First Impressions of the fall art season

A quick jaunt around Geary Street galleries today resulted in some decent impressions:

Andrew Schoultz at Marz and Zavaterro
A reluctant but resounding WOW. Reluctant, because I’d like to chalk up this dude as a one-trick pony (OK, the tree, the brush strokes, the symbols of capitalism recurrent in graf culture—I get it), but resounding, because he’s intensely prolific, evolving, and confident, and he pulled off a spectacular installation. There are a ton of students in the Mission School, but Schoultz is one of the deans. A lot of people enjoy art where they can discover new things every time they look at it, which tends to favor complex, layered, representational/figurative work. I’m not necessarily of that camp. Still, Schoultz’ paintings have gotten so layered they resist reading, but the density of brush strokes and mixed media (like dollar bills and glitzy stickers slashed like daggers) creates a manic, paranoid hurricane. Combined with a ridiculous, oversized sculpture of a scale on pyramids that spans the gallery, his critical position moves beyond mere painting subject to a convincing investigation.

Chuck Fahlen at Steven Wolf Fine Arts
I’m completely beguiled by Darkside, Fahlen’s wire and wood-bead sculpture that hangs from small hooks at a disconcertingly subtle downward angle on the wall. In the gallery, the yellow and black beads become doubled with shadows, and it looked to me like a messed-up, collapsed molecular model. Actually, I was off, by magnitudes—the sculpture is essentially a ball pressing down on a net, like a physics model of the universe. Of course! Endearing.

Mysteries at Stephen Wirtz
Despite a strong history of conceptual art in SF, most commercial galleries seem bent on showing paintings or photos. So this show, which features 12 “conceptually-oriented” artists curated by Melissa E. Feldman, is welcome. Thanks to Feldman for bringing the work of Jamie Isenstein to the area. I also really liked Janice Kerbel‘s contribution—an oversized playbill for a mysterious sideshow attraction. Just reading the text gave me such a strong visual impression, it was a wholly effective art experience.

Xuchi Naungayan Eggleton at Togonon Gallery
Since I first encountered Xuchi’s strange graphite- and crystal-like sculptures at the Oakland Art Gallery, I’ve been really impressed with her formal approach and execution. To me, her work is especially about materials, tactility and luminosity, hence the contrast in material properties, and the use of semi-transparent resins. Unfortunately, the space and lighting didn’t display the work to its best. (Side note: she’s exhibiting a pyramid of bricks painted pitch-black, an unexpected synchronism with Anti-Campfire, my sculpture of charcoal bricks in Galleon Trade at YBCA.)