Community, Travelogue, News

In Other Words, in a few pictures

Grateful for few days of art, sunshine, and friendly faces in California.

Thanks to everyone who came out to check out In Other Words at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. I really appreciate the interest and support! I think the show looks fantastic—all respect due to Kevin Chen, gallery director; Intersection staff, and the other artists for their thoughtful contributions.

The show continues through March 24, with many public events—most are free or sliding scale.

Here are a few snapshots, with better photos to follow on my site….

Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Positive Signs greets viewers at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Closer view of Positive Signs. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another set of Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Intersection Gallery Director Kevin Chen (center) delivered thoughtful comments, connecting the show's linguistic theme with the gallery's location in the San Francisco Chronicle building.

Intersection Gallery Director Kevin Chen (center) delivered thoughtful comments, connecting the show's linguistic theme with the gallery's location in the San Francisco Chronicle building.

Susan O'Malley's sandwich boards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Susan O'Malley's sandwich boards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another project by Susan O'Malley involved semi-hidden placards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another project by Susan O'Malley involved semi-hidden placards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Meryl Pataky had a nice pair of installed wire works, whose shadows spelled positive and negative words phonetically.

Meryl Pataky had a nice pair of installed wire works, whose shadows spelled positive and negative words phonetically.

More photos, including the infamous pinkie cam treatment, on Alan Bamberger’s ArtBusiness.com site.

Snapshots of other exhibitions I enjoyed…

Kinetic media installation by Mario Ancalmo, SECA 2010, SFMOMA.

Kinetic media installation by Mario Ancalmo, SECA 2010 exhibition, SFMOMA.

See also Ancalmo’s show at Eli Ridgeway Gallery; don’t miss the lower level installations.

Deflated balloon dog by Jeffrey Songco, Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

Deflated balloon dog by Jeffrey Songco, Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

No photos, but worth checking out: Gina Osterloh’s solo show of studio photos and a documentary about blind massuers, connected by her interest in dysfunctions of the body of  and Richard T. Walker’s video at ybca.

…as well as inspiring studio visits…

Studio visit with Stephanie Syjuco.

Studio visit with Stephanie Syjuco.

Spool holders, hooray!

Spool holders, hooray!

Studio visit with Michael Arcega. Baby, the artist-designed and -made collapsible, outrigger canoe, under a pinata-disco ball-hybrid. Not to mention an envy-inspiring woodshop in the studio.

Studio visit with Michael Arcega. Baby, the artist-designed and -made collapsible, outrigger canoe, under a pinata-disco ball-hybrid. Not to mention an envy-inspiring woodshop in the studio.

Mini disco ball, wood glue, and the story of a sailing expedition at Michael Arcega's studio.

Mini disco ball, wood glue, and the story of a sailing expedition at Michael Arcega's studio.

Free crate + casters + door + sawhorses = two tables that fold into one. Genius.

Free crate + casters + door + sawhorses = two tables that fold into one. Genius!

Plus, (aerial) Geometry vs Abstraction.

Geometry

Geometry.

Geometry detail.

Geometry detail.

Abstraction.

Abstraction.

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Art & Development

Recent, future, random

A random round-up of things I’ve seen or are looking forward to:

RECENT

Robert Irwin‘s rambling, 50-MPH monologue at Mills College. I couldn’t sum up what he said — comparing Modernism to a cup of Coke, and proposing an array of realms of art rather than a hierarchical pyramid — but I’m pretty sure it was brilliant. I should probably re-visit Lawrence Weschler’s biography of Robert Irwin, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees after all the other books I’m reading, or intending to read (Ranciere’s The Future of The Image and Beyond Visual Perspective by Gaetano Curreri-Alibrand. Yikes!). Cheers to Mills for bringing such an influential and erudite artist to the East Bay.

Valentine’s Day Celebration at Glide Memorial Church.
I’ve lived in the Bay Area all my life, but I am taking time to appreciate quintessentially San Franciscan experiences like visiting Glide, a Unitarian church whose openness, political activism and community service is a prime example of powerful faith-based progressive work. M and I attended the service on the suggestion of a friend, who was performing an excerpt of The Erica Chong Shuch Performance ProjectsLove Everywhere, a beautiful, tender dance/theater/music performance on love and marriage equality—the civil rights struggle of our time. It was really profound to have the time and space to celebrate love in all of its manifestations—unconditional love, the love of one’s community, to love fiercely and courageously—on Valentine’s Day. (How many red teddy bears does anyone need anyway?) More often, what’s needed is a reminder to look beyond your immediate situation towards community, and to be in spaces where you are accepted as you are. To love and be beloved.

Collaborative installation by Chris Bell, Elaine Buckholtz, and Floor Van Herreweghe at SF Arts Commission Window Space, 155 Grove Street, San Francisco
For Chain Reaction 11, artists were invited to nominate other artists to exhibit at SFAC. One chain went beyond the call and developed a collaborative installation that fills the window site with a sculpture, video and light work, and spills onto Grove with a moody, Sam Shepard-esque musical component. It’s wonderfully unexpected and surreal, and it’s one of my favorite art things that I’ve seen of late. I urge you to visit it, especially at nighttime. It’s on view 24/7 at 155 Grove Street through May 16.

Future

Friday, February 19, 7-10pm: Opening Reception
Blow As Deep As You Want to Blow: New Work by Michelle Blade

Triple Base, 3041 — 24th Street, San Francisco
Exhibition: February 19 – March 21, 2010

Weird bad paintings; don’t come to this if you leave your sense of humor at home.
Denim on Ice: paintings by Keith Boadwee / Erin Allen / Isaac Gray
Steven Wolf Fine Arts, 49 Geary St., Suite 411, San Francisco
Exhibition: February 19 – Mar 20, 2010

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Art & Development, Sights

so much easier to love…

I came across some snippets of snipes on NYMag.com, wherein two of NYC macho-garde chefs rain rants across the land. It’s hilarious, and it made me wish that there was an equivalently funny bullshit-calling in the art world.

But, there isn’t that much that I hate in art. Hate is a strong word. Maybe I’m just not grouchy enough. Plus, there are loads of things right now that I love, or at least, expect to really, really like:

Maurice Sendak at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
In my college years, I spent hours studying the illustrator’s line and hand lettering. In The Night Kitchen remains one of my all-time favorite illustrated books. We may take for granted the grief and pathos in children’s fables thanks to Pixar, but I think Sendak, along with Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein, bridged a tradition of making children’s stories that are more psychologically powerful and ambiguous than the sanitized moralism of fairy tales and Disney.

Charley Harper at Altman Siegal Gallery
Sooner or later, every designer (myself included) borrows from modernist geometry and late 20th century decoration, but the illustrator Charley Harper was the real deal. I’m looking forward to checking out this show of illustrations from Harper’s estate in person, and spying on his paintings on canvas. It naturally follows that for hard-edged, patterned, geometric abstraction would evolve in Adobe Illustrator, but it’s destined to result in hollow imitations without illustrators’ keen eyes.

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Black Mirrors

Some of my fellow CCA post-grads share an interest in black mirrors. For example, I learned of the Claude glass from Elizabeth Mooney last year. Recently, Bessma Khalaf created a black mirror for a video. The object and video appear in You’re Not There, Khalaf’s current solo show at Steven Wolf Gallery. The exhibition is sometimes funny and often disturbing. Bessma’s style might be described as no holds barred; You’re Not There trades in creepy, powerful experiences that are hard to shake, the visceral discomfort reminds me of Bruce Nauman’s work.

My project for SoEx’s Bellwether, incidentally, is called mirrorsblack. I’ve been literalizing the idea of putting viewers into my work for some time, but this new sculpture also attempts to literalize the dissolution of self as well. So it’s a pleasure to read about the latest massive installation in the Tate Modern‘s Turbine Hall: what it amounts to be is a black hole of visual perception: Miroslaw Balka’s giant, pitch black chamber. So often I think people go into museums expecting only visual pleasure, I love the idea of turning this expectation on its head, and putting nothingness — or, perhaps more accurately, non-visual experience or the vision of darkness — at the fore.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Exercises in Seeing, a show curated by Matthew Post at Queen’s Nails Annex coming up in November. It’s a one-night exhibition in which the gallery will be completely dark. The question of where the art is will be literalized, and again, experience will be emphasized over visuality. I’ll post more details as I hear of them.

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Community

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.)

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