STEVEN WOLF - DON SOKER - SAN FRANCISCO ART EXCHANGE
JACK FISCHER - THE 8 - BAER RIDGWAY - THE COOP - CATHARINE CLARK
ROSENTHAL - 2ND FLOOR PROJECTS - GARAGE BIENNALE
11.22.08
(with assistance from Jennifer Jeffrey and R.W. Miller)


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  • San Francisco Art Exchange: Paul Saltzman - Photographs of The Beatles in India.

    Comment by AB: In 1967 at age 23, Paul Saltzman visited an ashram in India to "discover himself" through meditation. He got lucky bigtime 'cuz The Beatles, actress Mia Farrow, and musicians Donovan and Mike Love happened to be there at the exact same time. So he whipped out his camera and the rest, as they say, is history. For those of you keeping score at home, these are contempory prints of vintage images-- not original vintage prints printed at or near the time the photographs were taken.

    Paul Saltzman art

    Photography by Paul Saltzman.

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    Photos.

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    Photographs.

    ***

    Steven Wolf Fine Arts: Theresa Ganz - Shadow on the Green; Jon Brumit - Monsanto's Workshop.

    Comment by AB: I missed the opening last night, but am here today to testify with respect to the goods. And the goods are pretty respectable, notably the plant life collages by Theresa Ganz. Basically, she cuts up photographs of foliage, and then rearranges and collages 'em against plain white backgrounds, sometimes with space between the layers of vegitation, which imparts a lush dimensionality. To top it all off, she melds in a smidge of symbolism which, according to the doctrine, ratchets the deal into "a meditation on internalized national grief and the link between the individual and the state." Uh... OK. In the parlour, Jon Brumit wryly essays on the recent history of genetically tampered-with corn via his hypothetical re-enactment of an early Monsanto lab. Good show on both counts; go see.

    Theresa Ganz art

    Art by Theresa Ganz.

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    Pinky cam detail of collage above (Theresa Ganz).

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    Art (Theresa Ganz).

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    Art (Theresa Ganz).

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    Art by Theresa Ganz, left - Jon Brumit installation, right.

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    Jon Brumit installation.

    ***

    Don Soker Contemporary Art: Jesse Gottesman - Rise Above.

    Comment by AB: Jesse Gottesman tells me he paints on mylar and then prints the images of the paintings on light-sensitive paper, essentially creating photographs of his paintings-- a relatively obscure printing technique called cliche verre. According to the briefing, the haunting images are intended to represent the beautiful patterns and colors that occasionally emanate from episodes of violent or destructive force.

    Jesse Gottesman art

    Art by Jesse Gottesman.

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    Jesse Gottesman - art.

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    Art.

    Photo

    Art.

    ***

    Jack Fischer Gallery: Deborah Barrett - 1998-2008.

    Review by Jennifer Jeffrey: Deborah Barrett's show at the Jack Fischer Gallery feels akin to stepping into someone's living room. Her works are personal and intimate, creating the sense that a story lurks behind each one. Her oil portraits are smudgy and dignified, recalling characters from 19th century novels; I want to curl up in a dark-paneled library with a book while these figures look over me. In her works on paper, Deborah often incorporates stitching or bits of fabric, creating intriguing layers that look distinctly different from most collage art. I'm drawn to the intricacy and rich details in her pen-and-ink pieces, of the myriad of symbols and shapes that invite deeper contemplation.

    Deborah Barrett art

    Art by Deborah Barrett.

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    Deborah Barrett - art.

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    Art closer (photo c/o Jennifer Jeffrey).

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    Art closer (photo c/o Jennifer Jeffrey).

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    Art.

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    Art.

    ***

    The 8 Gallery: Richard Faralla - Small Scale Constructs and Works on Paper from the 1960s-1980s.

    Comment by AB: Richard Faralla (1916-1996) studied at California School of Fine Arts and SF State in the fifties, and by 1959 had turned from painter to sculptor. His found wood, scrap wood, and driftwood sculptures appear influenced by Louise Nevelson, however are more spontaneous and intuitive in essence. Whereas Nevelson manipulated wood to conform to preconceived ideas of what her sculptures should look like, Faralla allowed the shapes of the wood to dictate the form, structure, and direction of his compositions.

    Richard Faralla art

    Sculpture & works on paper by Richard Faralla.

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    Art.

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    Art.

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    Art.

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    Art.

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    Overview.

    ***

    Baer Ridgway Exhibitions: Wolfgang Ganter - Seasick.

    Review by Jennifer Jeffrey: Stepping into the entry hall at Baer Ridgeway Exhibitions, I feel like I've just been dropped into a kaleidoscope; shimmering shapes cover the walls in rows, like a series of colorful, geometrically diverse mandalas. A closer look reveals that these mandalas, such as they are, are made up of cheerleaders-- cheerleaders kicking, cheerleaders jumping, cheerleaders bending. It's proper and pop all at the same time.

    Delighted, I walk into the main gallery to find that Wolfgang Ganter's photos have also been toyed with; I don't know what tricks Ganter has up his sleeve, but it looks like he's sprinkled bleach onto his film, or dipped his files in acid. The results are perversely beautiful. Downstairs, paintbrushes form a fan; a roly-poly bug slowly flexes on a video screen; a skull peers down from its perch on a tree trunk. Mostly, I'm struck by the versatility of this artist. The videos, which are entirely different from the photos, which aren't related to the sculptures. Clearly, Ganter is comfortable exploring different mediums and ideologies, and that makes this a very engaging show indeed.

    Review by R.W. Miller: Contradicting the usual fascination and adoration of the sea, the artist dwells upon the struggle of those who toil on the ocean. Not idyllic portraits of the ocean and seashore here, instead a "people's history" of our sometimes troubled, psychological, and dangerous experience out on the sea. One will ascertain here that not everybody enjoys visiting the desert either.

    Wolfgang Ganter art

    Photography, video, sculpture by Wolfgang Ganter.

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    Photograph.

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    Very dark video in a very dark room.

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    Sculpture (photo c/o Jennifer Jeffrey).

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    Photos.

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    Hallway wallpaper (photo c/o Jennifer Jeffrey).

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    Hallway wallpaper closer (photo c/o Jennifer Jeffrey).

    ***

    Catharine Clark Gallery: Josephine Taylor - Bomb Landscape; Kate Gilmore - Videos.

    Review by Jennifer Jeffrey: On her website, Josephine Taylor writes that her recent ink drawings "imagine human survival in an imaginary, desolate future." Walking into the Catherine Clark Gallery, I'm struck by the wild fury in the eyes that peer out of Taylor's enormous works on paper. Her large-scale works, rendered in Sumi ink, depict humans and animals in tense, snarling poses, as if they're working out an agreement for co-existence in a cruel, thankless landscape. At once delicate and powerful, her characters are nothing if not fiercely determined, and looking at them feels strangely like glimpsing our own grim future.

    Comment by AB: In the video vestibule, I pause to sample a snippet of Kate Gilmore's Double Dutch (2004), an autobiographical adventure, filmed from the calves down, where she "dances" on a Swiss cheese surface until she breaks through to whatever lies beneath.

    Josephine Taylor art

    Art by Josephine Taylor.

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    Detail of above image (Josephine Taylor - photo c/o Jennifer Jeffrey).

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    Art (Josephine Taylor).

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    Art (Josephine Taylor).

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    Art (Josephine Taylor).

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    Art (Josephine Taylor).

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    Art (Josephine Taylor).

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    Video (Kate Gilmore).

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    Out front (photo c/o Jennifer Jeffrey).

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    Impertinence in the alley.

    ***

    The Coop: Leigh McCarthy - In Search of the Miraculous.

    Comment by AB: Leigh McCarthy's installation consisting of paintings, photography, text-based works, and diorama, engages oceanic notions of shipwreck, salvage, exploration, discovery, and lost at-sea in service to the universal outcomes of success and failure.

    Leigh McCarthy art

    This must be the place.

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    Up we go.

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    Ahh. Here we are.

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    Art by Leigh McCarthy.

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    Art.

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    My favorite piece (a little pricey though at $6K).

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    Artster arting (photo c/o Steven Wolf).

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    Not sure whether this is part of the show, but I'll toss it in anyway.

    ***

    Rosenthal Gallery: Renee Billingslea - Rooted in America.

    Review by R.W. Miller: Strange and depressing fare for a Saturday night reception, but yet a powerful and maybe necessary indictment of what America was (and may still be) for some. The show reminds of the struggle before us to live in an egalitarian society, and also of how we are burdened by the memory of the past.

    Comment by AB: Renee Billingslea's intense unflinching assessment of the history of racism in America is guaranteed to make an impression and to leave no one unphased. The best part? It's good art-- very good-- all kinds. In fact, it's one of the better shows I've seen recently. In fact, in fact, while I'm in the heat of effusion, I might as well give it a mid-month Pick Runner-up. Yep... it's just that good. Don't believe me? Check it out.

    Renee Billingslea art

    Art by Renee Billingslea.

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    Art.

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    Renee Billingslea.

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    Art.

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    Book art.

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    Book art closer (like 'em).

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    Quilt art.

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    Hat art.

    ***

    [ 2nd floor projects ]: Zen With a Lisp.

    Artists: David Enos, Frank Haines, Wayne Smith.

    Comment by AB: A lighthearted three-pronged romp through the benign wilds of artland. My favorite? Mystical journey collage works by Wayne Smith.

    Wayne Smith art

    Collage on thrift store paintings by Wayne Smith.

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    Wayne Smith - art.

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    Collage by Wayne Smith closer.

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    Art (David Enos).

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    Art (Frank Haines).

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    Video art (not sure).

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    Art (Frank Haines).

    ***

    Garage Biennale: The Weather Reconnaissance.

    Artists: Angela Baker, Lisa Blatt, Zack Eichelberger, Peter Foucault, Sid Garrison, Jessalyn Haggenjos, Rachel Jablo, Scott Kiernan, Keira Kotler, Mary Anne Kluth, Yoon Lee, John Melvin, Andrew Mills, Jenna North, Shalo P, Kevin Parks Hauser, Jackson Patterson, David Sanchez Burr, Larry Sheradon, Patrick Wilson. Curated by Jenna North and Peter Foucault.

    Comment by AB: According to the preamble, "from the Christian God, to Zeus's lighting bolt, Thor, son of Odin, wielder of thunder, Indra the Hindu god of war and weather, or the Mayan sky god Cabaguil, to name a few, all express the same conclusion; that elevation of man above the vagaries of weather is akin to immortality." Yes, it's humanity against everything else in a fight to the finish, the first prize being eternal life and the second prize being... well... eternal otherwise. Care to wager on the winner? Anyway, a fair percentage of the art seems to more or less somewhat sort of kind of jive with the idea, but for those who aren't all that good at playing connect the dots, consider the upshot more of a melange offering a little something for everyone.

    art

    Art.

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    Art (kinda like that vertical piece by Mary Anne Kluth).

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    Twisty bit of woodwork by Patrick Wilson (very nicely executed).

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    Patrick Wilson.

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    Art (the vertical piece is by Jenna North).

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    Photography.

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    Sound performance is more of a drone than a symphony.

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    Outside the garage.

    ***


    Articles and content copyright Alan Bamberger 1998-2008. All rights reserved.