This week, three SF galleries take up three of art’s most timeless, fundamental pursuits: the rendering of landscape, the investigation of color, and the tropicalismo of 1960s Rio. —Okay, so the last one has yet to be officially inducted into the art historical canon. In any case, these shows promise robust visual and intellectual pick-me-ups for your Thursday and Saturday evenings.
Brazil in the Sixties
Could there be a more enticing exhibition title? In the wake of Michael Dweck’s sensational “Habana Libre” that spellbound the SF art world this Fall, here we have another suggestively transportive and healthily bronzed exhibition. As usual, the 21+ art space/lounge 111 Minna Gallery ups the ante.
Brazil in the Sixties consists of photos by Peter Solmssen, a LIFE Magazine photographer who would become Deputy Ambassador-at-Large for Cultural Affairs in the U.S. State Department, taken during a five-year term as American diplomat to Brazil.
Beyond capturing the iconic, fun-loving “tropicalismo” of Rio, these revelatory works find the artist equally engaged with the cooler climate and industrial character of São Paulo and the equally distinct, stimulating character of Salvador.
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 19 at 111 Minna Gallery, from 5pm – late
Gage Opdenbrouw, "Aspens 4", 2010, oil on canvas, 48" x 60", courtesy of Artzone 461 Gallery
Why Paint a Landscape?
Good question. If contemporary art is a practice that thrives off of pushing its own boundaries, landscape seems an exhausted resource – a fount of inspiration that Monet mined for all it was worth a good one hundred and fifty years ago. A landscape is a landscape; haven’t we moved on?
Artzone 461’s group exhibition promises to reveal just how wrong such conventional wisdom is. Subject to climate change, resource depletion and other man-wrought environmental degradation, a landscape is not just a landscape – or at least it threatens not to be. Contemporary landscape artists take on this worrisome fact in their representations, and they have an arsenal of cutting edge digital methods with which to do it. If you’re looking for breezy Impressionist rehashings, prepare to be thrillingly disappointed.
Also, in the side gallery make sure to check out Jane Fisher’s engrossing collection of not-so-subtlety voyeuristic figurative works, Under One Sun.
Why Paint a Landscape and Under One Sun run through February 26, at Artzone 461 Gallery, 461 Valencia Street. Opening Reception: Saturday, January 21 from 5 – 8pm
Stephen Giannetti, Spectral Set (hexaptych), 2011, 43" x 66", acrylic on linen, courtesy Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco
Stephen Giannetti: Spectral Circumstance
For over a century, artists have been investigating the physical and astoundingly emotional properties of color with an almost scientific method and resolve. Think Seurat’s painstaking pointillism, or Rothko’s ravishing, even spiritual color fields. Carrying the torch of this ongoing and ever-captivating project into the 21st century, Bay Area artist Stephen Giannetti now leaves Marx & Zavattero awash in pigment for the fifth time.
Using only poker chips, linen canvas and controlled blasts of spray paint, Giannetti has produced his most complex works to date: eight layer, circular pattern-based fields of vibrating color and translucency. Naturally, he leaves much of the work to the eye of the viewer, which is free to scan and combine to infinitely variable effect. Allow Giannetti’s canvases to put your senses to work; the effect will be surprising.
Spectral Circumstance runs through February 25 at Marx & Zavattero, 77 Geary Street, 2nd Floor. Opening Reception: Saturday, January 21 from 5 – 7pm