ON THE ROAD WITH DEWITT CHENG
UC BERKELEY EXTENSION - ART WORKS DOWNTOWN
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UC Berkeley Extension Gallery: Tony Maridakis, Nocturnal Kosmos
Review by DeWitt Cheng: A dozen medium-format (by today's colossal standards, anyway) photos of the Cliff House by night comprise Tony Maridakis's Nocturnal Kosmos show, featuring his Modern Ruins series. (Nice oxymoron in the title; if clowns and cartoon characters were Photoshopped in, they'd be postmodern ruins, no?) Lighting conditions in the glass-box UCBX gallery made decent photos of the moody, romantic, long-exposure works impossible, but you get the idea. Maridakis's pursuit of "places we might visit in dream or memory" take on sociopolitical implications these days for some of us, but American exceptionalists are allowed to discern generalized symbols of grandeur laid low by folly, time and tide-- "Old Europe," maybe.
Nine photos. Titles include "Beacon," "Castle of Sand," and "Stone and Vapor."
"Unconscious Kosmos IV.".
"Afloat in a Full Sea."
Art Works Downtown: Love + Pleasure by Susan Danis and Livia Stein
Review by DeWitt Cheng: Love + Pleasure is the title of this show by painter Livia Stein and sculptor Susan Danis, both mid-career East Bay artists. Their work is exuberantly imaginative, sometimes to the point of bizarreness (and that's a good thing), and their visions complement each other synergistically, to use a 1980s business buzzword. Stein's painterliness (hard-won, of course) in her oils ("Boat," "Two Heads," "Bird with Rocks," "Megaphone" and "Self-Portrait with Pink Frame"), monoprints and gouaches communicates delight and curiosity rather than archetypal AbEx angst (which is not so terrible either, despite its current fashionable disfavor).
Danis's omnivorous list of materials-which includes synthetic kumquat garlands, feather boas, anal plugs (!), human hair, fluffy slippers, a centipede, a raccoon skull, and a freeze-dried mole-- produces assemblages of cheerful weirdness ("Octopus Egg," "Coiffure," "Frog Egg," "Hair Ball"). Nice turnout from the North and East Bay crowds for San Rafael's 2nd Friday Art Walk along 4th Street; women nicely turned out in red and pink are a nice change from San Francisco Art Ninja Black.
Danis sculptures, foreground; Stein painting, background.
Hobnobbing art nabobs Michael Fram and Rod Laursen.
Livia Stein and "Self-Portrait with Pink Frame."
Susan Danis (left) with her "Cage 2" and monoprints by Stein.
Better shot of Danis's "Cage 2."
Livia Stein monoprints.