Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Make Believe: video work by Desiree Holman opens tomorrow!

make believe: video work by desiree holman: jan 5 - feb 22, 2009

Thursday, March 12

3 p.m. Artist Conversation
McLaren 251

4 p.m. Reception
Thacher Gallery

Desirée Holman is an Oakland-based visual artist. As with many of her works, the three video installations in "Make Believe" explore the tension between reality and fantasy. An interdisciplinary artist, Holman fabricates costumes and masks to be worn by herself and actors in portrayals of role-playing scenarios. Her use of primitive animation techniques and handcrafted costumes create a tension between passive and active modes of reception, allowing viewers a critical distance even as they find themselves pulled into the fantasies. These videos are the result of long-term research and a many-layered process often involving drawing, photography, sculpture, and writing.

Holman is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts as well as a recipient of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art SECA award. In 2007, she received the Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue award. Her work has been exhibited internationally at venues such as the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, Hessel Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Milan’s BnD, Toronto’s YYZ, The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Berkeley Art Museum and Lisa Boyle Gallery in Chicago. She is represented by the Silverman Gallery in San Francisco. In 1999, directly after completing her BFA in sculpture at CCA, Holman attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and graduated with her MFA from UC Berkeley in 2002.

Artist Statement

Engaging in make-believe provides practice in roles one might someday assume in real life. It helps one to understand and sympathize with others. It enables one to come to grips with one’s own feelings. It broadens one’s perspectives.

—Kendall L. Walton, Mimesis as Make Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts

All the works in "Make Believe" involve role-playing games that utilize handcrafted figurative sculptures as props. The sculptures are effigies, and include life-size dolls, wearable full-body forms and masks. I use fantasy play with these effigies as a means of discovery. The process of playing and animating the figurative forms that I create allows for the probing and expression of the fundamental (but normally taken for granted) dynamics of human relationships and emotions.

In "Art as Therapy" (2002), I posed as a family therapist who is giving therapy to a family of life-size dolls. The aim is for the family members to better understand and accept their individual responsibility in the emotional life of the family unit. My initial “consultation” with the family begins with their appearance on a popular television talk show. From this television program, I created life-size dolls representing each family member, which I then animated in the video. In effect, I am both the therapist and the clients. The video provides a window into the transformation we experience as we struggle to change relationships, alleviate symptoms, and improve the emotional functioning of the family system.

Again, in "I would do almost anything that you asked me to do..." (2005), I act as multiple characters with the use of figurative sculptures. In this piece, however, I actually inhabit the effigies and animate them from within the forms. I was inspired by a type of extreme cross-dressing in which (usually) a man puts on a full-body latex suit of a woman’s body and face. From four adult male models, I created four flesh-like, stretchy suits that I could literally step into and wear. Robed in these skins, I enacted the roles of four distinct male characters in relationship to myself, engaging in a romantic, yet failed, attempts to waltz with the various male suitors.

Similarly, "Troglodyte" (2005) features inhabitable sculptural forms. In this work, however, the characters are played by multiple performers including myself. The term "troglodyte" describes a simpleton or brute who is emotionally reactive and potentially dangerous; s/he is without acute powers of reasoning. For this piece, I sculpted multiple life-size, wearable, latex, hair and fabric, chimpanzee-like forms. Whether in the spotlight of academic investigations or popular culture, the chimpanzee has often been the focus for human projection. By inhabiting the sculptural forms and pretending to be a chimpanzee, the work investigates human emotion and behavior.

These games always revolve around relationships and reciprocity (or lack there of). I wonder what games of make-believe, like the ones I create in my work or the ones created in multi-user online games or elsewhere, can tell us about our behaviors in the "real" world.

Desirée Holman, 2009

Desiree Holman in the Press:

The gallery is grateful to Steve Rhyne, Director of Technology for the Art + Architecture Department, for his technical expertise in presenting this work.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Susanne M. Winterling - updates and shows!

Super 16mm, 5min 23, 2009

DP: Tobias Peper, Music: Matteah Baim,
special thanks to Athea, Luca, Lina, Christina Steiner, Simonetta Rocchetti
Eastman Kodak

will be presented for the first time on Sat 28 2009
at THE FRONT ROOM, Contemporary Art Museum St.Louis

other things going on:
till beg of March Alliance, Sisterhood and the Rope at Hiromi Yoshii, Tokyo

till beg og March BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna

till March 21 Don't expect anything, Francesca Minini, Milano

till April Zendai Museum Shanghai

Susanne M. Winterling - updates and shows!

Super 16mm, 5min 23, 2009

DP: Tobias Peper, Music: Matteah Baim,
special thanks to Athea, Luca, Lina, Christina Steiner, Simonetta Rocchetti
Eastman Kodak

will be presented for the first time on Sat 28 2009
at THE FRONT ROOM, Contemporary Art Museum St.Louis

other things going on:
till beg of March Alliance, Sisterhood and the Rope at Hiromi Yoshii, Tokyo

till beg og March BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna

till March 21 Don't expect anything, Francesca Minini, Milano

till April Zendai Museum Shanghai

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Desiree Holman - SFBG talks about Holman in SECA and what is to come!

She's a magic woman

SECA: Try to understand — the play is the thing in Desirée Holman's masked wonderlands

By Matt Sussman


There is a lot of play going on in the work of Desirée Holman. As evinced by the handmade masks, props, and costumes that populate her multimedia pieces — a family therapy workshop comprised of dolls in 2002's Art as Therapy; a clan of Bigfoot-like sapiens in 2005's Troglodyte; and most recently, the estranged visages of television's Huxtable and Conner families in The Magic Window — an anarchic "let's raid the dress-up box" impulse is often her guiding force. Family sitcoms, pop cultural junk food, and mediated existence in a thoroughly televised culture are her source materials.

From Cindy Sherman's faux film stills and prosthetic body part augmentations to Paul McCarthy's return-of-the-repressed performances using all manner of foodstuffs and costume shop detritus, the act of playing dress-up has its art-historical precedents. While Holman's work superficially brings Sherman and McCarthy to mind (the influence of the former is certainly apparent in 2006's Bucolic Life, where she plays mother and wife to a mannequin family within a series of supposedly candid snapshots), her art is not as routinely fixated on confronting the viewer with the grotesque and abject.

"I can see why people would find my work creepy, but I don't see it that way," laughs Holman over the phone. Judging from the opening night crowd's response to The Magic Window — which takes pride of place at the SECA Art Award show — the most common response to Holman's work seems to be nervous laughter. But when Roseanne Conner resembles Leatherface, it's not hard to see why.

However palpable, unease is just a surface response to Holman's rough-hewn masks and bodysuits. As fellow Guardian critic Glen Helfand noted in an Artforum review of Troglodyte, the empty costumes of the piece's hirsute, apelike creatures "still channel our evolutionary connection to them" — a connection underscored by videos and photographs of the costumed creatures smoking cigarettes and dancing. No matter how funny or scary we find the ape family, we remain inescapably tied to them. Holman's art teases out these strange channels and treats them as invitations to play along.

This invitation to connect beyond familiar comfort zones — even if, as viewers, we are frequently stuck, costumeless, on the outside looking in — is what animates The Magic Window, a project originally conceived for and shown at SF's Silverman Gallery, which is showing work by Holman this April. Comprised of a three-channel video on one wall and colored pencil drawings on the wall opposite, The Magic Window takes its title from a 1939 ad campaign used to sell early, primitive TV sets to American consumers. But the name could just as easily be applied to the sculptural masks worn by Holman and her cast.

The video starts off with parallel narratives loosely modeled after incidents from Roseanne and The Cosby Show, and ends with both families leaving their respective screens to visit each other's homes/sets. For a finale, the two clans come together for a center-screen psychedelic dance-off set in a purely virtual space where everyone glows with a green-screen aura. (This aura effect is rendered beautifully through tensile wisps in Holman's delicate drawings). In other hands, the Huxtables and Conners would be mined for parodic laughs or used for nastier ends (see McCarthy's and Mike Kelley's assault on family life in their 1992 video Heidi), but Holman has a deep affection for her source material. "I personally like both television shows, which were really progressive for their time," she says. "And I really wanted to look at the similarities between the two families."

Holman's collaborative fantasy union — in which one of television's most popular, white, middle-class families gets down with its first-ever affluent, upper-middle class African American kin — could not resonate more with our country's current political moment. The Huxtables are now, in a sense, the First Family, and the notion of a "post-racial America" has never had greater currency or been as thoroughly debated. To wit, Holman recently revealed in an interview with the blog Future Shipwreck that she created the masks for The Magic Window by attempting to combine the facial characteristics of her cast members with those of the actors who portrayed the characters on television.

In light of the recent election and current events, Holman has, understandably, been thinking a lot about The Magic Window. "On the one hand, [it presents] a critique of reenacting something that is already a fiction," she says, when asked about the piece. Then, as if channeling the zeitgeist on cue, she continues, "But on the other hand — and more powerful for me — are the acts of hope that these families act out in the video."


Through May 10; $12.50 adults, $8 seniors, $7 students (free for 12 and under)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

151 Third St., SF

(415) 357-4000

Monday, February 16, 2009

Job Piston's work in Paper Exhibition

Job Piston: Review for "Paper Exhibition"

Paper Exhibition

Artists Space, New York, USA


Judith Braun, The Line Between Fiction and Reality (2009)

Entering ‘Paper Exhibition’ at Artists Space is like taking a leap through a distorted looking glass - or better through the hole in one of Job Piston’s cocktail napkins Untitled (Etiquette) (2009), included here.

The maze-like collection of lost, found and made-up fragments and artifacts, all of which respond to cryptic narratives, is mesmerizing - but it can also be confusing. Lucky, then, that Judith Braun’s drawing The Line Between Fiction and Reality (2009) functions as a guide to the exhibition. Taking on the longest wall of the central space, Braun’s life-size charcoal work is a response to the curator’s challenge to draw a line between reality and fiction. The wall-piece was drawn simultaneously with both hands, tracing concentric movements that work outwards from an empty centre. Most of the works in the exhibition, about 37 in total, depending on who’s counting and who’s counted (works seem to have the tendency to appear and disappear over the course of the show), linger in a similarly indiscernible centre that evades taking shape. Though not all of the works here are on paper, the uniting quality is an ‘exchange between the literal and the literary’ - as the press release puts it. The divisions between substance and content are floating, as in Mark Geffriaud’s Small World Hobbies (2007), which presents a delicate origami recreation of a crumpled piece of paper next to its original.


Mariana Castillo Deball, Visage faux (detail, 2008)

‘Paper Exhibition’ is oddly reminiscent of Morten Harket’s struggle between physical and paper versions of himself in the video for a-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ (1985). A similar struggle can be seen in Mariana Castillo Deball’s paper masks that adorn the other wall of Artists Space’s central room. Visage faux (2008) consists of 24 replicas of indigenous masks made from folded A4 paper. The masks originate from the pages of art history books, though all imagery has been erased to leave only blank pages and image credits. These pages were then folded to mimic the shapes of the masks they once depicted, and the captions that once classified the masks according to terms foreign to their original context define the abstract folds instead.


Trong Gia Nguyen, Flaubert: Madame Bovary (Last Chapter-3062 words) (2009)

Shifting forms or the unstable essence of material is also a central idea in the work Trong Gia Nguyen’s Flaubert: Madame Bovary (Last Chapter-3062 words) (2009). Nguyen wrote the complete last chapter of the 1856 novel word for word on 3,062 kernels of rice. He collected the rice in a little bag that now hangs in the gallery space. The bag doubles as its own library card and has the information provided by a New York Library card imprinted on its surface. Like a Dadaist word game or the magnetic poetry on refrigerators, every movement of the bag creates thousands of new possible endings.


Gareth Spor, Dreamachine (Illusion is a Revolutionary Weapon) after William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Cerith Wyn Evans and Loris Gréaud) (2008)

The collective speculation of curator, artists and visitors that characterizes ‘Paper Exhibition’ is united in a search for the missing masterpiece or the missing link, something that grants a fleeting yet momentarily satisfying feeling of comprehension and legitimization. However, this link might not even be missing, rather just masquerading as something else in the show. The show should possibly be viewed like Gareth Spor’s Dreamachine (2008), with closed eyes - and what counts is not the object but rather its reflection on the retina of the viewer. And to escape from the alluring abyss of confusion and bewilderment that opens up one needs only to open one’s eyes. Still, something stays behind, faintly staining our vision just like the repetitive sounds of Robert Rauschenberg erasing a de Kooning in Mario Garcia Torres’ recording An undisclosed month in 1953 (2007), which remains audible long after one has left the paper space.

Anna Gritz

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tammy Rae Carland: Hysteria: Past yet present

Hysteria: Past yet present

February 5 – April 9, 2009
Opening Reception - Thursday, February 5, 5pm – 7pm

Hysteria is an elusive, psychosomatic, even mythical disorder, impinging on our physical, cultural, and moral concerns. It is often characterized as a mercurial state of disturbance that can be manifested in both a psychological and physical sense. The word “hysteria” comes from the Greek work hystera, a term applied to disturbances of the uterus. Addressing this topic, a number of contemporary artists have dealt directly with the work of European medical professionals Sigmund Freud and Jean-Martin Charcot by creating artwork that mirrors aspects of their studies. This exhibition will explore hysteria in relation to gender construction, feminine identity and pathologization, and sheer physical form given to the condition in the imagination of artists.

Artists in this exhibition:
Cortney ANDREWS,
Beth B, Zoe BELOFF,
Tammy Rae CARLAND,
Jennifer DUDLEY,
Carson FOX,
Guerrilla Girls,
Georgette MANIATIS,
Jennifer MAZZA,
Cindy REHM,
Claire WATSON,

Saturday, February 7, 2009

LA TIMES: Yuval Pudik Angles Gallery

Review: Constance Mallinson and Yuval Pudik at Angles Gallery

Strangeness abounds at Angles Gallery these days, where two technically exquisite, darkly fantastic bodies of work are paired. It’s been more than 10 years since Constance Mallinson’s last solo appearance in L.A., and this is Israeli-born Yuval Pudik’s first. The show is noteworthy on both counts, but mostly for its enduring, disarming qualities.

Mallinson’s approach to the natural landscape has long braided the contemplative, critical and collage-like; here she ventures into related terrain, with a more concentrated focus. In her four figurative paintings on paper, measuring up to 8 feet per side, human forms are defined entirely in terms of wood and natural debris: patches of bark, frizzles of roots, slender, twining twigs. The visual gamesmanship harks back to Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s famous composite portraits as well as to the spell-induced transformations of fairy tales, but with a more subversive edge.

Right Guard M. Norris

One pair of figures is locked in intercourse against a stained white field, a shriveled apple core beside them. Another couple enacts the biblical consequence, expulsion, striding forward naked out of ashen depths. With tremendous acuity, Mallinson renders human anatomy out of the anatomy of trees — gnarled burls, sinuous knots and fungus-blooming bark. The gorgeous offsets the grotesque; homage tempers horror.

The beautiful “Wallpaper” comes as something of a reprieve, invoking far less psychic duress. In direct tribute to the sensual integrity of the dead and dying, Mallinson traces arabesques out of dried branches, split seed pods, faded blossoms and rotted pomegranates. The painting is bittersweet and ravishing.

Pudik’s graphite drawings, in a range of sizes, are a curious mix of the carnivalesque and cartoonish, with a little sexual deviance thrown in for spice. No figure or scene is carried to a logical conclusion. Instead, figures starting out with thigh-high boots and riding crops end up with palm trees for heads or twin cars jutting out of their collars. The rendering is skillful and convincing, a performance that matches the theatricality of the vision.

Angles Gallery, 2230 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 396-5019, through Feb. 14. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

-- Leah Ollman

SF Chronicle: Neil Ledoux "Light in the forest prevades painter's imagination

Friday, February 6, 2009

Art BUsiness: Silverman Gallery: Neil LeDoux - The Fountain of Giant Teardrops.

Silverman Gallery: Neil LeDoux - The Fountain of Giant Teardrops.

Comment by AB: Neil LeDoux tells me his paintings are based on a vision he had as a young boy. While wandering deep in the Louisiana woods one day, he saw a fountain within a fountain. He hightailed it back to where his friends were playing, took 'em straight back to see it, but nothing was there. With this hallucinatory incident as his guiding pyre, he concocts hauntingly engaging compositional configurations of seemingly disparate elements including the fountains he once saw, Duchamp's urinal, Tibetan wall reliefs, and even a little Jan van Eyck. The good news? They work. Check 'em out. Priced $400-$3500.

Desiree Holman press and links!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Susanne Winterling at Bawag Contemporary

Eröffnung 4. Februar 2009, 19 Uhr

tägl. ab 5. Februar 2009 bis 1. März 2009, 14-20 Uhr

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tammy RAe Carland in Sweet and Matchless

Sweet and Matchless
February 9th – March 5th
PLAySPACE Gallery, 1111 8th St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco
Opening Reception: Monday, February 9th, 7 – 9 PM

Using the love letter as a point of departure, Sweet and Matchless brings together various expressions of love—from romantic love to the affinities and complexities of families and friendships. The show includes artworks, personal documents, and objects not necessarily
intended to be shown to anyone.
Featuring works by Zina Al-Shukri, Mara Baldwin, Jeremiah Barber, Ellen Black, James Bradley, Tammy Rae Carland, Margaret Coleman, Patty and Blade Corwin, Benjamin Crotty, Torreya Cummings, Lauren Friedman, Linda Geary, David Gilbert, Julia Goodman, Jamil Hellu and Darrin Martin, Bevan Herbekian, Queena Hernandez and Anna Simson, Michael Hilsman, Zara Katz, Cameron Kelly, Christine Kesler, Claire Kessler-Bradner, Emily Korson, Eric Kuhn, Ace Lehner, Forrest Lewinger, Liesa Lietzke, Elyse Mallouk, Brigid Mason, Justin Olerud, Patricia Patterson, Leah Rosenberg, Hilary Schwartz, Elizabeth Sher, Mary Snowden, Marta Spurgeon, Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, Kat Stewart, Margaret Tedesco, Suné Woods, Jane Yakowitz and James Williams.

Nel Ledoux - 2009 paintings - "Cosmic piss" - Ignacio Valero

Friday, January 30, 2009

Best quote - optomism is key.

Peter Michael, husband of trustee Eileen M. Michael: "If you have any money left, now is a great time to buy art." The message was loud and clear- the dealers are dealing.

Neil Ledoux drawings - graphite on paper, 2009

Come check out our new show and these stunning drawings! Each work has a unique and handmade frame. Works range from $400 - $600 and are going fast!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Susanne M. Winterling: DON'T EXPECT ANYTHING

Becky Beasley, Nina Beier & Marie Lund, Karla Black, Katinka Bock, Kate Davis, Annette Kisling, Lorna Macintyre, Rosalind Nashashibi, Lisa Oppenheim, Susanne M. Winterling
Opening January 28th, 2009 7pm
Intangible messages journey through time and space through the viewer's perception of the works on show. Images understood as a return to the past of ideas and ideals, events and icons, symbols and stories. The images are translated physically by the artists into photographs of historical characters, into revised material, stills taken from old films or graphic reworkings oelectronic images. But do not expect anything, since it is precisely the act of perception, more than the objects of perception, which is important. The physicality of that which is exhibited rises to a documentary residue, to memory and evocation, thanks to the in-depth research that has been conducted. Be ready however to welcome these forgotten thoughts, these fragments of the past as evocations of that which space and time have physically distanced from us and which the artists let us see in a manner both poetic and deliberately indeterminate.

I - 20134 MILANO
T 02 26924671
F 02 21596402

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

7x7: Desiree Holman's Spooky Videos at the SFMOMA

Desiree Holman's Spooky Videos at the SFMOMA

The shadow play speaks louder than words.

Photo by Claude Shade

If you feel a sense of unease looking at Desirée Holman’s videos, as if something important is going unsaid, then the artist has succeeded. “My formula is performer plus prop, but I’m not necessarily interested in those two parts. I’m interested in what happens in between the two. It’s an intangible space, the story that’s not being explicitly told.” Take The Magic Window, for instance, on view at SFMOMA this month as part of its SECA Art Award show (Holman, along with three other local artists, won the award for 2008). In it, two separate video screens show actors—hooded in eerie masks—playing out typical scenes from the sitcoms Roseanne and The Cosby Show, while, on a third screen in the middle, they break character, join together and dance in a green-on-black glow. It certainly reads as a statement on the ’80s, the artist’s formative decade, but the viewer is left to decipher what, exactly, the message is. And while the prop part of the equation (those spooky masks) is evident from the beginning, that’s not the case in Holman’s Babies, a video installation opening in April at the Silverman Gallery. Not to ruin the element of surprise, but those aren’t real infants the actors are cradling. They are sculptures that Holman based on Newborn Nursery dolls, lifelike figures that collectors “adopt” from “nurseries” complete with “birth certificates.” “I’m interested in all of these women engaged in this massive fantasy game,” she says. “The prop allows the expression of fantasy in a way that’s different than without it. It’s like when you give a child a toy and with it, they express feelings they aren’t comfortable talking about.” Yes, Holman’s work is exactly like that—like giving an intelligent, perceptive child a toy and watching as she indirectly speaks to you through it. You’re not sure what she’ll say, but you instinctively brace for it.

Jean Paul Gaultier printed mesh dress ($550) at Barneys New York, 415-268-3500. Marc by Marc Jacobs black leather motorcycle ankle boots ($495) at Barneys New York. 
Vintage black-and-gold wood bangles, stylist’s own. Black cotton/wool tights, model’s own. Black leather croc-embossed belt, stylist’s own.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough @ Headlands Front + Center.

Headlands January 2009 eNEWS

Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough, L. Ron Hubbard: Your Scientology is My Science Fiction, 2006. Duct tape and contact paper on astronomy calendar page. Courtesy of the artist and Silverman Gallery.

Happy new year from Headlands Center for the Arts, and welcome to 2009! Before we put 2008 fully behind us, we'd like to send out one last resounding THANK YOU for your support last year. Your attendance at programs, your efforts to share Headlands with friends and family, and your contributions of time and finances made 2008 a year of new highs for us.

Moving onward and upward, 2009 will be an exciting year here at Headlands, and we hope you'll visit often. Between artist talks, Open Houses, our annual Benefit Auction and more, there will be many opportunities for you to be a part of the Headlands community.

First up on the calendar: Front + Center opens this Sunday, January 18. After six successful years of launching its residency season with an annual exhibition, Headlands, in collaboration with Kimberly Johansson, has reimagined this show and calls critical attention to noteworthy California artists from Headlands' 2009 applicant pool. Exhibition details and hours are below, and mark your calendar for the official opening reception coming up on Sunday, February 8 from 2-4PM.

And keep an ear to the ground in the next few weeks: Headlands is about to announce its roster of 2009 Artists in Residence. See you at Headlands soon!

1. Front + Center January 18 - February 22

2. In other news... Alumni AIRs exhibiting in the Bay Area

Front + Center

Tamara Albaitis, Lick, 2009. Raw speakers, audio wire and audio soundtrack (site-specific). Courtesy of the artist.

When: Sunday, January 18 - Sunday, February 22. Exhibition Hours: Sunday - Friday, noon - 5PM *Headlands will be closed Monday, January 19, Tuesday, January 20 and Monday, February 16
Where: Headlands Center for the Arts, Building 944, 3rd Floor
How: FREE admission. On Sundays and holidays, MUNI bus #76 runs every hour between 9:30AM and 5:30PM. Click here for transit details and timetables.

Front + Center Opening Reception: Sunday, February 8, 2-4PM. (Members reception 1-2PM: Become a Memberand join us for a curator-led tour of the exhibition as well as presentations from a group of featured artists!)

Headlands Center for the Arts is pleased to present Front + Center, a dynamic group exhibition guest-curated by Kimberly Johansson and featuring new and recent work by Tamara Albaitis, Brice Bischoff, Todd Bura, Matty Byloos, Ajit Chauhan, Joshua Churchill, Lori Esposito, Mayumi Hamanaka, Taro Hattori, Rachel Mayeri, Jennie Ottinger, Erik Parra, Francesca Pastine, Alison Pebworth, Tara Tucker, Paul Urich, Lindsey White, Noah Wilson, Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough and Ayelet Zohar.

SFBG: Local Artist of the Week: 'hallucinatory memory'

Local Artist of the Week: 'hallucinatory memory'



TITLE Pigna (60" x 48", oil on canvas)

STORY This is part of a series based on a hallucinatory memory LeDoux imagined during his childhood. He recounted seeing a fountain in the thick Louisiana forests. The fountain's beauty was so astonishing that he immediately wanted to share it with his friends and family, but when he took them back to see it, it was nowhere to be found.

BIO LeDoux was born in 1976 in Louisiana. He is currently a BFA candidate at California College of the Arts.

SHOW "The Fountain of Giant Teardrops," Fri/23 through Feb. 28. Silverman Gallery, 804 Sutter, SF (415) 255-9508. Opening reception Fri/23, 7–10 p.m. Conversation with Larry Rinder and Neil LeDoux, Feb. 29, 7 p.m.


Performing tricks in San Francisco by Alex Hetheringont

Silverman Gallery has some new press:

"Jessica Silverman, Silverman Gallery, and This is A Myth, Ben Shaffer

Silverman Gallery has occupied two spaces in San Francisco: it started in a basement space in an industrial district of the city, however its present home is a white store-like space in Sutter Street, closer to the activities of the financial and retail quarters. It retains, though, a vigorous on-the-edge mind-set, occupying a territory between its Fluxus inspirations (Sliverman’s grandparents own North America’s largest collection of Fluxus work) and an explicitly ‘emergent’ program working with local and international artists.

Jessica Silverman, who has run the gallery since its inception in 2006, has created a forceful voice in the San Francisco scene by generating a program that neatly links the city and its artists with operations across the globe. Her roster of artists includes TV addict visual artist Desirée Holman, currently a recipient of a major award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the beguiling pencil drawings of Israeli, Los Angeles-based Yuval Pudik and the photography of artist Job Piston, exploring sexuality, intimacy and voyeurism

It is though a more spiritually considered magical installation that takes over Silverman for the transition from 2008 to 2009. Los Angeles-based Ben Shaffer’s This Is A Myth fills the gallery with numerous drawings, paintings, sculptures, liquor (‘spirits’) and mirrored video projections that ruminate on chaos and order, myth, consciousness and narrative. The installation is the result of a series of emails he sent to friends, a kind of electronic train of thought rendered here as sketchy, imprecise, colourful, golden interactions: part-painting, part-drawing, part-object. Shaffer is obsessed with the construct of meaning within symbols and here he explores gender, the sacred, religion, spiritualism and alchemy through the distortion of their symbolic terminology. The effect is a poetic tangle of restless ideas and subtle gestures that rely on sympathy and acquaintance with spiritualism and its codes and an openness to experience their hallucinatory persuasions. Shaffer’s myth making is an alluring activity, one that questions our belief systems and the potency of these symbols that turn ‘beliefs’ and ‘truths’ from abstractions to realities."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Artist Updates

Vaness Albury in
Check it out! Opening: Thursday, March 5th, 2009, from 6 to 9PM

Job Piston in BMR 3 and Paper Exhibition at
Open Studios at UCLA on January 30 and 31.

More updates soon!

Remember to check out!

Friday, January 2, 2009


THE cherry on top of 2008, the year that the predatory capitalism virus binged itself to death by accidentally killing its host, was what I dubbed “The Christmas That Nobody Wanted.”

“I think everyone is finally burned out on ‘stuff,’ ” my uncle Rick said. “People are realizing that having 1,300 teddy bears didn’t make their life any better.”

I bought my first good belt — sturdy, plain, timeless — at MAC (Modern Appealing Clothing) on Post Street in San Francisco in 1993. At the time, I was way too broke for this reckless expenditure. But I still have the belt, and I still wear it.

Today’s MAC is a 3,500-square-foot shop in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. In the foyer a huge farm table holds a sprawling prehistoric pleasure garden of potted cacti and euphorbia from Flora Grubb Gardens.

MAC, run by Ben Ospital and his sister, Chris (their mother, too, has a hand in the business), has been a beloved San Francisco retail destination for more than 25 years. Arguably, the core attraction has always been the family’s gleefully eccentric personalities, their affection for quality and their dedicated cultivation of lesser-known talents, which has kept the store vibrant as long as its doors have been open.

In 2007, MAC celebrated the holiday season by offering small gifts made within 100 miles of the store. For 2008, their motif was “Artists Like the Holidays, Too,” a collection of works ranging from $25 to $50, all original pieces by local artists. MAC took no commission; 100 percent of the proceeds went to the artists.

Art has always sustained us through depressions,” Mr. Ospital said, offering me a shot of artisanal chestnut soup, imported every day from the celebrity chef next door, Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake.

Let it not be said that MAC doesn’t also go out of its way to support literature. A book on Geoffrey Beene by Kim Hastreiter of Paper magazine was on display; also “Poems about anything for $25” by Zach Houston, a local poet who writes wild, wobbling lines on a vintage red Olivetti typewriter right in the store. A selection of hand-painted bottles of homemade (and allegedly drinkable) moonshine by the artist Ben Shaffer was also included in the $25 to $50 gift range.

In the last two decades, Mr. Ospital has done considerable work for the Creative Growth Art Center, an organization that supports disabled artists. His appreciation for the work of these artists is genuine and wholly infectious. One of Creative Growth’s rising stars, the self-taught William Scott, was commissioned to draw the MAC holiday card: a slightly too glamorous pencil portrait of Barack Obama, next to the words CITIZEN PRESIDENT in block letters — an image, ever so slightly off, that blazes with unfiltered pride.

The clothing in the shop shows a clear bias toward Belgian and Japanese designers. Chris Ospital walked me through her current favorites: a collection by Dirk Van Saene of whiplash-collar sweaters, massive mohair coats in bright Muppet colors, and wool party dresses exaggerated into primary triangles with big bows.

“All the Belgians are ‘on the bow’ right now,” Ms. Ospital said. “See? You’re a present!”

She showed me how one reversible gown with an obi-size Audrey Hepburn bow could also be used as a kind of fashionable arm restraint.

Other items beloved of Ms. Ospital included a pair of Martin Margiela cotton leggings in a faux fishnet print, and a Tsumori Chisato skirt inspired by the movie “Helvetica,” featuring the designer’s name, laser-cut and layered into black Helvetica frills ($748). “Fonts are the new accessory!” Ms. Ospital enthused.

MAC has a truly superlative men’s section, with selections from Engineered Garments, which has rediscovered Woolrich Woolen Mills and made masculine plaid shirts worthy of Jack London. “Sometimes it takes a Japanese man to reinterpret American style and show what’s good about it,” Mr. Ospital said.

This statement also held true for Yoshi Kondo’s beguiling reinterpretations of classic wool melton schoolgirl coats, which Mr. Ospital described as “French ingénue peacoats for the girl who shops at L. L. Bean but is also a stripper.”

I was taken by the work of Ryan Roberts, a men’s designer specializing in Italian knits. I bought his black wool sweat-kilt ($198) and would have bought the matching zipper jacket had it not been $400 (a fair price had my wardrobe budget not already been damaged beyond sanity this year).

“Our model is really the farmers’ market,” said Mr. Ospital, who speaks in free-associative bouquets of enthusiastic appreciation and well-tuned mission statements. “The farmers honor labor. They sell the freshest stuff at its most perfect point in time. Disposable fashion is like fast food! We honor the hands that make clothes. Like ‘slow food’? We like to think of our clothes as ‘slow clothes.’ We’re not fashion victims. You want to find that jacket that is your most perfect tomato, and wear it for 20 years. If it’s all going to end up as landfill anyway, it should all be really good-looking.”

How does one reconcile the relatively expensive price of perfect tomatoes and/or perfect clothing?

The answer, according to Mr. Ospital, lies in one’s personal values. “We have customers who buy a Jil Sander coat, then to save money they’ll stay home at night and learn to make beer.”

At the finish of any regrettable life episode, we invariably go back to basics to distinguish values that are real and indissoluble from those that are false and temporary. In doing so, we rediscover joys we forgot during our manic race to the dead end.

MAC is a good place to remember that you really can’t buy style. Style is evolutionary, egalitarian, deeply curious, often weird and always personal — the accidental costume of any character with a wide-open mind, enjoying a constant bumper crop of new discoveries. But for those having trouble finding their own inspirations, MAC has almost always been there.


387 Grove Street (between Gough and Franklin Streets), San Francisco; (415) 863-3011.