San Francisco Art Galleries - First Thursday Art Openings: January 4, 2007


SAN FRANCISCO ART GALLERIES OPENINGS
FIRST THURSDAY; 01.04.07
REPORTED BY ANURADHA VIKRAM

SF Camerawork: Traces of Life on the Thin Film of Longing.

Artists: Jem Cohen, Jenni Olson, Natalie Zimmerman.

Comment: SF Camerawork's second show in their gorgeous new Mission Street space presents three long-format cinematic works in an exhibition setting. Screenings begin at noon and repeat periodically throughout the afternoon. The time-conscious visitor will not be able to see all three works in one day, so repeated visits are strongly recommended. Each film uses still photographic images and fixed camera angles, minimizing the movement potential of cinema in favor of a more static viewing experience. The recurring theme is of people alienated - from their surroundings, their emotions, and their families. The gallery space is divided into three darkened screening areas, each sparsely furnished with a simple black couch. In the adjacent Gallery One, "First Exposures - Developing History" is a collection of highlights from Camerawork's thirteen-year-strong youth mentoring program, celebrating the launch of a commemorative book. One section shows the fruits of this year's program while another summarizes its history.

Photo

Jem Cohen, "Chain," 2004. 16mm film (digitally projected). 100 min.

Photo

Jenni Olson, "The Joy of Life," 2005. 16mm film (digitally projected). 70 min.

Photo

Natalie Zimmerman, "Islands," 2005. Video. 50 min.

Photo

First Exposures - Developing History.

Photo

First Exposures - Developing History.

***

Gallery Paule Anglim: James Drake, Tomas Nakada.

Comment: James Drake's wall-sized drawings are visually stunning and technically accomplished. "War in Heaven" imagines an epic battle involving hawks, enormous insects, a bobcat, a giant lizard and gazelles, illustrated in historic scale. Other works depict missing or fallen war heroes. The images appear to be taped together as if comprised of memories and remnants, collected and assembled as a patchwork. The effect is dramatic and melancholy, and the enormous charcoal drawings are rendered with impressive skill.

In the rear gallery, Tomas Nakada's abstract paintings evoke the body on a cellular level. The tones of these small works are muted, inspiring meditation. Nakada balances the high impact of Drake's work but gets a bit lost in the former's sweeping drama.

Photo

James Drake, "War in Heaven," 2006.
Charcoal on paper mounted on canvas. 9' 6" x 15'.

Photo

"War in Heaven" (detail).

Photo

"Missing in Action, The Vietnam War," 2005-06.
Charcoal, tape on paper mounted on canvas. 10' x 7'.

Photo

"Jaynelle Across the Sea, World War II," 2005-06.
Charcoal, tape on paper mounted on canvas. 10' x 7'.

Photo

"Echo Rattles Strike Hard Strike Fast Kill The Vietnam War, 2004-05."
Charcoal, tape on paper. 10' x 7'.

Photo

Tomas Nakada, "White Matter," 2006.
Acrylic, oil on birch plywood. Four panels, each 26" x 22".

Photo

"Surrender Skin," 2005. Acrylic, oil on birch plywood. 24" x 22" (left)
"Another Place," 2005. Acrylic, oil on birch plywood. 24" x 22" (right).

***

Catharine Clark Gallery: Group Photography and Video Exhibition.

Artists: Ruud van Empel, Ellen Kooi, Aaron Plant, Carlos and Jason Sanchez; Video Project Room: Tommy Becker, Christoph Draeger, Claudia Hart, Paul Rowley and David Phillips; Aaron Plant, Timothy Cummings and Shane Francis

Comment: This glossy show includes photography by LA-based Aaron Plant, Dutch artists Ruud van Empel and Ellen Kooi, and Canadians Carlos and Jason Sanchez. The seductive colors of these images match the ersatz fashions of the First Thursday crowd. The Sanchez's image "The Baptism" is the most arresting, with water poured from a Catholic priest's hand turning to wine or blood when it touches the head of an infant above the font. Van Empel's staged portraits of tiny African children in formal wear, posed before lush fake backgrounds of tropical wildlife, look more like paintings than photography. Isolated from their surroundings, these kids appear submerged in their own dark skins, and their starched clothes and formal poses suggest tiny adults. Plant's "Playground Series" of fantastic play creatures at night have a ghostly formality, absent of children or enjoyment and relegated to a distant dream world. Ellen Kooi's portraits of children also evoke that dream world, which the Sanchez's images turn toward the horrific.

In the video project room, new works by gallery artists debut in a loop of five videos. Editions of some works are available for sale.

Photo

Ellen Kooi, "Abbekerk-Tweeling," 2005. C-print mounted on Plexiglas. 39.5" x 68.5".

Photo

Carlos and Jason Sanchez, "Hurried Child," 2005. C-print. 60" x 76".

Photo

Photography (Ruud van Empel). Cibachrome, Dibond, Plexiglas.

Photo

Photography (Aaron Plant). C-print.

***

Heather Marx Gallery: Sharon Weiner Otherworld.

Comment: LA artist Sharon Weiner uses thin acrylic washes and layers of glaze to make her paintings. Everything in these works is surface, and her technique is quite skillful. The most interesting of these look like microscope slides of blood cells (red and white). A little bit of Los Angeles on Geary Street.

Photo

Sharon Weiner, "World's In Bloom," 2006. Acrylic on canvas. 60" x 48" (left)
"Edge of Time," 2006. Acrylic on canvas. 30" x 60" (right)

Photo

"World's In Bloom."

Photo

"World's In Bloom."

***








Articles © Alan Bamberger 2007. All rights reserved.