Archive for October, 2008

IN FRONT OF THE CULTURE TRAIN

Posted by erin on October 24th, 2008

Gustavo Martinez’ BFA Exhibition at San Jose State
By Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

In the tradition of ceramic sculpture at San Jose State, Gustavo Martinez presents a challenging installation as his BFA thesis exhibition. His show in Herbert Sanders Gallery, is autobiographical at the same time that it references cultures of Meso-America.

Gustavo Martinez, right, with Father in Herbert Sanders Gallery

Last Winter, Martinez, born in Guadalajara, traveled extensively, through Mexico, and on to Central America. He experienced the history and geography of his anthropology studies first hand. He seems to have been further energized to talk about the Mexican American experience in the materials and forms of the ancient cultures.

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THE LUXURY OF GUESSING

Posted by erin on October 23rd, 2008

ANDREA BORSUK AT MICHELANGELO GALLERY, SANTA CRUZ
By Hanna Hannah

Heaven and Earth II, oil on wood panel, 24×48″, 2006, by Andrea Borsuk

Walking into the Michelangelo Gallery to view Andrea Borsuk’s current show of paintings is like walking into a bazaar during a storm. The variously tenebrous winds set in motion the tinkling and jangling of an improbable display of jewelry and artifacts; we are temporarily distracted by the bountiful arrays and all the time anxiously aware of the dark rumblings outside. And as at a bazaar, the various paintings, like clamoring vendors, proclaim themselves with equal zeal in the high-pitched color palettes of, for example, European Rococo sugariness, Latino exuberance, East Indian spirituality, etc. It is impossible to decide which painting to “buy from”: each is more enticing than the next with a mix of gaudy gorgeousness and kitschy hilarity. Borsuk’s handling of paint and articulation of imagery is as eclectic and far-ranging as the images she constructs. . In these works, strings of pearls and a variety of delicate chains function as funiculi strung at dizzying heights over a variety of highly romanticized bravura landscapes while bearing a plethoric cargo of charms and baubles imprinted with a seemingly encyclopedic range of icons from diverse cultures and civilizations. Equally adept in the languages of Abstract Expressionism and the sleights-of-hand of European mimesis, Borsuk performs her paintings deftly like someone who revels in the perplexities, provocations, and paradoxes of her legacy as a painter.

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A GREAT FIGURE of BAY AREA ART HISTORY

Posted by erin on October 22nd, 2008

Paul Wonner at The Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz
By Chris Hofer Borrer

One of the jewels of the Bay Area art scene is The Museum of Art & History @ the McPherson Center in Santa Cruz. Their current Paul Wonner exhibit is excellent and not to be missed.

Paul Wonner was born in 1920 in Tucson and arrived in California in the 1930s to study painting at the College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. After obtaining a BA and completing military service, he went to New York and studied with Robert Motherwell at Studio 35 and the Art Students League. He returned to UC Berkeley and got graduate degrees in both art and library sciences. He taught at various universities in California and Hawaii in the 1960s and 70s, then returned to San Francisco where he spent the remainder of his life.

Paul Wonner’s Green Cloth, Orange Juice, Magnifying Glass, 2000

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BEVERLY RAYNER at Braunstein/Quay

Posted by erin on October 22nd, 2008

STATE OF WORRY by Sheila Pickett
Exhibition runs October 9 to November 8

Beverly Rayner’s new work at Braunstein/Quay Gallery, in San Francisco, continues to consider the psychological state of humans. This work thematically visits the state of worry in a world under constant surveillance. Opening the day after the recent 936 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average lent a strange poignancy to the work. Rayner, however is not concerned with the stock market or the mundane, but rather that general malaise or unease characteristic of contemporary existence. And as always, she knows how to delight the imagination.

Rayner’s past work has concerned itself with memory, regret, retinal memory, beliefs, loss, symbols, etc, the accumulations of living. In totality, the accumulation describes man’s existential condition. An old medicine chest, rusty wire, old photographs of faces, clouds, beaches, and water are examples of materials and imagery used to bring a state of being to mind. These materials are the detritus of living.

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MYSTERIES OF THE FEMININE STILL TANTALIZE

Posted by erin on October 9th, 2008

Niniane Kelley at San Jose State’s Gallery 8
By Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

In her BFA thesis exhibition, Niniane Kelley’s gum bichromate prints enchant. This is a one-week show that merits a much longer look, as there are so many tender aesthetic discoveries to be made in her pairings of two delicate images. In each case the female model, mostly nude, is posed and juxtaposed so that body posture, or hands, arms or legs in some subtle way mimic and speak to the second image of a flower or other plant form.

Niniane Kelley uses the back of her own head for this juxtaposition with a palm.

There is nostalgia for a more innocent time in the way Kelley develops and presents her prints. Eschewing crisp contrasts or stark blacks and whites, she looks between the absolutes and extols the mysteries of creation, fertility and renewal within the soft greys of her lamp black pigment. The images never exploit, are always respectful.

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PARADISE AND OTHER HABITATS

Posted by erin on October 8th, 2008

MIRIAM HITCHCOCK AT BUCHEON GALLERY

By Hanna Hannah

Miriam Hitchcock’s current work on exhibition at Bucheon Gallery (389 Grove Street, SF, through Oct. 11th) immerses the viewer in the myriad and inextricably meshed layers of both her private and cultural biographies.

Hitchcock works on supports made of a light, translucent paper material that seems to have been processed—or, rather, drowned—in some liquid medium; the surface, once dry again, has become richly eventful with topographical incidence. Hitchcock then seems to inflect, rather than strategically impose, her visual findings, almost as if the paper itself had served as a vast osmotic membrane or fishing net that allows her to bring to the surface the visual bits, pieces, personae, and passages of her life as they bifurcate with more communal cultural legacies. Her “catch” reveals mostly minor shards and evocative stains, as well as primally articulated figures that in their facture bear the traces of painting legacies from the cave age to the present. These emerge from the creases of the surface like isolated notes suspended over a deceptively symphonic emptiness: those visual incidents that do surface only hint at a density that informs them from below.

Miriam Hitchock’s Woman on the Shore, 2008, gouache, ink, acrylic and gesso on “constructed” paper

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BACK, AND BETTER THAN EVER

Posted by erin on October 3rd, 2008

Ken Matsumoto, Sculptor, Reopens Art Object Gallery
By Neila Mezynski

If Friday night‚Äôs reopening of Art Object Gallery is any indicator, I think it‚Äôs safe to say that Ken Matsumoto is back in business! Due to the swift and conscientious efforts of the San Jose Fire Dept fending off a fire next door to Matsumoto‚Äôs property nearly 1 year ago, the gallery is back on track. ‚ÄúNo harm came to any of the artwork‚Äù. Matsumoto states ,‚ÄùIt would have been years and years of work destroyed‚Äù; his own and the gallery artists’. The walls almost did come tumbling down. It’s luck the truss and rafter tail held. Soot and debris were everywhere due to the tearing down of gallery walls, procedures of the firemen , etc., and general fallout . Then the huge efforts of cleanup and rebuilding the gallery and studios ensued. Matsumoto has had the generous support of friends and the community of Japantown for those labors.

At the entrance to Art Object Gallery/Studio, sculptor Ken Matsumoto’s raw materials stand guard.

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