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  • SAN FRANCISCO ART GALLERIES OPENINGS

    SECOND THURSDAY; 09.10.09

    (with assistance from Kathryn Arnold, RWM,

    DeWitt Cheng, Kristin Farr and Pakayla Biehn)


    General comment by AB: I gotta tell you-- I've seen so much art between last Thursday and this Thursday (not to mention Friday and Saturday), I've had to make an appointment to get my eyeballs resurfaced. Close to 100 openings in all! Apparently San Francisco's solution to an itchy recession is simple enough-- throw art at it. Now due to time constraints in combination with the dizzying density of shows, brevity is in order. The good news is that I certainly can't complain about the quality. But wait; there's more. Multiple Picks of First Thursday. Don't believe me? Witness this...

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    John Berggruen Gallery: Independent Visions.

    Artists: Elmer Bischoff, Alexander Calder, Mark di Suvero, Richard Diebenkorn, Isamu Noguchi, Nathan Oliveira, David Park, Martin Puryear, Robert Motherwell, Ed Ruscha, Wayne Thiebaud.

    Comment by AB: According to the diatribe, Independent Visions is "a survey of new and historical works by a selection of prominent American artists." You won't get a peep outta me on that one. It's kinda like being a museum except that everything''s for sale.

    art

    Art.

    Brian Vest art

    The Alexander Calder department.

    Photo

    Nice little Wayne Thiebaud.

    Brian Vest art

    Art.

    Photo

    Art.

    Photo

    Art by Richard Diebenkorn (right).

    ***

    Scott Richards Gallery: Cheryl Kelley - Heavy Metal.

    Review by RWM: Amazing, amazing cars depicted with gleaming surfaces, style, and charm. One cannot help but wonder whether electric cars may one day also appear so cool? Although in a way, these cars are electric too. Electric or not, Cheryl Kelley can render any car cool and wondrous.

    Comment by AB: Cheryl Kelley harks back to the glory days of the American auto industry when the car was king. Not no more. These days it's the bicycle.

    Cheryl Kelley art

    Automotive art by Cheryl Kelley.

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    Automobile art by Cheryl Kelley.

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    Cheryl Kelley art.

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    Art by Cheryl Kelley.

    ***

    Hespe Gallery: Kim Cogan - Inside Out.

    Review by RWM: Remarkable city scenes, both night and day, inside and out. Even those who feel isolated or alone can here attain a sense of belonging to the bigger urban center with all its people and their stories. The city is awake and alive with struggle and dreams.

    Kim Cogan art

    Kim Cogan paintings.

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    Kim Cogan art.

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    Kim Cogan & his art.

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    Art by Kim Cogan.

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    Paintings by Kim Cogan.

    ***

    Sandra Lee Gallery: Modest Masterpieces

    Comment by AB: Group show, gallery artists, with the accent on affordability at $200-$3000 per oeuvre.

    art

    Art.

    Photo

    Art.

    Photo

    Art.

    Photo

    Planar.

    ***

    Gallery Paule Anglim: Bruce Conner - Discovered; Sight Vision Revisited - Group Show.

    Signt Vision Revisited artists: Wallace Berman, Joan Brown, Jean Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, George Herms, Jess.

    Comment by AB: In the main gallery, drawings, collage, sculpture and assemblage-- most being exhibited in public for the first time-- highlight the forty-year career of San Francisco art icon and innovator Bruce Conner. Firmly rooted in the Beat Scene, his creative muse flew high from there. Complementing the Conner retrospective is a select exhibition of works by like-minded companions and consorts in Bohemia.

    Bruce Conner art

    Assemblage art by Bruce Conner.

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    Bruce Conner art.

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    Art closer by Bruce Conner.

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    Art (Bruce Conner).

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    Bruce Conner assemblage art (like it).

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    Art closer by Bruce Conner.

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    Bruce Conner art (like it).

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    Art by Wallace Berman.

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    Sculpture by Joan Brown (like it).

    Photo

    Art.

    ***

    Koch Gallery: Abandoned - Brian Ulrich - Dark Stores, Desire Charnay - Lost Worlds.

    Comment by AB: In a pique of correlative clarity, Koch Gallery combines Desire Charnay's mid-19th century images of Pre-Columbian ruins in Mexico and Central America with Brian Ulrich's photographic odes to abandoned retail establishments in the good old US of A, stores which flourished from the 60s through the early 2000s. I guess Pre-Columbian in contemporary American terms refers to anything three years old or older. Don't you just love the way we cherish our history?

    Brian Ulrich art

    Brian Ulrich photography.

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    Photographs by Brian Ulrich.

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    Brian Ulrich photos.

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    Vintage photographs by Desire Charnay.

    ***

    Haines Gallery: Adou - Samalada; ; Julia Oschatz - Odd One Out.

    Comment by AB: In his debut West Coast appearance, Adou shows photographs of his native Sichuan Province in China. He achieves his mysterious effects in part by photographing with expired rolls of film. German artist Julia Oschatz, meanwhile, transforms the rear gallery into a marvelously perplexing reality with a painting/drawing/video installation. It's not easy to convince someone that they're "somewhere else" when in fact they're in an art gallery, but Oschatz dices that mindset up just right. Pick of First Thursday Honorable Mention for Julia Oschatz.

    Adou art

    Photograhy by Adou.

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    Photos by Adou.

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    Photographs by Adou.

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    Installation art by Julia Oschatz.

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    Installation art by Julia Oschatz.

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    Installation art by Julia Oschatz.

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    Art & installation by Julia Oschatz.

    ***

    Gregory Lind Gallery: Aaron Parazette - Air Drop; Anders Ruhwald - Almost Nothing.

    Review by DeWitt Cheng: Anders Ruhwald (Almost Nothing) makes postminimal site-specific (?) ceramic sculptures with a tactile organic surface coating their linear geometric forms; they're slyly humorous. Aaron Parazette (Air Drop) creates multipanel shaped-canvas paintings-- geometric abstractions with a tweak-- that play with perception.

    Aaron Parazette art

    Art by Aaron Parazette.

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    Aaron Parazette art.

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    Art closer by Aaron Parazette (image c/o DeWitt Cheng).

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    Art by Mark Mulroney.

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    Ceramic sculpture by Anders Ruhwald.

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    Ruth Braunstein - Anders Ruhwald - Gregory Lind.

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    Ceramic sculpture closer by Anders Ruhwald (image c/o DeWitt Cheng).

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    Anders Ruhwald ceramic sculpture.

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    The basic idea (sculpture by Anders Ruhwald).

    ***

    Brian Gross Fine Art: Freddy Chandra - Listening Sequence.

    Comment by AB: Freddy Chandra applies paint, resin, graphite and varnishes to horizontal sections of cast acrylic and then arranges them into patterns. Pristine shimmering translucence would be the watchword here. Like 'em.

    Freddy Chandra art

    Art by Freddy Chandra.

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    Side view of art in above image (Freddy Chandra).

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    Art by Freddy Chandra.

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    Freddy Chandra art.

    art

    Art closer by Freddy Chandra.

    ***

    Fraenkel Gallery: Hiroshi Sugimoto: LIghtning Fields.

    Comment by AB: Hiroshi Sugimoto photographs electricity-- not an easy assignment. And that's that. Deferring to the testimonial, "to create each image Hiroshi Sugimoto uses a Van De Graaff 400,000 volt generator to apply an electrical charge directly onto film." Also included in the exhibition are several prints made directly from original negatives by William Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of the negative/positive photographic process in the 1840s.

    Hiroshi Sugimoto art

    Photography by Hiroshi Sugimoto.

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    Hiroshi Sugimoto photos.

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    Hiroshi Sugimoto photographs.

    art

    Photography by Hiroshi Sugimoto.

    ***

    Altman Siegel Gallery: Sara VanDerBeek, Shinpei Kusanagi and Garth Weiser - see: Abstraction (disambiguation).

    Comment by AB: Three distinct vanguard perspectives on abstraction, here presented together for your analytical indulgence. It's the San Francisco debut for all three artists.

    art

    Art.

    art

    Art.

    art

    Art.

    art

    Art.

    ***

    Toomey Tourell Fine Art: Brian Dettmer - New Mixed Medium Works.

    Comment by AB: I was duly stupefied the first time I saw Brian Dettmer's amazing cut sanded shaped and sculpted books here at Toomey Tourell. His workmanship is painstakingly demandingly intricately brain bending, that's for sure. And how he thinks these bibliophilic fantasies up is even more confounding. Plus special added bonus-- he's getting better (something which I would not have thought possible, considering how good he was the first time around). You've never seen anything quite like these. Marvelous. I promise. As if that's not enough, they're way better in person than they are in the images-- you can even read 'em if you want. Pick of First Thursday.

    Brian Dettmer art

    Sculpted book art by Brian Dettmer.

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    Literary sculpture by Brian Dettmer.

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    Brian Dettmer - art.

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    Art by Brian Dettmer.

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    Sculpture by Brian Dettmer.

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    Brian Dettmer book art and sculpture.

    ***

    Steven Wolf Fine Arts: Taking Pictures - Nicholas Knight; Past Life Picturesque - Jo Babcock.

    Comment by AB: Nicholas Knight takes pictures of people taking pictures of art; Jo Babcock makes pinhole cameras out of pretty much anything. Not to be outdone, Steven Wolf ratchets the dealie bob with a crackerjack expository laced with lingo like "breathless daisy chain," "the punctum in the story" and "visceral peepholes." (For those of you keeping track of my medical history, I once had a visceral peephole removed from my punctum. It was benign, fortunately.)

    Nicholas Knight art

    Photography by Nicholas Knight.

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    Nicholas Knight photos.

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    Nicholas Knight photographs.

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    Display of pinhole cameras by Jo Babcock.

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    Jo Babcock suitcase pinhole cameras.

    ***

    Stephen Wirtz Gallery: Deborah Oropallo - Wild Wild West.

    Comment by AB: Whenever anyone asks whether I think digital images are really art, I answer, "Deborah Oropallo." It's precisely that simple and no more complicated. Pick of First Thursday.

    Deborah Oropallo art

    Art by Deborah Oropallo.

    art

    Deborah Oropallo and her art.

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    Deborah Oropallo art.

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    Art by Deborah Oropallo.

    ***

    Micaela Gallery: Marvin Lipofsky - Survey, 1969 2009.

    Review by Kathryn Arnold: Marvin Lipofsky handles glass and color with the ease a painter might handle paint on a canvas-- an analogy pointing to the supreme technical skill this artist exhibits. His organic shapes at times resemble shell-like formations and point to inside/outside interior/exterior relationships. If glass was not such a fragile material, the sensation of wanting to pick these up hold them squish them would be almost unbearable. Candy-like colors are reminiscent of those seen in the depths of the ocean (National Geographic has educated me in this regard) so perhaps one can touch upon primordial beginnings. Yet they are what they are-- each shape also referencing itself without allusions to the outside world. Luminous objects of 'being' in most cases.

    Review by DeWitt Cheng: Berkeley's Marvin Lipofsky is an eminent glass artist, having helped pioneer the medium back in the 1960s. This show assembles work of the past four decades. Organic/complex form, plus ravishing color--a must-see for those who admired the Chihuly extravaganza at the DeYoung. I take several pix of the artist, whose sense of humor I enjoy, but seem to have lost them somehow.

    Comment by AB: Glassmaking at it's finest. Highly recommended. Pick of First Thursday.

    Marvin Lipofsky art

    Glass art by Marvin Lipofsky.

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    Fine glass by Marvin Lipofsky.

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    Marvin Lipofsky & his art glass.

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    Marvin Lipofsky glass art closer (image c/o Kathryn Arnold).

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    Glass art by Marvin Lipofsky closer (image c/o Kathryn Arnold).

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    Marvin Lipofsky glass art.

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    Fine art glass by Marvin Lipofsky.

    ***

    Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art: Alika Cooper - A Cold Wave.

    Comment by AB: Alika Cooper "continues to probe the psychology of noir through her portraits of Hollywood screen actresses of the 1920s through 1970s." Makes sense, I suppose.

    Alika Cooper art

    Art by Alika Cooper.

    art

    Art closer by Alika Cooper (Grace Jones, I believe).

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    Alika Cooper art.

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    Art by Alika Cooper.

    ***

    Robert Tat Gallery: Charles Gatewood - Celebrity!

    Comment by AB: Charles Gatewood has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in photography, documenting everything from Wall Street businessmen to San Francisco's sexual vanguard. Tonight, he presents vintage celebrity portraits from Allen Ginsberg to a notably young Carlos Santana.

    Charles Gatewood art

    Celebrity photos by Charles Gatewood.

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    Charles Gatewood (center).

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    Charles Gatewood photos (Carlos Santana, bottom right).

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    Charles Gatewood celebrity photographs.

    ***

    Corden Potts Gallery/: Jeri Eisenberg - A Sojourn In Seasons.

    Review by RWM: Nice to see the Fall colors in these floral depictions. Rather than the stark colors of the Fall, the images here are soothing. A very pleasant autumn is in this forecast presented.

    Comment by AB: Jeri Eisenberg manifests abstracted wooded foliage in enchanting transclucence via a combination of photography and encaustic on Japanese Kozo paper.

    Jeri Eisenberg art

    Mixed media photography by Jeri Eisenberg.

    art

    Photographic art by Jeri Eisenberg.

    ***

    Patricia Sweetow Gallery: Kim Anno - Liquescent; Gail Wight - Intertidal Zone.

    Review by DeWitt Cheng: This reception takes place the night before First Thursday (which is observed this month on second Thursday-- everyone clear now?). Anno's abstract paintings (collectively entitled Liquescent), with their white streaks and drips on exposed stainless steel, have an arctic-landscape effect. Gail Wight shows Intertidal Zone, an installation of internally-illuminated columnar photocollages (I think) with geological/geographic imagery (and an interactive sound element), along with illuminated butterflies and related videos.

    Review by RWM: One can immerse themselves here surrounded by the hanging structures with lights. One becomes part of the scene walking betwixt the poles hanging from the ceiling. The work is not interactive, ie.. it does not change, but it refreshingly puts you in the situation.

    Kim Anno art

    Art by Kim Anno.

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    Kim Anno - art (image c/o DeWitt Cheng).

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    Art (Kim Anno).

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    Monograph on the art of Kim Anno.

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    Gail Wight & Intertidal Zone installation (image c/o DeWitt Cheng).

    ***

    Marx & Zavattero: David Hevel - Beautiful, Dirty, Dirty, Rich.

    Review by Kristin Farr: David Hevel "brings it" once more at Marx & Zavattero Gallery with his animal sculptures representing the best and worst of famous folks. "Bernie Madoff, You're a Giant Prick" is one example; the Ponzi-scheming fat cat is represented as a big Rhino head with snot dripping out of its nose. Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson are immortalized as glamorous Unicorns, and Brad Pitt is a shrieking monkey stuck in the middle of a glittering bouquet. The opening is a big party with Steve Zavaterro on the 1's and 2's, and free lollipops and beer for all.

    David Hevelart

    Art by David Hevel.

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    David Hevel art.

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    Art by David Hevel.

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    Art by David Hevel.

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    Relative density.

    ***

    Modernism Gallery: Jerry Kearns - Paleface; Modernism 30th Anniversary Exhibition.

    Review by RWM: Explored here is the struggle to be a good person in a difficult and sometimes dangerous world. Is it true that even Christ needs to carry a gun? The work has a comic book sense to it, casting the protagonists into perilous situations. Christ looks on with a sense of "why me" and "not again," but he is willing to take on the responsibilities.

    Review and images by Kathryn Arnold: Multiple large paintings greet me as I enter the space. I am looking at the exhibition "Paleface" featuring works by Jerry Kearns. The images reference Pop sometimes just in terms of what they are but more often than not, in the manner in which they are painted. Blended images from the Wild Wild West (horses, holsters, guns) are blended together with religious icons such as a white Jesus (known by the crown of thorns and occasional halos) painted in a super clean magic-realism moment. The blue skies and superhero context of the imagery develop a sense of narrative-- yet the narrative disjunctive and I need to go back!

    Jerry Kearns art

    Art by Jerry Kearns.

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    Jerry Kearns art.

    art

    Art by Jerry Kearns.

    art

    Art.

    art

    Attendance figures.

    ***

    Gallery 291: Michael Garlington - Garlington's Travels; Mary Frey - Imagining Fauna. Comment by AB: Michael Garlington's subjects are ordinary everyday people, but he skews his compositions just enough to liberate them from the pedestrian confines of the real world. Mary Frey photographs aging degrading taxidermy specimens in natural history museums, and in so doing, reminds us that our ongoing love affair with environmental profligacy degrades their living counterparts as well.

    Michael Garlington art

    Photography by Michael Garlington.

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    Photos by Michael Garlington.

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    Photographs by Michael Garlington.

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    Photography by Michael Garlington.

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    Photographs by Michael Garlington (left) & Mary Frey (two on right).

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    Photography by Mary Frey.

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    Photos by Mary Frey.

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    Literature about Mary Frey photography.

    ***

    David Baker and Partners Architects: Andrew Schoultz - Art, Streets, Life. Comment by AB: The christening of Andrew Schoultz's new mural at David Baker Architects serves as a perfect backdrop for this San Francisco Great Streets Project fundraiser affair. Challenging to photograph, but here's the skinny...

    art

    Mural by Andrew Schoultz looking West.

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    Mural by Andrew Schoultz looking East.

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    Mural by Andrew Schoultz looking closer.

    ***

    Fecal Face Dot Gallery: Mel Kadel - Echo Test.

    Review by Kristin Farr: Los Angeles artist Mel Kadel's eye for color and mood are incomparable. She's my favorite artist so I'm biased, but her new show at Fecal Face Dot Gallery is a perfect example of how her skillful representations of a neutral, recurring heroine construct a story that is open for interpretation. Both large and small scale pieces are on view, along with two stripey wall murals stand against one of the murals and have your photo taken, it's like being inside one of her drawings.

    Comment by AB: Mel Kadel's exquisitely rendered works on paper (accessorized with coffee stains) are a pleasure to behold-- plus they're more more than affordable with most priced at only $400. Note to doodler wannabes-- witness the real deal.

     Mel Kadel art

    Art by Mel Kadel.

     Mel Kadel art

    Art closer by Mel Kadel.

     Mel Kadel art

    Mel Kadel.

     Mel Kadel art

    Art by Mel Kadel.

     Mel Kadel art

    Art pinkie cam close by Mel Kadel- that's the good stuff.

     Mel Kadel art

    Mel Kadel art.

    ***

    Addendum:

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    End of Summer Deaccession Sale at Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery.

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    Johan Hagemeyer pictorial photography at Scott Nichols Gallery.

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    Johan Hagemeyer photo closer at Scott Nichols Gallery.

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    AnotherJohan Hagemeyer close-up at Scott Nichols Gallery.

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    Leap for Kids arts fundraiser at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

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    Another from Leap for Kids fundraiser at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

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    Last one from Leap for Kids fundraiser at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

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    Must have just missed Dennis Gallagher at Rena Bransten Gallery. Can't wait to see Ruth Asawa next time around.

    ***

    Do you enjoy the unbelievable amount of hard work it takes to pull this column off? Then maybe think about playing a little pookie pookie.

    ***

    First Thursday - August 6, 2009

    First Thursday - July 2, 2009

    ***