REVIEWS

INSTANT ART ON BIG SCREEN

by Philip E. Elwood
San Francisco Examiner Jan. 1966


“Instant art is a familiar experience to the jazz fan: an improvising soloist represents a pure form of instantaneous instrumental expression. With this in mind I visited this weekend , the spontaneous light- sound composition, ‘Vision in Motion,’ presented by painter William Ham accompanied by the taped sounds (instrumental, mechanical, and electronic) of William Spencer. The comparison with the spontaneity and personal impression conveyed by jazz was notable and most rewarding.

Ham works with non-opaque media of all colors and densities, which are blended, spattered, jarred and mixed in various large watch glasses and dishes perched over lenses above two powerful projection lamps. From the deft preparation on each of these glasses, mirrors and prisms transmit wondrous images against a huge wall screen. This is instant art.”

” This is a remarkable happening: a brilliant and beautiful collection of instants which become a whole, like a series of exquisite Lester Young solo choruses. Each individual must gain something by the experience: it’s like a living active Rorschach.”

EXCITING AND NEW — LIGHT-SOUND ABSTRACTIONS

by Philip E. Elwood
San Francisco Examiner Jan 4, 1967

“Abstractions in lights and sound, improvised concurrently, are the basis for the most exciting new artistic expression in the Bay Area. Full walls of the bluesrock dances each weekend are flooded with lurching amoeba-like visuals, wildly unrestricted in their visual freedom.”

” Exploring in a far less restricted direction, artist Bill Ham (among the first of the new rock-dance lightshowmen) is now teamed with the jazz rhythm combination of Jerry Granelli and Fred Marshall, veterans of many local jazz combos, and more recently the experimental group called the Ensemble. The trio is rehearsing for a San Francisco Museum of Art series, which promises to be spectacular to eye and ear.”

” It is really audio-visual jazz, …it is astonishingly effective. The performance cannot be described with words.” “Even the practice sessions generate such complex sensual reaction that emotional readjustment is necessary when the house (globe) comes on.”

OVERWHELMING DIMENSION

by Philip E. Elwood
San Francisco Examiner Oct. 20, 1967

“The recent Light-Sound Dimension offerings in Berkeley’s easy Live Oak Park theater were the most satisfying presentations in the all-senses field of artistic expression that this reviewer has ever experienced.

Visual artist Bill Ham directs his crew of flood and spot light, slide, film, and liquid projection specialists from dead center backstage. The ‘canvas’ is a translucent screen which totally fill the stage aperture.”

“The result for the audience out front in the pitch black theater is a literally overwhelming series of visual and audio impressions.”

“The basis of artistic success for the Light-Sound creators is not ‘what was intended?’ or ‘Was that supposed to be…?’, but rather ‘What momentary effect is the performance having on the individual participant in the theater seats, now?’ This is now theater and the audience must be a cerebral and emotional participant in order to feel the full dimension of the experience.”

STILL THE BEST LIGHT SHOW

by Philip E. Elwood
San Francisco Examiner 

“Three years ago the San Francisco musical explosion was beginning to rock the world. Bill Graham ran the ‘Trips Festival’, The Family Dog organized dances, and Bill Ham was projecting liquid art creation in ‘concerts’ with music on tape.”

“In the ensuing 36 months since this writer first reviewed Ham’s screened improvisations, a staggering amount of music – and – light combinations have gone down around town. Yet in returning once again to the L-S-D in their own little theater at 1572 California. I was taken further out on a more refreshing, boldly imaginative light-sound that I’ve ever gotten from the more traditional psychedelica that surrounds us.” 

“The group’s sound amplification is magnificent, almost overwhelming but you won’t go deaf, relax; Ham’s wall to wall rearprojected visuals are utterly unique. Along side Ham most of the so-called ‘light shows’ in town are as impressive as night action shots snapped with a box camera.”

“Don’t fight the waves and breakers in the audiovisual surf; dive in , submerge. You’ll emerge rejuvenated, relaxed, and a little mind-blown.”