Art & Development

Reasons to Get Excited

The art fairs are coming to NYC this week: Armory, Pulse*, Independent, VOLTA, Red Dot, Scope, ADAA, Fountain, and Verge [see’s Art Fair Google map] not to mention the slew of concurrent activity. But in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m missing out on the solo shows of some dear friends. These are people who work super hard and are finally getting their due. See what they’ve been toiling at.

March 12-April 9
Pablo Guardiola
Jet Travel

Reception: Saturday, March 12, 6-9pm.
Romer Young Gallery
1240 22nd Street, San Francisco
Gallery hours: Tuesday & Thursday, 6-9; Friday & Saturday, 11-5, and by appt7

March 4-April 1
Charlene Tan

Reception: Friday, March 4, 6:00-8:30pm
Ampersand International Arts
1001 Tennessee Street (at 20th. st.)
San Francisco, California 94107
Gallery hours: Thursdays and Fridays, noon-5pm, and by appointment

Details TBA: ~ April 1
Anthony Daniel Ryan

Lake Gallery, San Francisco

Plus, Weston Teruya has curated a show with some great artists…

March 11-April 23
On The Ground
Taha Belal, Gaye Chan, Sofia Cordova, Sergio De La Torre, Malak Helmy, Juan Luna-Avin, Jerome Reyes, Rene Yung

Reception: Friday, March 11, 2011, 7-9pm
Southern Exposure
3030 20th Street (@ Alabama)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12-6pm

I designed the poster… We were inspired by maps and blue lines.

On the Ground, Southern Exposure poster. Design: Christine Wong Yap.

Poster for Southern Exposure's exhibition, On the Ground. Design: Christine Wong Yap.

*Art in General‘s booth at Pulse to preview a new multiple by William Pope.L!


Bay Area art: workin’ it.

Really, really excited that even if I have to leave one awesome art community (in Manchester) I’m coming straight home to another (in the San Francisco Bay Area). So good to be home, so thankful for really bright CCA folks doin’ it.

Just came from Speculative Fictions, a talk at Patricia Sweetow Gallery, featuring Weston Teruya, Jina Valentine, Arnold Kemp, Gail Wight and Jerome Reyes. A great mix of really bright practicing artist-thinkers. I think anytime a commercial gallery pursues an intellectual discussion is really good — this time, the talk ranged from sci-fi, Battlestar Galactica, to conspiracy theories… Weston’s a friend; nevertheless, I think that his new works, incorporating a giant pineapple water tower and too-perfect gazebos are really good. I love seeing the work expand…

The shows at SF Camerawork are really good — all having to do with manipulation and desire. It got me thinking a lot about the manufacture of images, advertising, graphic design, and the crafting of paintings… The photographs are really well crafted. I’m not always easily impressed by photography — my appreciation for technical feats is pretty limited — but I was really impressed with the quality of the works and curation. Thoughtful, good stuff.

Coming up soon:

MFA exhibition opens at CCA Thursday night

Live and Direct opens at Ping Pong Gallery Friday night. Curated by cohort Amanda Curreri, and including a number of really thoughtful CCA MFA artists like Nyeema Morgan and Erik Scollon.


review: APAture

This year’s APAture exhibition at Kearny Street Workshop is different, and you can tell right away.

APAture is Kearny Street Workshop’s juried annual multidisciplinary arts festival. I’ve been involved in past APAtures and KSW, so this will be part review, part proud stock-taking of how far KSW has come.

It’s tighter and more focused, with fewer artists, more work of a higher caliber, and more professional exhibition strategies. The result is less misses and more hits. Cheers to everyone for making it all happen: for putting in the work, but also being brave enough to break from tradition and raise the stakes.

Past shows have leaned heavily towards emerging art, and, for lack of a better term, “Asian America 101” art. In this show, some work dealt with identity issues, but the overall show was much more contemporary in tone. Short artists’ statements on the wall labels helped to convey the artists’ intentions and broad range of investigations.

Here’s what caught my attention:


Prints by Dinesh Perrera

Dinesh Perrera’s screenprinted revisions of Art Nouveau-style Ceylon Tea posters are beautiful and demonstrate stylized drawing skills, but I’m not convinced that they fulfill their stated mission “to recontextualize Sri Lanka’s tea industry from being a British luxury import to a product that is integral to Sri Lanka’s cultural identity.” The artist swapped out Mucha’s fair-skinned feminine beauty for a Sri Lankan feminine beauty. In place of romanticized botanical motifs, tame elephants and critters serve The Lady tea in dainty teacups and saucers. The idealized Western images and their corresponding values — leisure, afforded by wealth — have too much of a presence, and the posters still function like ads, inspiring class aspirations, but with modified cultural symbols.

Projected interface for Takashi Kawashima's Ten Thousand Pennies project

Projected interface for Takashi Kawashima's Ten Thousand Pennies project

I was really amused by Takashi Kawashima‘s Ten Thousand Cents, a participatory project in which he contracted, at the cost of one penny each, drawings of tiny fragments of a $100 bill. He reassembled the drawings to form a counterfeit image, and developed a really cool, simple interface that allows viewers to click on a pixel and see the original fragment side-by-side with a video of the drawings-in-progress. Kawashima’s project is complicated and yet cleverly circular (the labor costs were $100, and the participatory process is mirrored by interactive viewing), with a straightforward display.

Viewer in Amy M. Ho's Beyond II

Viewer in Amy M. Ho's Beyond II

Amy Ho presents a ceiling-mounted mirrored box full of cut paper that resembles leaves of grass. Viewers ascend a ladder to insert their head and see an infinite room. It’s difficult not to associate this experience with Misako Inaoka’s room-sized installation currently on view in Bay Area Now at YBCA. Inaoka’s dropped moss ceiling was interrupted with small dome-like portals to take in animated sculptures, sounds and even a view of grass. It’s an unfortunate but inevitable comparison. I was also puzzled about the placement of the box, a few feet away from an actual skylight in KSW’s ceiling. This was made up for, though, in oodles of surprise and delight when the artist appeared in a handmade durian costume.

Is that a durian costume? You bet!

Is that a durian costume? You bet!

Detail of a work on paper by Weston Teruya

Detail of a work on paper by Weston Teruya

Weston Teruya is the Featured Artist in the show, and he contributed two collages/works on paper. Teruya’s work is always fantastically well-made. His imagery are piles of junk — chairs, rubbish, coolers, ladders — in what seems to be the middle of a hurricane. Flying objects may seem fanciful, but given the tumult in the world these days, the images strike a chord with the nervous sensation of impending collapse.

Custom lighting appliances for Mark Baugh-Sasaki's sculpture

Light-boxes for Mark Baugh-Sasaki's sculpture

Mark Baugh-Sasaki makes sculptures that literalize the awkward tension between nature and industry. His hanging sculpture of two naked tree boughs mechanically splinted together is more subtle and poetic than previous works, but I’m an admitted light bulb nerd, so sue me if I was fascinated by his custom designed lighting fixtures: clamp lights embedded in low pedestals. The geometry of it all (square-circle-circle) and unexpected surfaces were just nicely weird and matter-of-fact; no illusions or pretenses. The bulbs were slightly menacing when you realized how much current passes just under the glass at foot level…

Another artist contributed a narrative photographic triptych, but she sort of approached-me-but-not before I could snap my note-taking photo of the wall label. I have seen women-in-costumes-in-the-forest photos before, but there was something ironic about these staged images that I wanted to hear more about. So I asked her. In a very brief, cagey conversation, I learned that the photos were “about race and gender.” She recasts herself as the shining prince in the fairy tale, but I was less than charmed by her reticence in person and in the exhibition materials to contextualize her work or motivations.

Barbara R. Horiuchi’s aluminum panel is basically an abstract painting, but even I found its visual drama breathtaking, and found it even more curious after learning about the strange materials behind it.