Archive for Dark Day Picks

Dark Day Picks: SF Open Studios Weekend 2

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Female Artists, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2009 by Liz Hager

Over the four weekends in October  we’re highlighting San Francisco Open Studios, the largest program of its kind in the country. Artists invite viewers into their studios to see the work outside of the gallery system.

Weekend 2: October 17 & 18
Neighborhoods: Buena Vista, Diamond Heights, Fort Mason, Haight, Hayes Valley, Marina, Mount Davidson, Pacific Heights, Richmond, Sunset, Ocean Beach, Twin Peaks, West Portal

Christine Cariati—Atelier 781, 781 Sixth Avenue

Tashkent paradise

Liz Hager—Atelier 781, 781 Sixth Avenue

Mary Daniel Hobson—3069 Washington Street at Baker Street

Barbara Kleinhans—1240 Hayes Street, #6

Marilynne Morshead

Marilynne Morshead—Fort Mason, Bldg. D, Fleet Room #100

Wider Connections

Art Span

Dark Day Picks

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Liz Hager, Mixed Media, Painting with tags on September 28, 2009 by Liz Hager

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when most galleries and museums are traditionally closed. “Dark Day Picks” highlights current exhibitions, new installations, books, and art world tidbits. Get a jump on a week filled with art.

Ratio 3—Mitzi Pederson, I’ll Start Again. New work from this 2008 Whitney Biennial artist, whose work explores the formal qualities of abstract sculpture. Pederson manipulates materials such as wood, paper, sand and string to create sculptures and drawings, which further explore states of permanence, tension, and chance.  Sept. 11 – October 24.

Hespe GalleryKim Cogan, Inside Out. Kim Cogan specializes in dreamy urban (SF) landscapes. Kenneth Baker observed  Cogan practices “realism with an abstract painter’s feel and taste for rich surface detail and color nuances.”  Through September 30.

Catharine Clark—Sandow Birk, American Qur’an.  Birk spent 2001-2004 studying the complexities of Catholicism and Christianity by translating Dante’s Divine Comedy into contemporary vernacular. That period corresponded to the growing preoccupation by Americans with Islam. After visiting four Islamic countries, Birk began work on an authentic English version of the Qur’an illustrated by hand in the manner of illuminated manuscript tradition with scenes from American life. Several dozen pages are on view, October 3 – 31.

Dark Day Picks

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Contemporary Art, Illustration, Liz Hager, Painting, Sculpture with tags , , , on August 31, 2009 by Liz Hager

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when most galleries and museums are traditionally closed. “Dark Day Picks” highlights current exhibitions, new installations, art world tidbits, and, as in the case today, books that have recently made an impression on us. Get a jump on a week filled with art.

Contemporary Jewish Museum—Maurice Sendak, There’s a Mystery There. Sept 8, 2009—Jan.19, 2010. What child does not fall in love with Sendak—the lovely relationship between mother and son in the Little Bears series (which Sendak illustrated), the gluttonous treat of the miniature Nutshell Library, and lucky Max, of Where the Wild Things Are, who went to his room without supper, but still managed a most exciting adventure? Sendak’s stories are universal and timeless, all the more rich from having been informed by the sadness and complexities of the Holocaust, the rich memories of his parent’s lives in Europe, and his own childhood experiences with his Jewish relatives.

Mulan

Thatcher Gallery, USF Wangxin Zhang—Detour (New Works). August 21-October 1. Perhaps best known for his life-size ceramic sculptures depicting modern day versions of Xian’s Terracotta Warriors, Zhang’s new work addresses current cultural and political topics relating to present-day China and US.

Triangle Gallery—Stephanie Peek: Uncertain Riches. Sept. 8—Oct. 17. Lush floral compositions, making use of the infinite pattern opportunities in nature.

Dark Day Picks

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Contemporary Art, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Painting with tags on August 24, 2009 by Liz Hager

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when most galleries and museums are traditionally closed. “Dark Day Picks” highlights current exhibitions, new installations, art world tidbits, and, as in the case today, books that have recently made an impression on us. Get a jump on a week filled with art.

schuh_non-per-growth-01

Cain Schulte, 714 Guerrero Street, SFOwen Schuh, The Conceit of Counting. Schuh builds the structure of his paintings by adding single drops of oil or acrylic paints until a pattern emerges.  Deeply interested in the relationship between nature and logic, the artist works toward a representation of nature using abstract concepts of math.

111 Minna Street Gallery, SF—Kelly Turnstall & Ferris Plock, Sea of LoveThe latest large-scale collaborative exhibition by San Francisco-based artists Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall explores relationships between sailors and mermaids, stories of lost love and misguided navigation, the diversity of creatures inhabiting the oceans and their individual roles as different vessels of possibility. Through August 29.

Donna Seager Gallery, 851 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA—Group Exhibition introducing Jylian Gustlin. These mostly figurative works underscore the artist’s pre-occupation with shapes and patterns. Through August 29th.

Dark Day Picks—James Elkins’ “What Painting Is”

Posted in Book Review, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Painting with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2009 by Liz Hager

By LIZ HAGER

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when most galleries and museums are traditionally closed. “Dark Day Picks” highlights current exhibitions, new installations, art world tidbits, and, as in the case today, books that have recently made an impression on us. Get a jump on a week filled with art.

Pollock—No 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) detail

Jackson Pollock, No I., 1950 (Lavender Mist), detail of lower left center
oil on canvas
(National Gallery of Art, Washington)

What is painting?

Typically, art historians answer that question with a litany of the who and what for facts of painting—the social, financial, and political forces that conspired to bring a work into being. After all, their job is to securely place a work within the (academically-assigned) progression of human endeavor. An art critic may add nuance to this discussion by dissecting the position of the work on the artist’s evolutionary arc or opine on the painting’s merit by comparing it in compositional terms to works by other artists.

Authors of painting manuals answer by showing us how to paint—they divulge the secrets of achieving different effects with the many painterly substances.

In his 1999 book What Painting Is, James Elkins takes a different approach. He explores the why of painting, every bit as fascinating and important as the what for and how. Elkins points acknowledges that painting is a metamorphic act, simply put, “the name for what happens when paint moves across a blank canvas.”  The book is his thesis on the experiential process of transforming basic material substances—once pulverized stone (pigment) and water (oil). In this regard, painters in their studios are very much like alchemists in their labs—they wrestle, coax, redo, and every so often miraculously succeed in converting their raw materials into something of transcendent beauty.

It may seem far-fetched to compare painting and alchemy, particularly in the post-Enlightenment world of chemistry:

Despite all its bad press, and its association with quackery and nonsense, alchemy is the best and most eloquent way to understand how paint can mean: how it can be so entrancing, so utterly addictive, so replete with expressive force, that it can keep hold of an artist’s attention for an entire lifetime. Alchemists had immediate, intuitive knowledge of waters and stones, and their obscure books can help give voice to the ongoing fascination of painting.  (p.7)

“The alchemical sisters,” from Johann Daniel Mylius, Philosophia reformata (1622), emblem 10.

A Professor of Art History at The School of the Chicago Art Institute who trained as a painter, Elkins does bring substantial authority to his central proposition: that the essence of a painting is in the visible and invisible processes that went into creating it. Using details from range of paintings—from Sasetta, Monet, Debuffet, Pollock, Rembrandt, Nolde, among others—Elkins discusses the similarity in the processes painters (and alchemists) go through to create their magic.

It’s a seductive comparison, which largely holds a reader’s interest, because most of the discussion on alchemy is kept within range of the uninitiated. Further, Elkins always returns to the discipline of painting, which is the more important topic of the two, afterall. That said, I found some of the alchemic discussions a bit obscure and a few of the analogies to painting slavishly concocted. The chapter on  “Moldy material prima” was brilliant, but my interest waned more than a few times in the chapter on “Coagulating, cohobating, macerating, reverberating.”

Still, the observations on painting are more often than not heady and inspirational. I suspect painters will nod vigorously in agreement. A long passage on Jackson Pollock winds up this way:

Thinking of the painting as a layered sequence, it may seem as if Pollock was actually working toward a kind of order, so that the painting would reveal its creation, step-by-step, to a careful investigator. But Pollock was desperately interested in avoiding the normal structure of drawing and painting. It is rarely possible to follow a stream of paint as it winds its way across the canvas (as museum docents often advise visitors to do). Whatever such a layer became too obvious, he obfuscated it, tangling it back into a pattern as if he were stitching a stray thread. Where marks threatened to become too clear, Pollock let a messy beige drip fall just on top of them, or he held the brush still while it spun a thread of paint, piling up like syrup on a pancake. . .

. . . It may be that what Pollock feared, and wanted most to destroy, was the long continuous contour that would imply a human figure. . .  (p.93)

Dubuffet—The Ceremonious One, detail, 1954Jean Dubuffet, The Ceremonious One (detail of left flank)
1954, oil on canvas

Near the end of the book, Elkins hones in exactly why painters are so addicted to paint:

Oil paint can’t be entrancing just because it can create an illusion, because every medium does that. No: painters love paint iteself, so much that they spend years trying to get paint to behave the way they want it to, rather than abandoning it and taking up pencil drawing, or charcoal, or watercolor, or photography. (though I might argue that watercolor is paint. . .)

It is no wonder that painters can be so entranced by paint. Substances occupy the mind profoundly, tethering moods to thoughts, tangling stray feelings with the movement of the body, engaging the full capacity of response and concentrating it on unpromising lumps of paint and color. There is no meaning that cannot seem to flow from the paint iteself. . .

These are the passages where Elkins nails it for me—a more accurate and eloquent description of the painting process I have yet to find.

Dark Day Picks

Posted in Female Artists, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Painting, Textiles, Words & Symbols with tags , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by Liz Hager

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when most galleries and museums are traditionally closed. “Dark Day Picks” highlights current exhibitions, new installations, books, or art world tidbits. Get a jump on a week filled with art.

Today, a round up of recent articles on fakes.

Nina Kogan (attributed to) Constructivist Composition

ArtNews—The Faking of the Russian Avant Garde. “A six-month ARTnews investigation and interviews with scholars, dealers, and other sources in the United States, Russia, Germany, France, and Spain reveals that the number of Russian avant-garde fakes on the market is so high that they far outnumber the authentic works.”

Financial Times—Chinese counterfeit carpets stain the market. How the Uigher/Han conflict in Xinxiang and Chinese knock-offs of Central Asian carpets are tied together. “We had no idea our decision to block the Chinese [would] be so welcomed by top-of-the-line carpet buyers,” says a Pakistani government official involved in monitoring Chinese traders. “They are glad the Chinese are not coming.”

And farther reaching, this thought-provoking series:

Dan Mooney for Errol Morris, The Girl with Two Pearl Earrings

Errol Morris in The New York Times—Bamboozling Ourselves. Why we want to believe in fakes, forgeries, and imaginary returns.

Dark Day Picks

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Painting, Printmaking, Words & Symbols with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2009 by Liz Hager

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when most galleries and museums are traditionally closed. Every Monday we highlight a few current exhibitions, new installations, or art world tidbits. Get a jump on planning a week filled with art.

©Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times

New York Times—Michael Kimmelman: At Louvre, Many Stop to Snap but Few Stay to Focus. Which of us isn’t guilty of this behavior on some level?

Caldwell/Snyder, 341 Sutter Street, SF—Guillermo Pacheco, Alejandro Santiago, Jose Villalobos. Three contemporary painters from Oaxaca inspired by the unique colors and traditions of this Mexican state. August 6-31

Andrea Schwartz Gallery, 525 2nd Street—WORD Cara Barer, Patrick Dintino, Mitch Jones, Sofia Harrison, Wendy Robushi, Samuel Messer, and others. Text and images, curated by Danielle Steel. August 5-29

Crown Point Press, 24 Hawthorne Lane, SF—Group Show (including Shoichi Ida, left) and Chris Ofili. Both until August 29.

Dark Day Picks

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Public Art, Sculpture with tags , , , , on July 27, 2009 by Liz Hager

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when most galleries and museums are traditionally closed. Every Monday we highlight a few current exhibitions, new installations, or art world tidbits. Get a jump on a week filled with art.

The public arts project Hearts in San Francisco was created in 2004 as a fundraiser for San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. Based on the song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” in its first year project included 130 artists. The 5 foot-tall fiberglass base hearts were on view all over the Bay Area for many months, before they went off to their owners. Some have remained in public spaces. Every year since, various artists have created more hearts for auction.  A selection of previous hearts on permanent display, as well as new hearts on temporary display, appear below.

Michael Osborne

420 Montgomery St. SF—Heart by Michael Osborne. Special coins applied to the surface commemorate the Gold Rus and Wells Fargo’s 150 years in San Francisco. Permanent display.

Yerba Buena Gardens, SF—Heart by ExactMosaics. The Painted Ladies design on the front of this heart took over 500 man hours to complete. Permanent display.

Huntington Park, California Street between Taylor and Mason—Heart by Jeanine Briggs. Through the interweaving of salvaged fireplace curtains and wire rope and the shadows they cast on the smooth, shiny surface, evokes the webs of memories and relationships that define us. Through September.

Rebecca fox

Mission Creek Park—Heart by Rebecca Fox. Fox chose the interlocking heart design; it shows off her particular style of metal welding well. Through September.

Wider Connections

Donna Cleveland hearts images

More about Hearts in SF

Other heart locations

Dark Day Picks

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Contemporary Art, Drawing, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Mixed Media, Painting, Photography, Sculpture with tags , , on July 20, 2009 by Liz Hager

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when most galleries and museums are traditionally closed. Every Monday we highlight three current exhibitions, new installations, or art world tidbits. Get a jump on a week filled with art.

sculpturesite gallery, 201 Third Street, SF—Mark Chatterley: Beings, Clay Musings on the Human Condition. June 25-August 29. Chatterley’s contemporary sculptures channel elements of the Bronze Age figurative tradition.

Togonon Gallery, 77 Geary St., SF—Ted Lincoln: Plural Notions. Through August 2.  Lincoln’s paintings on rice paper explore contemporary themes utilizing ancient Chinese ink techniques coupled with modern and technology-based materials, including aluminum paneling and aircraft epoxy.

Oakland MuseumThe African Presence in México (1521-1810). A little-known history of African slaves in México, as seen through the visual arts.

Dark Day Picks

Posted in Bay Area Art Scene, Contemporary Art, Female Artists, Fine & Decorative Arts, Liz Hager, Public Art, Sculpture with tags , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by Liz Hager

On Mondays Venetian Red celebrates the day of the week when galleries and museums are closed. Every Monday we highlight a few current exhibitions, new installations, or art world tidbits. Get a jump on a week filled with art.

This week, VR offers  3 San Francisco FAVs (Free Art Viewings), works of art on public view. For others, see VR post on George Rickey.

Henry Moore, Large Four Piece Reclining Figure, 1973, cast bronze.
Location: Davies Hall.

Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn, The Language of Birds, 2009 illuminated books. Recently selected as one of the country’s best public artworks.
Location: Broadway & Columbus Avenues.

Amy Blackstone, Fire, Air, Earth and Water, steel cutout columns and illumination.
Location: Helen Wills Playground, Broadway at Larkin Street.

%d bloggers like this: