San Francisco Art Galleries - First Thursday Art Openings: September 6, 2007


SAN FRANCISCO ART GALLERIES OPENINGS
FIRST THURSDAY; 09.06.07
(with assistance from Dorothy Santos, Uba Owl, Jennifer Mullen)

General comment by AB: Bruised, battered, and back from an unrelenting onslaught of First Thursday events, I welcome you to yet another action packed season of that thrill-a-minute spectator sport, San Francisco Art Openings. By my calculations, tonight's docket includes over forty shows, easily ten of which are eminently logistically ill-advised for two main reasons, plus a third reason being a combination of the first two-- they're either out in the boonies (aka not in the immediate downtown vicinity), or they end too early, or both. This would indicate that for those venues in violation (you know who you are), a brief tutorial is in order. So please get your paper and pencils ready because there's gonna be a quiz. Let's begin.

A typical year consists of twelve separate months. A typical month contains anywhere from 28 to 31 separate days. Every month has only one first Thursday, that first Thursday being equivalent in length to precisely one day. Now, if you subtract that one day (first Thursday) from the total number of days in any given month, then depending on the month, that leaves you with anywhere from 27 to 30 days left over ON WHICH TO HAVE YOUR ART OPENING. Class dismissed.

In related news, this dude named Konstantin Schneider emails me about his Berlin, Germany art adventures. He basically dons a yellow construction helmet topped with a video camera and off he goes to document the Berlin art scene-- bigtime. He's got a superb website, kind of a video version of yours truly-- art, interviews, overviews, exploits, and more-- and you can see it all at Berliner Kunstkontakter - The Active Art TV. Highly recommended.

Woah! The egg timer's almost up and that can only mean one thing-- the Artland Express is perpetrating to abdicate the station. Wanna tag along? There's still a couple of seats left. (Hint: You won't be disappointed.) Yes? You do? Excellent...

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Dolby Chadwick Gallery: Stephen Namara - The Insufficiency of Dreams.

Comment by AB: Born in Kenya, now living in San Francisco, Stephen Namara presents a series of delicate muted figural works, adeptly blending where he's been with where he is now. The trick in transitioning (and translating) cultures, for artists as well as anyone else, no matter where you come from or where you are now, is representing where you come from in ways that reach out to and enrich the understanding of people you meet where you are now. Namara's art invites admirable inquiry in this regard and that's what makes it work.

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Art.

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Lisa Chadwick (owner) - art.

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Art.

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Art.

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Frey Norris Gallery: Kate Eric - Stories for Bad Children.

Comment by AB: You see these paintings; you get the message-- bad children, good children, any kind of children who see them are guaranteed nightmares. But that's children. For adults, especially savvy analytical artlanders, Eric's art may appear frightening, but it's a frightfully dazzling slant on frightfulness, interwoven with adventure once you advance beyond the initial shock.

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Art.

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Art.

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Art.

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Art.

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Hang Gallery: DAVe Warnke - In Pursuit of Happiness.

Comment by AB: Art rarely gets more upbeat than that of DAVe Warnke. If you like feeling good, want to brighten a room, make people smile, increase the level of joy on the planet, and stuff like that, then consider procuring a painting by DAVe. Very affordable too.

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Art.

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Artist DAVe Warnke (right) & art.

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Still only $5.

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Art.

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Hackett-Freedman Gallery: David Ligare - Aparchi; Emerson Woelffer.

Comment by AB: Accomplished still lifes essenced with a dash of magic realism by David Ligare play on light in ways reminiscent of 19th century American Luminist painting, with pretty slick shadow work thrown in. The compositions simultaneously share marked similarities while retaining distinct independence from each other. In the anteroom, you'll find an engaging array of circa-1990's works by the late Emerson Woelffer (Hackett-Freedman represents the estate of the artist).

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Art (David Ligare).

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Art (David Ligare).

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Art (David Ligare).

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Art (David Ligare).

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Art (Emerson Woelffer).

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John Berggruen Gallery: Michael Gregory - Yonder; Isca Greenfield-Sanders - Red Boat Beaches.

Comment by AB: First off, John Berggruen Gallery consistently composes the cherriest of show statements. They're tight, precise, to the point, and best of all, easy to understand (even for me-- and that's saying something).

This time around, we have virtuoso atmospheric landscape paintings by Michael Gregory, some with distant buildings typical of farms or small towns, others presenting Mulholland Drive perspectives on urban sprawl. Set at various times of day or night-- all alluringly otherworldly serene-- you know the locations don't really exist, but you kinda wish they did. The upshot? Some of the best art of the night. Upstairs, Isca Greenfield-Sanders essays on children at play in shallow water. Whose kids are they? Vacation or day trip? Lake or ocean? What part of the country, or the world? The answers to questions like that are up to you.

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Art (Michael Gregory).

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Art (Michael Gregory).

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Art (Michael Gregory).

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Art (Michael Gregory).

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Art (Isca Greenfield-Sanders).

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Art (Isca Greenfield-Sanders).

***

Gallery Paule Anglim: Clare Rojas; Miguel Branco.

Comment by AB: I apparently have either a Palm Pilot malfunction or a brain melt 'cuz I totally miss the show. Fortunately, Jennifer Mullen goes and is kind enough to rescue me with her images. Thank you Jennifer.

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Art (Clare Rojas).

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Art (Clare Rojas).

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Art (Clare Rojas).

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Art (Clare Rojas).

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Art (Miguel Branco).

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Art (Miguel Branco).

***

Brian Gross Fine Art: Amy Trachtenberg - Recent Paintings.

Comment by AB: You might call Amy Trachtenberg's paintings nonrepresentational; you might call them photorealistic. Working in earthy tones with cagey convincing effectiveness, she appears to replicate the ramifications of time on exposed surfaces-- aging, staining, fading, running, discoloring, rusting, and the like. Nice.

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Art.

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Art.

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Haines Gallery: Larry Bell - New Work; Tokihiro Sato - Photo-respiration.

Comment by AB: I'm still too traumatized to write about this show. A gallery operative, apparently poised in full ambush mode, nearly rips me a new asshole when, in an ill-advised instant of indescretion, I attempt to make digital contact with an icy cool glass cube by Larry Bell. How about this idea as a possible alternative to physically lying in wait and assaulting the infidels? Maybe print up signs that say something like "PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH" and position them proximitous to the art.

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Please do not touch (art - Larry Bell).

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Art (Larry Bell).

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Art (Tokihiro Sato).

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Art (Tokihiro Sato).

***

Fraenkel Gallery: Diane Arbus - Something Was There.

Comment by AB: To some, this momentous exhibition of early work by Diane Arbus might be like reading a book even though you already know how it ends, that knowledge interfering with or perhaps even impeding the pleasure of innocently watching the plot unfold. Or maybe it's the other way around-- you've already read the book once, and it's so damn good, you wanna read it again... and again... and again.

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Photography.

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Photographs.

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Photos.

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Images.

***

Jack Fischer Gallery: Ema Harris-Sintamarian - You Should Stop Editing.

Review by Dorothy Santos: Fathom the most complicated Texas Instruments calculator that even a skilled mathematician would find difficult to use and hybrid that with the power of an Intel chip. Well, you must be inside the head of Ema Harris-Sintamarian. Her show, aptly titled "You Should Stop Editing" is a cohesive gathering of drawings created from pen, ink, gouache, and acrylic. Her use of line and tonal variations will make you wonder how she painstakingly lays the foreground, middle ground, and background with precision. Her pieces certainly encapsulate the idea of intelligent design and parse to fine arts standards. Her work is an amalgamation of how information inundates people, and that the simplest concepts are the ideas that humans probably care the least about, but pay the most attention to. It's a consumer's world and if you can believe her well composed and thought out pieces can emanate from simple bits of information, believe it. Her exhibit runs through October and is worth seeing.

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Don Soker Gallery: Shoichi Seino - Selected Works, 1988-2007.

Comment by AB: Unusual meta-modern ceramic works for the wall, some composed of super-hard ceramic graphite, several incorporating photographs printed on tile, and others crafted in part from a white bubbly ceramic that looks like styrofoam board.

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Art.

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Don Soker (art - Shoichi Seino).

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Art.

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Art.

***

Gallery 415: Venuz White - Dot Project; Richard Garet - Time Frame.

Comment by AB: Abstracts by Venuz White mimic a range of realities from igneous geologic cross-sections to magnified cellular structures to organic forms to integallactic eruptions. Contrast White's free form fantasies with Richard Garet's unequivocally ordered rainbow geometrics-- Fujiflex prints mounted on Plexiglas.

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Art (Venuz White).

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Art (Venuz White).

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Art (Venuz White).

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Art (Venuz White).

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Art (Richard Garet).

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Art (Richard Garet).

***

Toomey Tourell Gallery: Jimi Gleason - Vapor and Edge.

Review by Jennifer Mullen: Jimi Gleason's work is quite dynamic. He does larger-scale paintings using pearlescent paint that constantly changes according to where the light hits. The vacuous center of his work is where you start; he then teases your eyes towards the edges of the piece where you suddenly see the multitude of layers in his work. Around the borders of his pieces, the paint gives the impression of being folded and worn, but upon closer inspection it looks smooth as silk. It reminds me of an oil spill in the ocean or of an overexposed photograph-- lots of swirling motion, sometimes so tightly swirled that the colors unify as one.

His art also, humorously, reminds me of that wave of heat-sensing apparel that assaulted the world's fashion sense in the 80's and early 90's. Remember those thermal–aware shirts that changed color according to body temperature? It's reminiscent of that, just more pastel than fluorescent and Technicolor.

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***

Gregory Lind Gallery: Chris Duncan - The Beginning. The Middle. The End.

Review by Jennifer Mullen: Speaking of Technicolor, the Gregory Lind gallery is a tad too psychedelic for me. Chris Duncan is the artist currently showing there, and his work examines the connections between nature, the abstract and visceral state of the mind and spirit, and time and events-- literally connecting them with string. The most significant part of the show is a triptych called "World War 3D." You walk into a three-walled room with mixed-media events on each side and a painting right in front of you. The catch is that the aforementioned painting is of the same scenario that you have just stepped into... trippy. On either side there is a globe, a cube, and clusters of dots that, according to the press release, represents the world in "apocalyptic chaos." The floor is painted pink with more of these chaos dots. Honestly, the string work makes me dizzy when I looked at it, so I can't spend too much time examining the connections he's trying to make. There is probably a lot more to his work than I'm able to process at the time.

Duncan, an Oakland-based artist, apparently known for his string sculptures, will have his show, "The Beginning. The Middle. The End" up from Sept. 4 – Oct. 13, 2007 at the Gregory Lind Gallery.

Comment by AB: Chris Duncan's masterfully crafted cosmic visions consistently keep me in the game. Like 'em.

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***

Steven Wolf Fine Arts: Id Is.  

Artists: John Delk, Hooliganship, Anna Schachte, Dan Tierney, Frances Trombly.

Comment by AB: Five artists make art around childhood and adolescent experiences, public as well as personal, resulting in a chaotic commingling of everything from talking teddy bears to the TV room, capped with a handful of delectably cryptic paintings, too refined to be childlike, but imaginative enough in appearance to satisfy the guidelines of the show.

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Art.

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Installation art.

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Steven Wolf discourses on the dealie-bob.

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Cuddly art.

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Art (like 'em).

***

Stephen Wirtz Gallery: Misako Inaoka - The Origin of Species; Laurie Reid - Speechless/Rustle.

Review of Misako Inaoka by Dorothy Santos: Oddly sophisticated and specifically structured, Misako Inako's "Origin of Species" opening showcases animal creations that would have Charles Darwin perplexed yet fascinated. Although each figurine is well beyond any natural verisimilitude there is something striking and telling of the artist's perception of the natural order of things. In particular, her work, "Evolutionary Tree," charts an evolutionary course of chickadees and birds that have morphed and adapted to foreign surroundings. Inako's use of motion sensors, motors, plastic, resin, wood, foam and paint come together fluidly to produce a colony of seemingly poised animals. If I didn't know any better, I would categorize her installation work and vision as the most beautiful taxidermy work I've ever seen. Unthreatening and innocuous, Inako's unnatural animals confine the opposing ideas of real and unreal and confound the most skeptical observer to acknowledge that interconnecting real things doesn't always create something real.

Comment by AB: Laurie Reed adds texture to watercolor-- not an easy trick-- by frosting faint veins and ripples with what presents itself as a soft glazy waxy white balm.

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Art (Misako Inaoka).

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Art (Misako Inaoka).

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Art (Misako Inaoka).

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Art (Misako Inaoka).

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Art (Laurie Reed).

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Art (Laurie Reed).

***

Marke Wolfe Contemporary Art: Sarah Hirneisen - A Fragile State; Kadie Salfi - Arabian Camels & Crude Oil.

Review by Uba Owl: A life-sized dromedary Camel silk-screened in crude oil on a plaster mosaic stands over a caravan of 100 miniature, lamp-lit camels hand-cast in bronze. Your thoughts turn immediately to the Iraq war. Other objects also impact the viewer with that theme. Green blades of grass sprout from a suspended lattice of spent machine gun shell casings. Soil samples gathered by U.S. Military personnel in Iraq are sealed within etched glass pouches. Islamic devotional prayer rugs of colored glass intricately patterned lie shattered.

The artist's intent is very clear. Like the rugs, thousands of lives are shattered and lost. But she speaks of hope too-- grass sprouting from gun casings. Very innovative way to approach the unimaginable catastrophe that any war is.

Comment by AB: Sarah Hirneisen and Kadie Salfi treatise on America's distinguished history of fervently unwanted and unappreciated forays into the Middle East, acting like we own the place, particularly our current cataclysmic calamity in Iraq. Works include a life-sized camel silkscreened in crude oil onto a plaster tile mosaic, blades of grass sprouting from machine gun shell casings, glass cabinet "reliquaries" holding over 2000 vials of oil, shattered glass prayer rugs, and more. Poignant show; go see.

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Art (like it).

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Holy oil art (like it).

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Sprouting shell casing art (nicely done).

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Art.

***

Rena Bransten Gallery: Miron Schmuckle - Rococo Revisited; John Bankston - New Paintings.

Comment by AB: Extravagantly imaginative paradigms of plant life occasionally married with extracts of the insects that inhabit them, the whole shebang presented in watercolor and drawing by Miron Schmuckle in the style of classic botanical illustration. Schmuckle's riotous alien interlopers are so flawlessly finessed and compellingly credible, you just know you're witnessing the birth of a new biology. And that can only mean one thing, dear artsters-- Pick of First Thursday. Meanwhile in the other half of the gallery, John Bankston works his narrative around a leather dude in search of the "Rainbow Forest," sundry trials and tribulations to be encountered and surmountered along the way. (This has to be among the oddest artist pairings I've ever been a party to.)

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Art (Miron Schmuckle - pick).

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Art (Miron Schmuckle - pick).

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Art (Miron Schmuckle).

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Art (John Bankston).

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Art (John Bankston).

***

Heather Marx Gallery: Libby Black - The Past is Never Where You Think You Left It.

Comment by AB: In addition to Libby Black's campy cut & paste luxury item knock-offs, she paints and draws herself up a strange melange of characters and scenarios subjugated to varying degrees by-- you guessed it-- status symbols. The show is gratifyingly unified in theme, the surprise being that the paintings and "sculptures" look like they're done by two different artists-- a testimonial to Black's range of talent.

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Art.

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Art (like it).

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Art.

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Art.

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***

Patricia Sweetow Gallery: Markus Linnenbrink - 15 Minutes With You.

Comment by AB: Markus Linnenbrink slices and dices the spectrum in more ways than you can shake a stick at, striping and layering colors in seemingly endless combinations and permutations, both as paintings and as epoxy resin sculptures. Ever eye-poppingly vibrant and worth a look. Over in the "project room" you'll come upon paintings by Heike Kati Barath, sculpture by Julia Venske and Gregor Spanle, and drawings by Ann Marie Stoehr.

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Art (Markus Linnenbrink).

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Art (Markus Linnenbrink).

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Art (Markus Linnenbrink).

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Art (Markus Linnenbrink).

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Anteroom art.

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Globular anteroom art.

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Hespe Gallery: Mimi Jensen.

Comment by AB: Journeyman still lifes, balanced with exactitude, impend on excellence with their crisp clean freshness.

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Newmark Gallery: Toru Sugita - New Prints and Paintings.

Review by Uba Owl: As we walked into the gallery on Saturday afternoon, Toru Sugita was sitting down to start a talk about his art. As it turned out, we were lucky, because he is a fascinating speaker. Toru was born and educated in Japan. From early on, he was interested in the way shadows cast their mark on landscape.

"I was interested in the world itself, and wanted to travel," he began. He arrived in San Francisco in the early eighties, and got connected with Kala Institute in Emeryville. He produced many etchings, aquatints, and images employing more experimental printing techniques. His interest in light and shadow moved more towards a space itself, sometimes incorporating a shadow of himself. A few years later, he got a studio at Hunters Point and started painting. His prints influenced his paintings a lot, his work becoming progressively more monochromatic with a strong black and white contrast. "My presence in the space is a big focus and I started doing videos and multiple views of the same space."

I like his etchings a lot; they show shadows cast on streets and buildings in San Francisco and Kyoto. They have a dreamy quality of old photographs. Very interesting compositions, they gave me a feeling of a different time and space. His paintings loosely remind of Diebenkorn and Thiebaud, but they posses a quality of old b&w photographs which makes them different and distinctly his. It was a pleasure to attend his talk and hope to see more of his art in the future.

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Art.

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Toru Sugita - art.

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Art (nicely done).

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Art.

***

Consulate General of Mexico: Miguel Osuna - Paisajes Imaginarios, New Landscapes.

Comment by AB: Miguel Osuna distills California landscape, Southern California in particular, into fundamental fusions of line, color, and blur. With such massive concentrations of humanity down there, blur becomes increasingly viable as a survival mechanism.

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Art Engine: Assembled View.

Artists: Yuri Psinakis, Francis Berry, Robert Larson.

Comment by AB: Tonight's featured artist (and curator), Yuri Psinakis, photographs images directly off of TV screens with traditional cameras and traditional film-- no digital slithering here. So I'm assessing his findings and it's hard for me to recall having seen any of these pictures actually televised. It's like maybe I'm not paying attention-- like maybe it's time to start watching closer. Also showing are Robert Larson's meticulously methodically recycled Western Avenue (LA) discards, and Francis Berry's textualized color maps.

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Art (Yuri Psinakis).

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Art (Yuri Psinakis).

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Yuri Psinakis - art.

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Art (Yuri Psinakis).

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Art (Francis Berry).

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Art (Robert Larson).

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New Langton Arts: In Residence.

Artists: Pete Nelson, Tercerunquinto.

Comment by AB: I'm not sure whether it's Pete Nelson or Mexican art/architecture collective Tercerunquinto who puts New Langton Arts up to boxing twenty years of its archives for sale. "How much?" I ask. They tell me I'm supposed to make an offer. Right. I sift and assess and sift and assess countless papers and files in order to painstakingly calculate a value, tell you how much I'll pay based on that value, and then you sit in judgment of my assessment and offer-- when you have no idea what it's worth yourselves. Sorry. Lose-lose proposition.

How about this idea? You figure out how much it's worth, like all the other retailers on the planet, then price it for sale and see if you get any bites. If you can't figure it out yourselves, hire an appraiser. Selling the family jewels without following proper procedures under the pretext of "it's art" seems little more than a ruse to absolve yourselves of having to do the grunt work.

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Archives for sale.

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Make offer.

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Art.

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Art.

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Fifty24SF: Maya Hayuk - Forevers; Todd Bratrud - Half Assed.

Comment by AB: Maya Hayuk's a bit miffed at those who preach abstinence from all forms of intimacy, unless abstainers meet a draconian onus of conditions, requirements, and guidelines, in which case they get to stop abstaining (as opposed to start loving), but only under certain circumstances and subject to a raft of additional restrictions, by which time, they're so wracked with guilt that the beauty of the moment has long since vanished. So Hayuk makes art about it-- art that at first glance might look like people engaged in "naughty" acts, but if you look closer, it's all about love. And that's her message-- "It's all about love." Good art, genuinely intended, and worth a look.

Meanwhile over at the annex (next door and up the stairs), Todd Bratrud shows considerable range, from decks accompanied by preliminary sketches (nice touch) to illustrations to tattoo-esque line drawings and more, essenced from cuddly to disgusting. No matter what your poison, there's a good chance you'll find it here.

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Art (Maya Hayuk).

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Maya Hayuk - art.

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Art (Maya Hayuk - my favorite - sold).

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Art (Maya Hayuk).

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Art (Maya Hayuk).

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Art (Todd Bratrud).

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Art (Todd Bratrud).

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Art (Todd Bratrud).

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Art (Todd Bratrud).

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Art (Todd Bratrud).

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Lower Hater Gallery: Henry Lewis - Sad Songs.

Comment by AB: To the best of my recollection, painter and tattooist Henry Lewis tells me he was listening to music with friends when some sad song of days gone by started playing and the incident became sort of an inside joke among him and these friends and that's what this show is about and that's all there is to it. The works are small format, nicely done, many featuring crying iPods. Be sure not to miss the tasty little pencil drawings way in the back.

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Art.

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Art.

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Henry Lewis - art.

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Miniature pencil drawings (nice).

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Art.

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Adobe Books Backroom Gallery: Jeremy & Claire Weiss - Day 19 Polaroid Project.

Comment by AB: What better place to close out the evening than at Adobe Books? I sure can't think of one. Anyway, tonight it's all about Jeremy and Claire Weiss's current quest to document and subsequently immortalize various artists, writers, performers, activists, and related creatives in 4 X 5 Polaroid portraits made with a large format camera that requires sitters to sit still for 20 seconds. No fancy stuff; just sit still for 20 seconds. The results are direct honest bare-essentials looks at an impressively diverse array of today's talents. Speaking of today's talents, tonight's turnout is rife with many of our promising up-and-coming Bay Area creative purveyors.

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What it is.

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Polaroid portrait art.

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Polaroid portraiture.

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Polaroid portrait art.

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Door delta.

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Addendum:

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"Nocturnal Visions" group show at ARTworkSF Gallery.

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More nocturnal art at ARTworkSF.

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Owl eye art at ARTworkSF.

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One more from ARTworkSF.

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That's it from ARTworkSF.

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Photography and more at Togonon Gallery.

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More from Togonon Gallery.

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Last one from Togonon Gallery.

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Maybe you will. And thank you for your support.

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First Thursday; August 2, 2007

First Thursday; July 5, 2007








Articles © Alan Bamberger 2007. All rights reserved.