. The colours were in combat anyway. Curtain (65 gns.) seemed to be a companion piece to this. The squares were lifeless again, after the combat.

Portal (90 gns.) and more squares, was quite effective. Colours were vivid and there was a realistic perspective expressing a feeling something like that of Keat's "magic casements" and "fairy lands forlorn" but without any hint of unreality: this vista is hard fact. Another successful oil Departure, was less formal and conveyed a scene without being either photographic or incomprehensible. A ship is leaving a wharf (or a plane is leaving a runway); the departing object is in blacks and greys, and so is the wharf or runway; the background is in various yellows and oranges and suggests an abstraction—distance—on an analogy with the sun.

You could tell that Dream House was a house, but on stilts and at awkward angles it looked rather like a nightmare. The title gives a wrong Impression; the house is dreamed up and not at all idyllic. Another painting was of a bird. A bird might seem to Mr Mason to be a mixture of red, black, and yellow splashes with white and black edges, placed like an island in a sea of pink, but it does not to everyone. Still, I suppose this is valid art.

Gouache seems to be a good medium for old perspective and ugliness. Claypit was a good representation of a gash in a landscape. Some of the ink sketches were more pleasant although not as seriously treated. Movement of Spring (12 gns.) did show movement, and hesitancy, and renewal; the visual effect is like that of Debussy's impressionistic music. The Survivors were nondescript, their eyes were good—slightly puzzled, rather blank and hopeless. This was a successful study; it had a dream-like and prophetic quality. Altogether this exhibition was rather unusual: it had good points but on the whole remained puzzling.



Fraulein Rosemarie

This is an extremely inspiring and fresh movie from one of West Germany's most versatile directors, Rolf Thiele: his films ranging in topics from teddy-girls (Die Halbzarte) to sanatoriums (Labyrinth). Frauelein has as its subject the nefarious practices of certain West German industrial cartels: the particular incidents related in this film being in fact, true to life. About three years ago, a Frankfurt prostitute was earning big money extorting secret trade information from a handful of leading industrialists and selling it to an unknown alien. Her impetuosity finally gained on her however, and she was found one morning, dead—strangled by a stocking. Neither her murderer nor the secrets (recorded on magnetic tape) has been traced.

The movie is interesting if only for its presentation of characters and incidents. Thiele has managed somehow: to imbue an element of sarcasm into the otherwise dramatically macabre plot, by subtle use of characterisation distortion, effective photographic mis-play and an amusing musical background. The characters are seldom shown in a state of sobriety—they are jumping, fully clad, into swimming pools one minute, the next, riding n a funeral procession of black Viercedes up a parking apartment. The photography of Klaus von Rautenfeld is excellent. Not only are the captured images of sordidness and decrepitude perfectly realistic; his use of the zoom shot and triple exposure is masterful also, in evoking, for example, both the hectic rush of modern life and the world as seen through drunken eyes. Music is by Norbert Schultze, and apart from other things, successfully apes parts of the earlier German, Dreigroschenoper.

Fraulein Rosemarie

Fraulein Rosemarie

As Rosemarie, Nadja Tiller is imaginative and well-cast. Her actions are smooth and straight forward; she has none of the flamboyance and superfluousness which Italian and American "flighties" deem essential to carry an impression through. Peter van Eyck and Mario Adorf as respectively, Fribert and Horst, I would name as competent supports to the lead. The script has unfortunately been dubbed into English, thus suffering abominably. Nevertheless, some of the original irony of Thiele and Erich Kuby (his script co-writer) pierces through—mit sehr bedeutung—in places. A competent movie; well played in all departments.


Jazz Society

At the concert recently performed by the University Jazz Society, in conjunction with the opening of the new student building, we heard very little of the interesting, entertaining or profound musical statement that we are beginning to expect from contemporary jazz musicians. The content of the total performance was unbearably limited. These musicians are capable of much more imagination and productive direction as their previous performance at the Savage Club Hall clearly demonstrated.

Apart from pianists Fraser and Charles and drummers Kennington and Loney, instrumental technique was below concert standard. Improvising skill was at a low level except for snatches by Johnson on alto who occasionally showed himself capable of sustaining a controlled melodic development, and fragments from Charles in the second large group. "If You Could See Me Now" by tenorist Talbot with its well defined mood, strong form and economic use of material was a welcome relief from the urgent and excessive emotionalism of his previous numbers.

The only musicians who attempted to demonstrate any compositional skill were the childlike Loney and the structurally unsuccessful trombonist Murphy. Both these composers showed a painful lack of plain musical awareness and maturity.

If, as I believe, a concert such as this should stand critical analysis with regard to vitality, originality, development and composition, the performance was sadly lacking.

However, if any reader feels that In the light of the above criticism the persevering and often labour-some work of our jazz club may be waived as not worth his future interest and encouragement he would, in my opinion, be gravely mistaken. These young and immature musicians have a basic working knowledge of an art that is widely misunderstood in this country. Within this club there are musicians of imagination and rare creative strength who will develop, if given opportunity and an ear, broad and original musical voices.

—I. McD.