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DAVID BAKER, David Baker + Partners Architects, San Francisco
MARTIN FINIO, Christoff:Finio Architecture, New York
SOU FUJIMOTO, Sou Fujimoto Architects, Tokyo
JAMES GWISE, James Gwise Architect, PC, Albany
JIM JENNINGS, Jim Jennings Architecture, San Francisco
WILLIAM LEDDY, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, San Francisco
D. BLAKE MIDDLETON, Handel Architects LLP, New York
RICHARD PORTCHMOUTH, Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects
RIJK RIETVELD, Rietveld Architects, New York
THOMAS SILVA, Thomas Silva Architects, San Francisco
EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA, Eduardo Souto de Moura Architect, Porto
ROBERTA WAHL, Plum Architects, San Francisco
ALLISON WILLIAMS, Perkins+Will Architects, San Francisco
STEVENS WILLIAMS, Flad Architects, San Francisco

Postcard Image For exhibition 23, I am pleased to be introducing the paintings of Seattle-based Alma Chaney, whose work I first encountered in the 2010 San Francisco Art Institute MFA graduate show. I responded to the the balance between modesty and fierce involvement in her nuanced surfaces. Chaney manages a sophisticated integration of line and mass tone, employing Renaissance techniques of silverpoint drawing beneath translucent glazes. She seems to time the release of color from planes of apparent white that give way to a range of earth tones. Rather than juxtaposing the poles of shadow and light, she synthesizes aspects of both in her imagery. The resulting suspension makes for wonderful painting.
Postcard Image For exhibition 22 we are pleased to be giving our first solo show to painter Stephen Beal. Beal was appointed president of the California College of Arts in 2008, coming to CCA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he was Vice President of Academic Planning. Beal's exhibition history dates back to the 1970s in Chicago, and most recently he exhibited his paintings at Mark Wolfe Contemporary here in San Francisco. An illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition.
Postcard Image Much lauded painter, critic and teacher Stephen Westfall is based in New York, but has roots in the Bay Area. He was the recipient of the Prix de Rome award for painting in 2009, and for exhibition 21 here we are showing a selection of the recent canvases he completed while in residence at the American Academy in Rome this past year. When these works were rst exhibited in the Academy galleries in March, they hung along side large murals Westfall did in situ to extend the issues addressed in his geometric oils. In keeping with the spirit of the Rome exhibit, Westfall has designed a site-specic wall painting for the gallery as part of our installation here. This solo show, Westfall's second with us, was facilitated with the generous help of his New York representative Lennon, Weinberg to whom I am grateful.
Postcard Image Following upon his successful solo here a year ago, British painter Clem Crosby will be exhibiting a group of works recently completed in his London studio, comparatively small in scale though large in scope. Crosby paints in oil on formica laminate panels. He uses this slick industrial surface to keep his paint pliant and malleable through an iterative process of search and destruction—and resurrection, eventually coaxing a broiling resolution out of the medium of paint itself, out from beneath the surface. His emergent image does not seem painted with paint so much as from paint. Crosby had early ties to the school of radical monochrome painting, and has since pushed beyond its constraints to reintroduce gesture and drama into an art grounded in material fact, while airborne in the color of light. He has taken an ambitious position, painting in a manner that embraces several generations of modernism, recasting the accomplishments of contemporary practice in the process.
Postcard Image As we approach our second anniversary with exhibition 20, we are pleased to again be showing the work of Bay Area-based painter Judith Belzer, who launched our program with the inaugural show in October of 2008. We are exhibiting selections from two recent series of Belzer's ongoing explorations into the underpinning structures and porous surfaces of the world, titled respectively, Order of Magnitude and Order of Things. The modest scale of these paintings belies the ambition and scope of Belzer's reach, as she moves freely from aerial to crystalline and cellular perspectives in her bid for intimacy with the natural order. Reminiscent of Cezanne's late watercolors, Belzer's assured open brushwork and thin washes suggest she has found herself a home in the center of things, and an open hand to pull us into the organizing principle she has uncovered.
Postcard Image For exhibition 20 we are pleased to again be showing the work of Bay Area photographer Nina Zurier, a new series of multiple images. The show is titled Conditions and Connections and runs concurrent with her installation at California State University Sacramento's Library Gallery, titled Make Me One with Everything. With these most recent works, Zurier has pushed the capacity for open-ended story telling already inherent in her signature juxtaposition of images. She selects the individual shots of her compound photographs with great consideration for their composition and color, and the resulting form, along with the simple fact of their containment within a frame, creates a strong visual bond. More significantly, it is her uncanny intuition, her selection for leaping poetry and the triggers of memory that assures the elastic cohesion of these scroll-like narratives, what Zurier has called, "the continuity of discontinuity."
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Postcard Image For exhibition 18 in the room for painting, we are following up on last September's show (room for paper 10) of New York painter Tad Wiley's Water Log series, mounting a selection of his recent oil-based enamels on wooden panels that continue to develop the themes and methods of the preceding works on paper. Wiley's concerns are so seamless between the two bodies of work, I feel compelled to restate my observations about his art from the earlier show, that he evokes, both through his own imagery and the emotional tone of his color and light, certain associations with the stoic stance of the Northern Seaboard. He works in a vernacular that is pre-linguistic, but nonetheless of a kindred spirit to literature, such as Melville. These are luminous works in the spirit of the heroic generation of American abstract art. A catalog of the exhibition is available with interviews by Glenn Goldberg and Charlotte Mouquin.
Postcard Image In the front room for exhibit 18 at the gallery, we are hanging a select group of watercolors by long-esteemed New York painter Ron Gorchov. Gorchov's paintings are very concrete, with a particular care taken to a kind of controlled warp of the picture plane. He has found a way to translate these object-oriented concerns to paper, using mounting clips of his own device that accentuate the paper's natural torque, affixing them to the wall without frames. The result is a corporeal presence that rivals his works on canvas, though on a more intimate scale. Gorchov's touch, and his exploration of personal iconography, are revealed in a very transparent manner peculiar to the watercolor medium. Ron Gorchov has an exhibition history that dates back to 1960 and his work is represented in every major New York museum collection, as well as in museums around the country. This exhibition was arranged through the assistance of Lesley Heller in New York, to whom I am grateful.
Postcard Image In the back room for exhibition 18, keeping with the theme set by our two solo shows this month, I decided to mount an encore presentation of our gallery artists who live and work in New York: Richmond Burton, Nancy Haynes, Susan Mikula, and Stephen Westfall, staging in a new context selected works previously exhibited in recent solo shows. We are hanging oil on linen by Burton and Haynes, photography by Mikula, and gouache on paper by Westfall. In each case, I’ve selected my favorites, works certainly worth a second look.
Postcard Image Exhibition 17 in the room for painting showcases the recent paintings of Japanese artist Masaru Kurose. I was introduced to Kurose by local painter and private dealer Frank Born, for which I am grateful. Kurose works in oil on clear vinyl, stretched on wooden strainers. He avoids the pitfall of gimmickry with the vinyl, as does Sigmar Polke with his use of this material, by integrally melding its qualities into the demands of the image. The paint's drop shadow on the wall, its stroke convergent with his stretchers as visible through the transparent support, all come into play in the drawing. These are spontaneous and smart gestural abstractions. Kurose's painting has a whimsey and a buoyancy that belies how grounded they are in the conceptual tenants of concrete painting. What you see is what you get but at the same time they are full of surprises, owing to unpredictable color combinations and playful manipulations of space, at once organic and architectural. Kurose lives and works in Kobe, Japan. This is his first exhibition in the United States.
Postcard Image For the 17th exhibition in the room for paper, we are changing up a bit and showing a modest selection of paintings, intimately scaled oils on linen by New York painter Nancy Haynes, an artist I have admired since first becoming familiar with her work in the late 1970s. I want to thank New York gallerist Lesley Heller for providing the introduction that catalyzed this show. Haynes’ work is characterized by a gentle, rhythmic marking and subtle shifts in color, a handling that results in her images bleeding through slowly, as does a spill on blotter paper. Her canvases talk amongst themselves in hushed but articulate tones when installed together, and retain a muted harmonic when viewed on their own. It would be a truism to refer to them as meditative, but in her case, this approach is apt. Haynes has shown in museums around the country, most recently at the San Diego Museum of Art, the Rubin Museum in New York, and the Hood Museum at Dartmouth. Her work is in the collection of the Met, MOMA, the Whitney, and the National Gallery.
Postcard Image A few months prior to our July, 2009 solo show of Alan Ebnother here in the room for painting, he had begun work on a series of blue tonal paintings in his characteristic impasto. In a number of these pieces, Ebnother has moved to open up his stroke, revealing more of the paint support and pushing the color into a broader range of hue. To mark our release of a new catalog documenting the 2009 show that includes some of these recent blue paintings, we are hanging a small selection from the series in the front room.
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Postcard Image For the 15th show in the room for paper we are introducing the painting of San Franciso artist Ward Schumaker. Schumaker’s work has an agile spine, springing from an ever-evolving center of art historical balance. His swirling scumble recalls Cy Twombly, and his deft approach to gesture the painting of the French Tachist Georges Mathieu. Something in his graphic equivalent of skin grafting is reminiscent of the collage elements in Julian Schnabel’s work, and the recurrent, autobiographical references in Jasper Johns’ imagery. Without warning Schumaker will often introduce texts and iconic sketches into his abstract expressionist dust devils, calling on an ensemble cast of welter weight boxers, stylized fairies, abstract monkeys and kneeling sirens named Betty. He can treat painting like a garage sale and still have it come across as something pure and untainted. He does this with his touch and with his spirit and with an ingrained familiarity with the medium born of longstanding, diligent practice. He melds these disparate elements without losing the paint in it all because the paint is already in his marrow. Why juggle an ironing board, a tire iron and a stray cat? Because you can, just as you can celebrate the agility of the human spirit, steeped in tradition and poised for discovery at every turn.
Postcard Image The 15th exhibition in the room for paper showcases recent photographs by Susan Mikula, whose work was introduced in the gallery last September in the Transfocus group show. Mikula lives and works in New York and Western Massachusetts with her partner, political commentator Rachel Maddow. The pieces for this series, entitled American Device, were all photographed in 2009 at locations along the Port of Long Beach in California and the industrial ocean front from New Orleans to Galveston, particularly the Bolivar Peninsula. They were shot with a vintage Polaroid SX-70 using outdated film. Mikula's approach shares formal concerns with painters in the gallery in that she pays particular attention to the physicality and scale of her supports, and her use of an almost impressionistic focus emphasizes color and light. The softening of Mikula’s industrial landscape is reminiscent of Monet's study of the Rouen Cathedral. Her consideration of her picture as an object, however, aligns her with the dialogue amongst painters in the wake of Robert Ryman's white paintings. Her imagery is evocative, calling up intangible feelings and associations, yet her means are disciplined, drawing upon the full range of her photographic medium to assert a concrete presence.
Postcard Image For exhibit 14 in the room for painting we are showing recent paintings by emerging Bay Area artist Angela Baker. I became aware of Baker's work through a pair of shows she had in small storefront galleries in San Francisco a few years back. She was in the middle of developing something, but immediately struck me as someone able to integrate drawing quite effectively into her painting—a perennial challenge. At the time she was using a curling, torqued line that reminded me of Arshile Gorky's late work, tortured and highly articulated. We kept in touch as she continued to work and I watched her steadily, I would say stubbornly, refine her drawing and her palette to a sparse but charged vernacular all her own, isolated strokes of black, white and red set obliquely in the amorphous space of gray washes. Her marks alternate between holding the surface and tilting back into an inferred vanishing point. They hint at association, sometimes occurrences such as explosions or tornadoes, but always with a strong emotional underpinning. Baker's painting is understated but revealing, and in its raw means, leaves no place to hide. She does so much with so little. I consider it a privilege to be able to introduce this new work to our San Francisco audience.
Postcard Image San Francisco painter David Maxim (showing watercolors for the 14th exhibit in the room for paper) has been involved with the Bay Area art scene since the early ‘70s, exhibiting regularly, most recently last year at David Cunningham Projects. He has advanced on a broad front, from off-the-wall constructions to portraits of mountains to whimsical paintings that place historical painters in imagined landscapes. In all his endeavors, he has shown himself to be an incredible draftsman. I went to his studio to pick out work, and we spent the entire afternoon pouring over portfolio after portfolio of drawings, all good, dating back years. When I came upon this series of staged figures, I felt we had the body of work that encapsulated Maxim's many interests. The source figures are actually sculptures by the artist, swathed in rags, serving as mannequins but more so, as bridges between the high relief constructions Maxim is perhaps best known for and his classically developed paintings such as the mountains he exhibited at DCP. The studies echo his ties to the Bay Area figurative tradition, to theater, and to a sense of personal freedom that has never allowed Maxim to be limited to a single medium or mode. I'm very happy to be showing this highly personal body of work.