New galleries and emerging artists show work in SoMa, while the San Francisco Art Institute brings Gutai, an incredibly cool but underrecognized Japanese postwar artist collective, into dialogue with the present. Motorcycling and mud wrestling performances are on the agenda this week; don't miss out.
Experimental Exhibition of Modern Art to Challenge the Mid-Winter Burning Sun: Gutai Historical Survey and Contemporary Response, at SFAI's Walter and McBean Galleries
Those unfamiliar with Gutai are in for a treat. The name refers to a Japanese modern art collective that emerged in the 1950s – they were roughly contemporaneous with the American abstract expressionists and, on the surface, seemingly akin. The Gutai artists created abstract work that they threw their whole bodies into, throwing paint, smashing paint bottles, wrestling mud and leaping through sheets of paper. But the movement wasn't American; it had a distinctive Japanese and spiritual inflection.
This much-needed exhibition, curated by John Held, Jr. and Andrew McClintock, presents a number of original Gutai works in addition to a fascinating array of contemporary responses. Do not miss the opening reception, which will include live, site-specific performances reprising some classic, enervated Gutai pieces.
Gutai Historical Survey and Contemporary Response runs from February 8 through March 30 at SFAI's Walter and McBean Galleries, 800 Chestnut Street. Opening reception: Friday, February 8 from 6 - 9pm
Alex Kanevsky; The Fox and the Hedgehog, at Dolby Chadwick Gallery
For his sixth solo show at Dolby Chadwick, Russian-born painter Alex Kanevsky draws inspiration from a peculiar yet strangely compelling aphorism: "the fox knows many little things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." Kanevsky's rich, striking oil paintings provide glimpses of spaces and figures, often collapsing temporalities and fragmenting perspectives – effectively dancing between the fox's view and that of the hedgehog. Through this series, he hopes to visually illuminate the meaning behind the phrase.
The Fox and the Hedgehog runs from February 7 through March 2 at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, 210 Post Street. Opening reception: Thursday, February 7 from 5:30 - 7:30pm
Project One Walls, at Project One Gallery
Project One Gallery and its director, Brooke Waterhouse, have announced an ongoing series celebrating the art form of the mural. The inaugural exhibition, curated by Waterhouse and White Walls founder Justin Giarla, will populate Project One's 3,200 square foot Design District space with large works by six artists: Ben Eine, Casey Gray, Ricardo Richey (Apex), Jet Martinez, Rene Garcia Jr., Nick Flatt. Expect styles ranging from graffiti/street art, to Mexican folk art, to reconfigured decorative motifs, all scaled to impress.
Opening reception: Thursday, February 7 at 7pm, at Project One, 251 Rhode Island Street
The Looking Glass: Refraction through the Female Gaze, at Mirus Gallery
Mirus Gallery, a new addition to the ever-growing SoMa art scene, presents a group show consisting of fourteen female artists, critically taking on representations of femininity in art. Kimberly Brooks, Rachel Walker, Mercedes Helnwein, Claire Pestaille and Casey O'Connell, among others, will show predominantly figurative work in collage, oil, acrylic and gouache that rethinks typical depictions of the female body with bold, often reflexive honesty.
The Looking Glass: Refraction through the Female Gaze runs from February 9 through March 2 at Mirus Gallery, 540 Howard Street. Opening reception: Saturday, February 9 from 6 - 10pm
Seren Moran, at Paolo Mejia Art Gallery & Design Studio
Seren Moran, an emerging Bay Area artist, exhibits a series of paintings inspired by a recent trip to Brazil. Vivid in color and often awry in perspective, sometimes to the point of geometric abstraction, the works capture an evocative ambience belonging to the South American country. "I see painting as being alive; it moves, in shapes and textures and depth," says the artist. "It can have energy or be calm, can be stubborn or unsure, or everything at once. And I view my paintings as accurate depictions of the images from which they are inspired."
Seren Moran runs through February 24 at Paolo Mejia Art Gallery & Design Studio, 4343 #B 3rd. Street. Opening reception: Sunday, February 10 from 2 - 5pm