SAN FRANCISCO ART GALLERIES OPENINGS
FIRST THURSDAY - 09.05.13
(with assistance from Kimberly Almazan)
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Comment by AB: Sorry to report that I had to take a sick day on one of the most significant First Thursdays of the year. I've gotten to a couple of those shows since, and Kimberly Almazan's also hit a couple. Here's what we've got so far...
Gallery Wendi Norris: Tomoko Konoike - Earthshine; Laurel Roth - Flight of the Dodo.
Comment by AB: In the front gallery, Japanese artist Tomoko Konoike whips up her own reality starring a six-legged mirror wolf, haunting big-eye visages, exceptional graphite drawings, an animated video book and more. In the side gallery, Laurel Roth reminds us about endangered species by presenting them in what one day may be their posthumous retrospective glory, underscoring her point with a dodo medallion on the far back wall. There's still time to save practically all of what we've got... but not much. Her superb sculptural works include precision wood carvings, peacocks created with cascades of press-on nails and hair clips, wood carvings with inlaid jewels and geodes, intricate crochet, and more. Let's hope that 100 years from now, we'll look back on this display as a testament to our environmental stewardship rather than a mausoleum for the vanished. Excellent art on both counts and definitely worth seeing.
Large mirrored wolf art by Tomoko Konoike at Gallery Wendi Norris.
Sculpture by Tomoko Konoike.
Graphite art by Tomoko Konoike.
Pinkie cam detail of Tomoko Konoike art in above image (nicely done).
Suspended head - art by Tomoko Konoike.
Animated video projected onto a sculpture of a book by Tomoko Konoike (like it).
Oversized mural/room divider art by Tomoko Konoike.
Laurel Roth art show at Gallery Wendi Norris.
Carved burl wood skull by Laurel Roth (like it).
Dodo medallion art by Laurel Roth.
Hair clip & press-on nail peacock by Laurel Roth.
Pinkie cam detail of Laurel Roth art above.
Sculpture by Laurel Roth.
Inlaid geode in above image closer - Laurel Roth art.
Crochet art by Laurel Roth (like it).
Pinkie cam detail of Laurel Roth art in above image.
Highlight Gallery: Sea Stories Between the Tides.
Artists: Miguel Arzabe, Ben Barretto, Will Brown, Luke Butler, Liam Everett, Shahrzad Kamel, Curtis Mann, Chris McCaw, Sean McFarland, Rob Reynolds, Rene Ricard, Conrad Ruiz, Margo Wolowiec.
Comment by AB: Likely timed with the America's Cup, this show is themed on the sea, and in particular, Joseph Conrad's 1897 quote, "What makes mankind tragic is not that they are the victims of nature, it is that they are conscious of it. ... There is no morality, no knowledge and no hope; there is only the consciousness of ourselves which drives us about a world that ... is always but a vain and fleeting appearance." I'm not sure I get it-- especially the edits-- but I like the art.
L-R, art by Sean McFarland, Curtis Mann, Ben Barretto at Highlight Gallery.
Pinkie cam detail of Ben Barretto art above.
L-R, art by Margo Wolowiec & Shahrzad Kamel.
Pinkie cam detail of Margo Wolowiec above.
L-R, art by Rob Reynolds, Shahrzad Kamel, Luke Butler.
Rob Reynolds art in above image closer.
Installation view - group show at Highlight Gallery.
John Berggruen Gallery: Chuck Close - Important Works on Paper from the Past Forty Years.
Review and images c/o Kimberly Almazan: Ever since my sophomore year of college, Chuck Close's work has held a special place in my heart. I studied art history, but the completion of the degree required that each student take at least one art class. I was less than thrilled at this prospect-- cognizant of my lack of artistic talent, I only wanted to look at art, not create it myself. Our first assignment, however, made me appreciate how fun and rewarding creating art can be.
Our professor introduced us to Chuck Close; specifically, his massive and colorful gridded paintings in which each tiny box contained its own abstract painting. We were shown a large-scale photo of Andy Warhol which was divided into 24 evenly-divided squares. Each student was assigned one square and tasked with creating his or her own 12x12" abstract painting. At the end, we put all of our individual squares together and created a surprisingly impressive portrait of Andy Warhol. I was hooked. When I finally saved up enough money to buy my first "real" work of art, the decision was a no-brainer-- I bought a Chuck Close ("S.P. II," 1997, linoleum cut, edition of 70).
Naturally, I'm delighted to attend "Chuck Close, Important Works on Paper from the Past Forty Years" at the John Berggruen Gallery. The exhibit contains many of my favorites-- the large-scale self-portraits. Even though the show concentrates on works on paper, it demonstrates the breadth of media with which Close works, e.g., color Polaroids, mezzotint, ink and graphite, ceramic tiles, gelatin silver prints, watercolor pigment and silkscreen.
My favorite piece is "Nat/Felt Hand Stamp," 2012, Oil paint on paper, 33 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches. Each square contains just one color, made with a cylindrical hand stamp; this is in stark contrast to some of Close's other paintings in which each square contains a minuscule abstract painting with a multitude of colors. Together, the hand stamps remarkably become a recognizable portrait.
Chuck Close portraits at John Berggruen Gallery.
Portrait photographs by Chuck Close.
Maquette for "Eric" by Chuck Close, 1990.
Portrait of Jack B. by Chuck Close, 1974.
Keith by Chuck Close, 1972.
Study for Keith 4 Times by Chuck Close.
S.P. II, 1997 by Chuck Close at John Berggruen Gallery.
"Nat/Felt Hand Stamp" 2012, by Chuck Close at John Berggruen Gallery.
Hespe Gallery: Kim Cogan - Flotsam.
Review and images c/o Kimberly Almazan: There is quite a dichotomy between the reclusiveness of the paintings at Kim Cogan's show, Flotsam, at the Hespe Gallery, and the vibrancy of the crowd in the room eager to celebrate his work.
Kim Cogan's paintings, mainly oils on canvas, stir feelings of seriousness, isolation and detachment. Like even darker versions of Edward Hopper, Cogan's pieces are also essentially American, but evoke a wintery watery solitude.
At first glance, Lighthouse, 40x30", oil on panel, appears reductive-- a simple after-hours image of a white lighthouse with a red roof. Further review, however, reveals masterful elements including conspicuous brush strokes, Caravaggio-like chiaroscuro, and a subtle but thought-provoking use of color, especially in the irony of the blackness slowly enveloping the one part of the structure that should be providing light.
Under a Pier, 66x48", oil on canvas, is similarly powerful. Painted from the viewpoint of one standing underneath a formidable or even menacing pier, Cogan succeeds in making the viewer feel simultaneously awe-inspired and insignificant. Despite the turbid water and the emulsified sky, Cogan's colorless piece portrays a deep purity. Cogan's paintings will be on exhibit until September 28, 2013.
House by the Lake - Kim Cogan art at Hespe Gallery.
Harbor - Kim Cogan art.
Kim Cogan art - Wave #10.
Edge of the World - art by Kim Cogan.
Dusk - Kim Cogan art at Hespe Gallery.
The Lulls - art by Kim Cogan.
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