Friday, July 30, 2010

Michael Wertz, Dreamy Dog Dreams at SFCB

Dropped in for a quickie look at the book release party for Michael's "Dog Dreams". Really wished I could have stayed longer but had stupidly made prior commitments. The gathering at the San Francisco Center for the Book was a really welcoming crowd.

Good vibrations with a family ambiance, unpretentious types enjoying Michael and his art. I first became familiar with his art when he bought in his wonderful silk screened, Chinese Horoscope book, "Zoodiac" to Eclectix, a lovely designed and hand printed work.
His new "Dog Dreams"  is a limited edition, letterpressed on Vandercook presses, little book of doggies doing all kinds of human stuff. A beautiful quality piece printed on paper you love to caress; the kind they used to use on all mass produced books, way back when there were plenty of trees to cut down.

Michael displayed some preliminary rough sketches for his book as well as a doggy collection of inspirational items.
Vintage books, memorabilia, photos and strange eclectic objects. (Sorry the reflective cases made the photos glare a bit) Very fun to peruse and it all gave the viewer a nice sense of the dedicated persona behind the work.
A great  bonus - Michael and his partner sung and strummed together in a performance of dreamy oldies, including a fave 'Mamas and Papas' song. A sensitive, warm and touchy-feely time for all attending with great art to boot.
From SFCB: "Dog Dreams, written and illustrated by Michael Wertz, is a children's board book that imaginatively reveals the hopes, wishes, and ambitions of over a dozen dozing canines through playful imagery and rhyming text. "

There is also a fantastic exhibit of LA Lotteria images up at the center.

Buy the book- for your kids or the kid in you- here.
For a great set of production photos go here.
For the Wertzateria site go here.

Alice In Wonderland Make Up

Being a die hard junkie of all things Alice, just had to share this ever-so-cool make up set by Paul & Joe Beaute. Nothing like a little wonderland to smear all over your face!

"Mischief" Art at Studio Gallery, San Francisco

Sheri DeBow's piggy perfection- one of her best dolls, so far

Dropped into Studio Gallery to see the current exhibit "Mischief", a group exhibit with so many past Eclectix artists it felt like a flashback. The show has a lot of pieces, very reasonably priced, mostly on the smaller side. There was a series of large glitter fashion model type paintings which left me bored and a number of others that lacked a necessary spark. On the plus side, there were quite a few wonderful pieces, mostly by artists whose work I know and love, some new to me that were awesome as well. An eclectic show, lots of styles, tons of critters, a lot of birds especially. Something here for almost anyone's taste from more traditional studies to loud cartoons. Posted here are the cream of the crop (the ones there were room for...). Go see the show  in person and enjoy the mischief. (thru August 15th)

Chris Beck's fun watercolor ducks

Koji Nagao's had a knock-out trio of childlike doll sculptures

Lindsey Latimer's expressive and dynamic "Fun With Voodoo"

 Christine Benjamin's always energetic sweet, colorful and quirky pieces

Chad Frick's flora and fairy tale world grabbing us in 

Michelle Water's classic penguin beauty contestant, showing it... 

Missy Feigum's new bold. wild bunnies provided some needed mischief...

Chiami Sekine's poetic, achingly beautiful deers

Cameron Chung's loose painterly perfection
Rebecca Peter's awesome owl

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mark Ryden To Yak It Up At SF Moma

It's about time some "contemporary" museums got contemporary. SF Moma is finally taking notice of home-grown, fantastic artist Mark Ryden. Not that they are exhibiting his works like they should have already. But they are having him do a book signing on August 12th, of his latest works and book titled "The Snow Yak Show".
For info go here.

Kristen Cumings on Rachel Ray

Yahoot! Finally, some food art on Rachel Ray! Last year, Eclectix tried to get Rachel to check out some of the art and artists in the "Eat It'' exhibit but never heard back. It would have made an interesting show and a nice break from the usual recipe routine. Ray finally did a segment with the wonderful mistress of the jellybean, artist Kristen Cumings, famous of late for her "Jelly Belly Mona Lisa". 
Check out the Ray segment here

Kristen also has a ton of sweet art that isn't made of jelly beans but actual paint. One of my faves from the "Dementions" Eclectix exhibit is her cyborg "Calculated", below...

For a look at Kristen's website click here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Eye Candy Clown Mural by Ezra, Berkeley

This mural was in progress the first time I drove by. Oakland artist Ezra Li Eismont was hard at work on a glorious clown. A great piece of professional street art, bold and happy-creepy. I thought it was just art-for-art's-sake, but stupid me! Ended up it is an ad for Adult Swim. Shoulda' known better... however as far as ads go, at least they hired an artist and did a really nice job. Makes a boring brick wall so much nicer, let's hope all the taggers leave it alone... Good job, Ezra!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Hat's Off to Coppola

Skimmed thru the Sonoma Magazine, found an interview they had with Francis Ford Coppola about his new winery park he is building. 

Thought this was a great quote from him and had to share-
 “Don’t you always notice, you go anywhere, there’s always a big line of ladies at the bathroom, and never at the men’s? That’s because they need more facilities, given all things. He said, OK, we’ll have twice as many lady’s rooms. And I said, OK, that’s fine.” 
But then, Coppola  recounts, “they went to the Planning Department, and they came back and said, well you know the Planning Department  doesn’t require that you build twice as many lady’s rooms as men’s, so let’s not do it. I said why? Oh, they said, because it’s not code. You don’t have to do it. I said, I’m not doing it for the code. I’m doing it because there should be twice as many ladys rooms as men’s rooms. And the people will hear. " 
From Sonoma Magazine

Thanks, Francis, I heard...

Not So Haunted at the Guggenheim

Visited the Guggenheim last time I was in NYC as I always do. This is my favorite building in New York and as far as museums go, probably my fave as architecture goes. The exhibit they had sounded promising - "Haunted", oh the wonderfully creepy images of ghostly art that flew into my brain....
Alas, the images in my brain were the best of the show. This exhibit lacked any creative spark- it was pretentious, calculated, lame and boring. So sad that such a great museum can waste it's gorgeous space on such listless art, especially when there is so much killer art out there. Any number of artists could fill that space with well deserved exhibits. Concurrently in NY galleries at the time, there were two - Judith Schaechter and Greg Simkins. Or how about really curating a show about really being haunted? Maybe some Chris Mars, Travis Louie, Mark Ryden or Colette Calascione? There was a  familiar Warhol and a Rauschenberg to open it up, a Cindy Sherman and a not-so-strong Annette Messager. The only two new, fresh or moving images in the show are these, one is on the exhibit card (above) and the other is by Joan Jonas (below).

There seemed to be a plethora of snapshots, lacking quality composition and inventiveness as well. Still waiting... for the contemporary museums to get on the ball and show something different, deserving and contemporary.

Just off the top my head, a piece by Michael Ryan that would have been great in a "haunted" exhibit.

or this fantastic piece by Laurie Lipton...

And there is so much more out there...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Get Up Close With Brett Reichman at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

Simulated Masturbation

The current exhibit "Silence, Exile and Cunning" ends July 25th at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. It is worth the visit to see the two works that most impressed me. They were both by Brett Reichman and the technique shows outstanding mastery of his medium - watercolor and gouache. Getting up close to the pieces I was floored by his skills even if I wasn't crazy about the subject matter. Both were masturbation themed compositions with intestinal, sack-like props. They made me laugh with their overstated extensions. Brett's colors were beautiful, as was the cross hatch-like shading and his anatomical studies were unparalleled. The hands alone were breathtaking in their rendering. 
These two pieces really should be seen in person, up close and personal, even if it is just to study his style and ability.

Joshua and the Swan

MaMa Buzz Cafe, Erica B. Sheets Exhibit

Detail from top piece

Made the rounds of a number of Oakland art galleries last Wednesday but alas, many of them were closed. Of the ones that weren't- the only art worth blogging was found at Mama Buzz Cafe and Gallery. They had works by Erica B. Sheets up. The exhibit was titled "Celebrity Meat Seizure" and included a few new mixed media works. Intense, large assemblages with Mickey Mouse/ Angeline Jolie background cut outs. Some cool stuff. 

"As They See It" Exhibit, Our Favorite Picks, 941 Gallery

Posted here are some faves from the gallery's second and current show, As They See It, which opened Saturday night. Shooting Gallery and White Walls owner- Justin, just opened 941 in the Tenderloin. You enter thru a long narrow hall, past the bathroom and bundled art to a nice large and open space. Many of the pieces were familiar from previous exhibits. 

I really loved the 3 bunny/kangaroo pieces floating in their urban environs by the pretty Jessica Hess, not to mention the fantastic little neckpiece she created out of 3 vintage ties.

She graciously let me check out  the stitch work on the underside and wow, this was an art piece by itself!  

Isabel Samaras has a hilarious new painting of a Victorian woman getting serviced under her ballgown.

Scott Hove's new chandalier "cake" piece dominated the huge space with his usual sweet ferocity.

Akira Beard had a nice wall full of his wonderful mixed media portraits, some of the best stuff there. 

And here are a few other wonderful pieces... 

The artists contributing were Kevin Cyr, Jessica Hess, Isabel Samaras, Shawn Barber, Aaron Nagel, Eric White, Robert Burden, Coro, Dave Schubert, Jonathan Darby, Morgan Slade, Pedro Matos, Akira Beard, Danny Heller, Michael Forbes, Adam Caldwell, Scott Hove, and Derek Weisber.

Gallery Link

Friday, July 16, 2010

Christine McDonald's Bird of Prey

Visited the Arts Guild of Sonoma to gaze. The best piece in the house was this bird painting by artist Christine McDonald. Very commanding. The constraining collar or halo? - is a great addition, don't peck me! For house music they were spinning some Jesus and the Mary Chain which was a blessing to my ears.
Nice piece, Christine!

Claire Raymond's Art at Barking Dog

Why is it you seem to stumble upon the best art when you aren't looking for it? I have driven madly around towns, to galleries and museums on many a trip, only to find a few pieces that really stood out. But walk into a coffee shop and wham, great art hits you in the face. Realistically it probably has something to do with the fact that the business doesn't have to rely on the art sales to pay their rent. They can take a chance on non-Hallmark imagery, they can exhibit new talent - expressive art that speaks out. Even most established galleries (newbrow and lowbrow) seem to have to depend on "art stars" with a proven sales track record. The real world.
Went on a week-end trip to Sonoma recently. While I was on my usual out-of-town search for coffee (that will even come close to Peet's) I found Barking Dog Roasters. They make a damn good cappuccino and I was a happy girl.

The killer art on the walls made me even happier. Not a single image of a winery in the place! Paintings by local artist Claire Raymond filled the space. Every single one of them was kick-ass, some funny, some intense but all were riveting eye-candy. Mostly they were portraits of interesting imagined (or not?) characters. The mustard colored walls and poor lighting didn't help the art, but Claire's bold, expressive strokes and colors overcame the garish gold. Hard to take good photos of all of them, so here's the best of the lot. The one directly below is a collaboration with Nichol Gonzales.

Big kudos to Barking Dog for giving Claire and others a place to show their works. The pieces are very reasonably priced, down-right bargains, so if you are in the hood check out her work and pick up a piece for yourself. Couldn't find a website for her but if you do- please let me know!

Barking Dog Roasters Link