Popular criticism of art fairs is hardly new, the supermarket like conditions and the favoring of blue chip, easy to sell work over experimental emerging artists. SF Fine Art Fair is no exception. The exhibition space was adorned with all of the requisite Picasso, Miro, Lichenstein, Warhol, Stella, and Calder. The environment was for the most part quite conservative. However, there were some gems for the dedicated viewer.
For instance, Cain Schulte Gallery presented the work of Midwestern drawer and printmaker, Justin Quinn, whose drawings recalled the work of conceptual artist, Hanne Darboven. Quinn’s develops his drawings by distilling the letter e from passages of Moby Dick, treating the English language’s most ubiquitous letter as a white whale that haunts his image. What results are strings of the single letter arranged in swirling waves that are at once funny and poetic, creating a stream that function as both graphological inscription and phonetic intonation.
Another opportunity came toward the end of Fort Mason’s pier from an excerpt of Cream from the Top, originally presented at Performance Art Institute this winter, this selection was a standout to the typical art fair drudgery. The exhibition highlighted graduates from the Bay Area’s MFA programs, including CCA, SFAI, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, San Jose State, SF State, etc.
Favorites include Dana Hemenway’s Artificial Rocks: A Multimedia Slideshow, a banal slideshow featuring hundreds of artificial rocks, complete with a musical soundtrack by Yanni, which echoed beautifully across the stand from Wafaa Yasin’s work. Wafaa Yasin’s performance featured a bodily conversation between the artist and a rock, invoking both ritual and labor. The artist balanced herself upon the rock, stepped cautiously around it without looking, picked it up, and sat, cradling it. As she performed this series of gestures, a speech and slideshow played considering the Museum of Tolerance in Jeruselum, a controversial museum that has been approved to be built on former Muslim cemetery grounds, containing the graves of many important Islamic saints and scholars. Her deliberation on this topic, where rocks embedded with history are displaced and archoitectural and ideological projections are overlayed nto the body.
Hilary Wiedemann’s Brightest Light from the Darkest Day played out the shifting relationship of reality and fiction by presenting a solar powered music box powered by the projection of documentary photographs of the sunrise.
Since it was preview night for all 3 fairs, we rushed over to artMRKT and the scene shift was palatable.
Charles Linder Gallery
From the noise and periodic glimpses of Bay at the SF Fine Art Fair at Fort Mason, to the quieter more intimate feeling artMRKT in the Concourse Exhibition Center, thanks to the dark-toned carpet that engulfed the space. From a quick read on the room, the crowd seemed hipper and in the know. However, the galleries still walked the line between old and obscure, yet in this second Fair of the night, there seemed more art to chew on.
Eleanor Harwood Gallery had a interesting presence with several younger painters, including the above painting, maybe by Paul Wackers.
This piece caught the eye in its incredible depth, perhaps the most 3-D painting ever.
On our way out, I passed Paulson Bott Press, with a lovely grid of Mel Blockner flower prints, which left a sweet note on an otherwise less then underwhelming preview. We made it to SF ArtPAd, but the description will have to await the next post.
This post was written by Emma Spertus and Post Brothers.