Saturday, May 30, 2009

SFMOMA and Robert Frank

The Americans is just that: images of Americans, most Americans, what it really is to be an American. Great images of the diversions Americans seek as relief from the reality of what it takes to survive in a land so vast, so demanding. Relief from the pressure of living up to an ideology that is of such a thinly woven social fabric as to be so delicate and indeed near impossible to maintain. Images of working people, the struggle behind a facade of glamor and wealth.

It is the working class that represents the majority of Americans. Robert Frank's The Americans shatters the myth of the middle class. It did this in 1959 to the dismay of most critics and many among the country's population who believed themselves to be firmly rooted in the increasingly powerful illusion of the middle class.

Jack Kerouac wrote the introduction to Frank's book. In it Kerouac included an excerpt from his own book Visions of Cody. That passage is a summary description of his earlier and best known book, On the Road. Kerouac's On the Road and Frank's The Americans are perfect companions, creating the truest "vision" of America ever published. The two works embody the dreams and struggles of most Americans. Both are great stories of travel measured in "toothpick time." And that is the story of America.

Looking In: Robert Frank's "The Americans" at SFMOMA through August 23, 2009

Photo: ©Robert Frank, courtesy of

Friday, May 29, 2009

Folk art, naive art, outsider art: A 440 Gallery

The little gallery tucked into the corner of the hallway at 49 Geary has gone through several owners in the last several years. But all of the galleries have displayed fascinating art and the current incarnation is no exception. The owner, William Lathanm, is displaying two artists who straddle that perplexing area that is commonly tagged as folk art, but in this case is really outsider art, although coming from visionary and religious traditions in the African American community.

Definitions of art, as Eugene W Metcalf points out in his article, “Black Art, Folk Art and Social Control, “ are highly political. This is especially true for the African-American community whose humanity was so long denied by the wider white culture. Art has been seen as a product that represents what is valued in society, so, for previous generations of African-American artists, to be thought of as cultured meant adopting the prevailing style of European culture. Folk art was seen as primitive, barbaric and uncivilized and that standard was applied to all people who created art that didn’t fit the mainstream – whether that art was quilts from Appalachia, pottery, ironwork – anything outside the recognized forms of Academic Eurocentric painting and sculpture. As art historians have been discovering, African-American (and other people of color) had their own vibrant living artistic traditions but while the art was beautiful, it was made for utilitarian purposes and, until recently, not classified as "art." However, this makes the issue more complex for folk art, naive art and outsider art can’t be solely classified by aesthetic terms and taken out of historical context.

Both Leon Kennedy and John Abduljaami are African-American, part of the community but not folk artists. They are not formally trained, work outside the academic tradition and take little or no interest in producing art for galleries and museums. What they make has no utilitarian value. But their works are powerful and intensely personal and can't be pigeonholed into outmoded categories. Both men have potent visions of the world, as it should be, rather than as it is. Listen to their voices. Go look at their art. However you define it, it's something quite special.

A440 Gallery, 49 Geary, San Francisco, Ca

Eugene Metcalf. Black Art, Folk Art, and Social Control. Winterthur Portfolio, 1983
Sharon F. Patton, African American Art, Oxford, 1989

Leon Kennedy at A440 Gallery

John Abduljaami at A440 Gallery

In a West Oakland lot at 2205 Magnolia, just off West Grand, sculpture artist John Abduljaami lets the wood be his guide. He's there almost every day working from 9am to 5pm. Sometimes he sees a bird. Other times it's a dog, a cowboy on horseback, a rat or a walrus. "Then I start drawing with the chainsaw," Abduljaami told Spark in an interview.

at A440 Gallery, 49 Geary

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"Spring Lupine" by Carl Sammons - pastel, circa 1920's

I finally wandered over to see this show. I admit that the title put me off: "California Impressionist Landscapes...." To my perhaps jaded eye this conjures up a modern genre of not very interesting paintings that tend to lack good differentiation of space, mediocre handling of light, and seemingly random color decisions. But the images on the museum website had good compositions, the colors glowed, and we have company visiting, so let's go....
Wow. I'm so glad we did.
Stylistically I'd say Sammons is as much a post-Impressionist as an Impressionist (his hills of California are rendered with muscular planes of color that call to mind Cezanne). What totally knocked me out were his pastels. He apparently worked in this medium for many years before turning to oil paint, and his mastery is evident whether capturing wildflower covered hills, crashing waves on rocks, or stark desert scenes.
"East of Capetown, Humboldt County" by Carl Sammons - oil, circa 1925
When Sammons turned to oils, his facility with composition and handling of light and shadow were already in place. He continued to paint according to his vision as the art world changed around him.
Miniaturists take note: the exhibition includes several remarkably rendered landscapes approximately 3" x 2".
An interesting part of his life noted in the show is that he was one of the first landscape artists to make good use of a car to travel around during the 1920s and 1930s doing plein air work, making extensive trips around the west that were documented in Oakland newspapers and other contemporaneous accounts.
The show is from a collection owned by his niece, and includes ephemera such as his travel easel and some half finished work. It will be up through June 28th. Highly recommended if you have a chance to get 2 hours up 101 from San Francisco.

Monday, May 25, 2009

MFA and Morandi

When I wander through these shows, I always wonder where the students will be in 10, 15 years. What sort of market is there for huge installations like the one put up by Suzanne Kehr or John Melvin? I’m not a fan of installation or conceptual art but I respected their efforts while finding them big big, shiny and ..well, big and shiny. That always speak to me of “doing the MFA” thing to impress your peers and your teachers. But everybody has to follow his or her own muse and the SFAI is famous for letting students do just that.

The paintings were more interesting – I particularly liked Randall Miller’s Tooker-like figures of middle-aged men in a clumsy embrace and Minervini’s neon-pink and candy colored palate paired with strong geometric forms.

JD Beltran did a more thoughtful (and appreciative) job of covering the show:

After that visual noise, it was a pleasure to ‘escape” to the Italian Cultural Center where they are currently hosting a small show of Morandi drawings from the Estorick Collection.

Although still little known outside a small circle of admirers, Giorgio Morandi is one of the most admired Italian painters of the 20th century. He lived in Bologna all his life and mainly worked in a tiny room containing a bed, writing desk, drawing table and bookcase. He rejected the size, bluster, novelty and often fatuous taste of contemporary art, preferring to focus on contemplative paintings of humble objects such as vases, bottles, jugs and boxes. Painting with a subtle and muted palate, Morandi infused these ordinary articles with an inner light, the simplicity that the Japanese equate with Wabi-Sabi.

“It takes me weeks to make up my mind which group of bottles will go well with a particular colored tablecloth. Then it takes me weeks of thinking about the bottles themselves, and yet often I still go wrong with the spaces. Perhaps I work too fast?”

Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco
425 Washington Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, California 94111 - USA
Tel. (415) 788 7142 | Fax.(415) 788-6389
Thursday, May 07, 2009 - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All proceeds from the sale of the Morandi catalogues and other IIC events in the month of May will be donated to the victims of the earthquake in Abruzzo.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tribute to the SFAI at Togonon Gallery

I was utterly delighted to see Julius Hatofsky's work up at Togonon Gallery. He was one of my teachers at SFAI and the one that I remember the most fondly. The show at Togonon gallery is celebrating a decade or more of the SFAI and featuring many wonderful artists that don't get a lot of play.
Of course, I love Hatofsky's rich and expressive abstracts but other artists include Deborah Remington, Peter Foraks and Leo Valledor among others. The show is timed to coincide with the San Francisco Decorator Showcase exhibition entitled the "History of the San Francisco Art Institute." It will only be up through May 25, 2009 while the current show at Togonon Gallery closes at the end of the month. This show will be followed by a photography show, featuring David Johnson and Jack Fulton, both with ties to the SFAI.

Togonon Gallery - through May 30th.
77 Geary Street, 2nd Floor

Thursday, May 21, 2009

RIP: David Ireland

David Ireland, a Bay Area sculptor and conceptual artist of national reputation, died of pneumonia Sunday after suffering for several years from dementia. He was 78.

"You can’t make art by making art" has been a guiding principle in the work of David Ireland, one of California's most important and critically acclaimed artists working in the challenging arena of conceptual and installation art. "Ideally my work has a visual presence that makes it seem like part of a usual, everyday situation," he says. "I like the feeling that nothing's been designed, that you can't tell where the art stops and starts."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yisrael Feldsott paintings
at Paul Mahder Gallery

The paintings of Yisrael Feldsott are fascinating because they present a dilemma: Are they whimsical, serious or disturbing? At first glance, his Soldier above might be a movie poster depicting Inspector Clouseau being drafted. Looking closer, the shell shocked blank eyes dismiss any thought of humor, and the running paint might represent blood.
After success as an artist in the Bay Area in the 1970’s, Feldsott spent time in South America as an activist involved with endangered cultures and ecologies. That influence shows in Fire on the Mountain above, and Wolf Spirits below.
Feldsott’s paintings are part of a group show at Paul Mahder Gallery, featuring ten artists and their paintings, watercolors, statues, drawings, along with digital creations and photography.

Opening reception at Paul Mahder Gallery
is Thursday, May 21, 2009, 6 - 9pm.
The exhibit will be on display through July 19, 2009.

by Phil Gravitt

Enrique Chagoya at Electric Works

Born in Mexico City and raised in California, Enrique Chagoya can claim, with accuracy to be a product of both cultures. He attended the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. There he worked on several rural development projects, which formed his interest in political and social activism. Later he immigrated to the United States and attended the San Francisco Art Institute, earned his MA and MFA at UC Berkeley and is now a professor at Stanford.

His most successful work is his postmodernist take on the Mesoamerican codex. His narrative drawings, in a horizontal, scroll-like, format are sometimes done on paper that recreates Native American bark paper. He combines images from Ancient Mesoamerica, Central American folk art, surrealism and American pop culture including cartoons and comic books to celebrate Mexican folk ways while criticizing contemporary American culture. George Bush and minions are fair game; Western imperialism is eviscerated. In this, his work reminds me of another artist, Matsuma Teroka, who combined traditional Japanese woodblock prints with diverse images from contemporary American culture to create work that also makes a critical commentary on certain aspects of 20th century life. In Teroka's work, McDonald's meets Hirosage and you will never look at either the same again. Chagoya's graphic drawings are cruder than Teroka's but just as effective.
Chagoya portrays the collusion between European and Native peoples in a complex, multi-layered, non-linear format. He criticizes the culture of contemporary America in the most caustic and derogatory way but is most successful when he lets go and lets the images speak for themselves, rather than forcing them into rigidly political statements. He is ambivalent about American culture while using its diversity in provocative and humorous ways. Given the rich tradition of Mexican political posters that his work evokes, it's a shame that he doesn't turn an equally critical eye on the corrupt governments of South and Central America and their harsh and brutal treatment of their own people.

The pieces at Electric Works are somewhat different in focus and scale. For this show, they commissioned eight fully functional slot machines, the latest release in their large-scale multiple series.

The theme of this work is 2012, the end-year of the ancient Mayan 5125 year calendar,
a time of great portent. Replete with his unique imagery, subjects in the machine's graphics include materialism's discontent, environmental catastrophe and, possibly, the end of the world as we know it.

Electric Works: 130 8th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Open: Monday-Friday 11 AM – 6 PM, Saturday 11 AM – 5 PM
Opening night photos up at SF Mike’s blog:
Profile on Spark:

Friday, May 15, 2009

New blog for the Asian

The clever and hardworking Tom Christensen of Right Reading has done it again. The blog is full of fun pieces and teasers for upcoming shows like the upcoming show: Lords of the Samurai which opens June 12th.For more than six hundred years, Japan’s government depended on a warrior class known as the samurai. As a result of the prowess and loyalty of these fighting men, the highest political authority belonged to the shogun, their ultimate leader. The shogun wielded immense power despite expressing deference to the emperor, who was recognized as the head of the country. Samurai means “one who serves,” and these men served powerful feudal lords known as daimyo, who governed regional domains throughout Japan. It was by balancing these lords of the samurai against each other that the shogun retained power.In a warrior culture, even the dogs wear armor -no cuddling these iron covered little bodies!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sisters Uptown and Sisters Midtown!

Femina Potens and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts are different venues, showing different kinds of art, sometimes experimental, sometimes challenging, sometimes just plain fun. Art is subjective. It can be challenging. Sometimes it is about process; sometimes it is about the end result. Sometimes it’s about poking fun at institutions. Sometimes it’s about saying out loud what is not considered “right to say” in “polite company.” The women who run Femina Potens and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence take risks, create fun, raise consciousness and continue San Francisco’s tradition of the “city that knows how.”

In the Castro, Femina Potens is hosting: A Touch of Pleasure

Step through the doors at Femina Potens Art Gallery to experience a wonderland of art works and installations including objects d'art from the early days of "Bound for Pleasure" to more curent films and paintings of women's sexuality. Femina Potens is a progressive art space, dedicated to showcasing queer, women, trans, and kink artists - both in the work that they show, as well as the events that they host and produce. This small DIY art gallery -- run mostly from volunteers and a whole lot of TLC -- succeeds where many art spaces in SF fall short.

May 2 to 31, gallery hours Thursday to Sunday noon - 6:00 pm.
2199 Market St, SF.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are moving uptown.

YBCA is proud to the feature Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in the Room for Big Ideas as we explore the Big Idea, Ritual and Redemption.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc. have been employing satire and high drama to shed light on serious issues since 1979. From a humble beginning in the Castro, America's first order of 21st century nuns formed to improve the socio-cultural, spiritual, educational, and artistic experiences of the communities in which members live, work, and have creative interactions. Each individual Sister is artist and subject, priestess and counselor, nurturer and provocateur in the human quest for a joyful life.

We are blessed to be able to share our vast archives with the public as part of Ritual and Redemption. From the Rosary In A Time Of Nuclear Peril to the exorcism of Pope John Paul II to the taking of our vows and painting of our white face, Sisters have been creating rituals, blessings, art, literature, and general debauchery designed to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt for the past 30 years.
Saturday, May 16

And for the really off-beat, bizarre, mind-bending stuff, out of this world art (or something that wants to be the in the vicinity of..) check out the MFA show at CCAC. JD Beltran at SF Gate (one of my new favorite art bloggers) has a good review and photos here:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Humans at SFMOMA

Reposted from Working Artist's Journal:


Last night UC Berkeley philosopher Judith Butler read three short lectures/essays on speech, sexuality, love, and politics. She was participating in a collaborative performance/installation work at SFMOMA, by Mika Tajima, Charles Atlas and others, of New Humans.

I had no idea what to expect, going in. I was invited to accompany a friend and was under the vague (wrong) impression that it was some kind of visual art opening.

SFMOMA was closed and dark, but a secret handshake got us in the the door (just kidding.) That room just off the lobby where they usually have bands & food during member openings? (The Schwab Room.) It was buzzing - literally. It was loaded with electronics and there was a pervasive droning sound, alternating with static. I think it was coming from speakers in the ceiling, but I'm not sure. The room was crammed with people but they were as quiet and respectful as students at a zen center.

The audience stood (and eventually sat on the floor) around the perimeter of an area that was scattered with props, lights, and screens. There were three "acts" and between acts, people would move all the props around. Each act was filmed by a big camera on a track, plus a shoulder video cam, and multiple still cameras. While Ms. Butler spoke, digital morphs of the scene played on the props around her.

The Phyllis Wattis Theater (same floor, behind the stairs) was showing a live feed of the scene and the audience was encouraged to go back and forth between the areas. I watched the first two acts in the flesh and saw the last one in the theater.

I enjoyed Ms. Butler's lectures tremendously - they were stimulating, thought provoking, and I even felt compelled to take notes. As for the rest of it - it was interesting, from a never-seen-this-before standpoint, and because something was changing every second. But afterwards, I could not figure out what all the scene-shuffling and fancy light-show effects had to do with the issues being addressed in the lectures. They didn't detract from the lectures, but they didn't seem to add anything either. I suppose I'm going at this all wrong. I'm guessing that Ms. Butler and her lectures were not intended to be the point of this installation, but just another sound/visual effect. So, I look forward to hearing from someone else who was there, someone who can explain to me what I missed.

More photos on my Flickr site

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland

Joyce Gordon Gallery

Yesterday I visited the Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland. The main show drew me in, but there were many unexpected pleasures here .

The main room is a solo show of work by Stanley C. Wilson, a Los Angeles artist. The work was mostly on paper, bright primary colors & black, simple graphic forms and symbols. There were also several installations (or altars) composed of wooden houses and other objects, surrounded by low wooden fences.

Joyce Gordon Gallery

At the back of the gallery, a small side room holds painted ceramic sculptures by Michael Chukes, of Altadena, CA. Based on the human form and vibrantly painted, they have an emotional influence on the room, even though they're in a dark corner.

Joyce Gordon Gallery

Joyce Gordon Gallery

The big surprise of the visit, for me, was the Jacob Lawrence and Elizabeth Catlett prints - all great pieces.

Downstairs, a photography show was being readied for Friday's opening, but Ms. Gordon let me have look. The photographers were from San Jose State and the work was mostly images of people attending and/or participating in Barack Obama's campaign.

Ms. Gordon is very friendly and approachable - a good gallery to visit if you're near the 12th Street BART station in Oakland, or even if you're not.

Joyce Gordon Gallery
406 14th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ellsworth Kelly

Hot off the press - Elsworth Kelly will be interviewed at SF Moma tomorrow. If you get a question in to their blog by Wednesday (today), there's a chance he will answer it!

Where are the women x ??

SF’s very own art critic has done it again – opened mouth, inserted foot. In a recent column he listed a number of Bay Area Artists that he feels were not appreciated in life. Look at the list – do you see any women there? Furthermore, except for Carleton Watkins and Selden Gile, you could justifiably argue that all of these artists were (and are) appreciated in their lifetimes, have gallery representation, fetch high prices at auction and are in the history books.

Carleton Watkins (1829-1916)
Selden Gile (1877-1947
Sargent Johnson (1888-1967
Ansel Adams (1902-1982)
David Park (1911-1960)
Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920)
Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993)
Robert Arneson (1930-1992).
David Ireland (b. 1930).
Bruce Conner (1933-2008)
Imogene Cunningham

But if you limit yourself to this list, you’d never know that the Bay Area also produced a lot of women artists who have yet to receive their due. Even Jerry Saltz (in 2007!) knew enough to point out how underrepresented women were at MOMA. Yet here we are in 2009 and our resident art critic can't even rake up a few women's names for his list. Oh well, maybe it was a slow day at the Chronicle. Nevertheless...
Bernice Bing

N'Ima Leveton

One articulate response to this slanted view of art history came via JE Beltran’s column at SF Gate from SFAI’s curator and art historian Terri Cohn:

How does one define "underappreciated"? Ansel Adams hardly seems to qualify in this respect, as he is a household name in much of the world, and his talent was well recognized during his life. Ironically, most of the Bay Area artists who have been "underappreciated" in the Bay Area--including those Mr. Baker did not mention--have gotten some or a great deal of recognition elsewhere in the US, as well as in Europe and Asia. I guess

Joan Brown, Viola Frey, Jan DeFeo, Bernice Bing, Ruth Asawa, Imogen Cunningham, Jo Hanson, Imogene Cunningham, Ruth Bernhard (all deceased except Ruth Asawa, who is in her eighties), and so many others, don't qualify as either underappreciated or successful enough to make Baker's list.

It is just unconscionable in 2009 to publish such an article, that reinforces--with pictures!!--the status quo. Another missed opportunity. We're still waiting for those acknowledgments to be made--by the Chronicle's main art critic, no less--of artists of all sexes, duly noted for their accomplishments.

Or how about Ann Adair, Maxine Albro, Ruth Armer, Sue Bitney, Dianne Blell, Marianne Boers, Helen Bregner, Mary Fuller MCChesney, Alyceann McCaffrey, Edna Stoddart... Ever heard of any of them? In Guys and Dolls, the character played by Brando sings "Luck be a lady tonight" when he goes to roll the dice. I guess if you are a woman, the roll of the dice will seldom bring you the lucky seven.

I'd like to add my late teacher and friend N'Ima Leveton to the list. She lived and worked in SF for many years before moving to Mendocino. She was a student of Hans Hoffman, a life-long artist who communicated her passion for art to a generation of students. Yet, she is only remembered by those of us who knew and loved her. Does this make her less of an artist because she's not in the history books - and probably will never be? How many women fall into the same category? And how long is it going to take before the situation changes?

Monday, May 4, 2009

George Krevsky Gallery
12th Annual Art of Baseball Exhibition

The annual Art of Baseball exhibit at George Krevsky Gallery, opening May 9 and running through June 20, is one of my favorite shows. As I go to only one Giants game a year, I enjoy the show mostly for the range of artists and styles rather than the subject.

The theme of the exhibit this year is “Everything that is old is new again.” The show offers history and quality, from paintings to collage, mixed media and sculpture, with a few sprinkles of kitsch. I usually find one or two pieces that look simple and quick, as if the artist just wanted to get something into the exhibit. Most appear to have been labored on for many hours and days, the artist searching for just the right look, light, and feel of that moment in a baseball game. With twenty five artists from around the country and forty five pieces, it is a show to see for baseball fans as well those interested in history and varied art styles.

One of my favorites from the earliest shows is the work of local artist Charles Hobson. Hobson created a fold out art book titled, "Leonardo Knows Baseball," published by Chronicle Books, where he paired his monotypes depicting baseball players and umpires in mid action with Da Vinci's observations about the human figure.

Hobson, who studied history as well as art, has other art books such as "Parisian Encounters," where he overlays monotypes of famous Parisians with hand written letters from their lovers, intertwined with maps of where they lived and met. Like baseball players, they used secret signals to communicate. And sooner or later, many had to steal home.

by Phil Gravitt

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"The Botany of Nests"

Western Tanager, Piranga ludoviciana, Western Foundation of Vertebrae Zoology

Every time I visit Strybing Arboretum I stop at the Helen Crocker Russell Library to see what is hanging. I love the show up right now, photos of bird nests by Sharon Beals.

The prints are fascinating. I particularly liked the Golden Masked Tanager who’s nest is in a wild honeycomb, the House Sparrow who’s nest is made of yarn and other things foraged from a backyard, and the House Wren’s abandoned nest with chicks (which are now just skeletons).

The detail and clarity of the prints is astounding. They are printed larger than life and engage the viewer with the subject.

The show is on exhibit until June 30, 2009.

New Show at SF Center for the Book

I think that writing and illustrating children’s books has to be one of the hardest things to do. You need to draw, as it were, from within a child’s mind and to be in touch with things as children see them. But you also have to be a good enough enough of an artist to capture the child's interest and stimulate his imagination. But when the books are done right – as these artists demonstrate – the result is enchanting and insightful.

David Macaulay has written some of my favorite history books with their layered pages of illustratin of life in "ye olden times." I never get too old to appreciate his “behind the scenes” books on how things work. As an artist, I particularly appreciate this comment from his speech when accepting the Caldecott Award in 1991:

“I honestly think all of us would be better off if everyone took the time to draw, if for no other reason than the better we see, the more inevitable curiosity becomes.”

Chris Raschka has said, "I always try to treat the book itself as the artwork. I don't want you to stop while you're reading one of my books and say, 'Oh! What a gorgeous illustration!' I want you to stop at the end of the book and say, 'This is a good book. "

I’m sorry to say that I don’t always follow his advice. I found myself stopping to look at the pretty pictures and thinking that this art work – overlooked in the mainstream art scene – is a lot better than what I often see on gallery walls.

The artists describe their creative process
links to various artists web sites:

Opening reception: May 1st
Showing through- Fri Aug 07
San Francisco Center for the Book: 300 De Haro St.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tromp l'oeil, Realism and Fantasy

(image is graphite drawing by Tara Tucker, via the artist's blog)

Made a visit to the galleries at 77 Geary yesterday, with my friend Sherry Miller. She wanted to see the Richard Linder show at George Krevsky, and I think I'll let her tell you about that.

Tara Tucker's drawings are next door, at the Rena Bransten Gallery. Great stuff - big, careful, funny, detailed, narrative, graphite drawings of odd animals in odd interactions. Realistic, bordering on surreal, obviously imagined (not photo-based.) Exquisite, confident lines with zero smudging or erasures. More of her drawings at the Rena Bransten site and the artist's blog. Tucker currently lives in Berkeley and is an art instructor at Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, Ca.
("Rock Wall" by William Powhida, via Marx and Zavattero gallery)

Marx and Zavattero gallery has a group show of work about music and fashion. My favorite piece was William Powhida's "Rock Wall." It's almost a tromp l'oeil of an artist's bulletin board. One of the memos in the center of the board says: "All assistants are FREE ie FIRED. As of Monday the art studio will now be a recording studio for my BAND. . . .Call me if the market recovers."

Perfect timing, because the Adler Gallery, at the end of the hall, was showing Anthony Mastromatteo's classic, photorealist paintings of comic strips taped to a board. Very reminiscent of William Harnett. They also had quite a few of E. Dale Erickson's paintings leaning against the walls around the gallery.

It was an unexpected pleasure to see all these works in the same general space. Most will be there until May 16th.