Featured Artist: Leslie Lewis Sigler

Artist and fellow Austinite-turned-Californian, Leslie Lewis Sigler has recently put together a solo show at the Faulkner Gallery West titled, “Objects of My Reflection.” In their review, the Santa Barbara News-Press wrote:

In this show, Sigler brings a meditative, realistic still life aesthetic, a painterly eye and attention to objects both mundane and ceremonial. Shiny sterling silver vessels and heirlooms hang happily alongside lovingly fastidious paintings of a desk fan, an espresso pot and a vintage telephone, looking gracefully iconic in this setting.

Some of the more “precious” objects and heirlooms are presented in triptychs and other multiple panel contexts, giving works like “Revival” and “Family of Heirlooms” the character of personality-endowed object worship and transformation into art. From the evidence here, Sigler has a real gift, as a painter and thinker about how painting functions.

I couldn’t agree more. One of my favorite of her most recent paintings, Hand-Me-Downs (below), is a rare example of an image that captures the silent beauty of a still life, while at the same time allowing the viewer to understand an open-ended narrative that gives the painting staying-power. These are works with which you can live; they subtly maintain your interest, remaining beautiful because they always have something new to say.

Another of my favorite pieces, Scalloped Creamer, was recently part of Atkinson Gallery‘s Small Images show. Again, Leslie is able to take a still life and make it something more. It is beautiful, but it is also a cold, hard object yearning for warmth and life that it can only reflect.

I’m looking forward to following this series as it continues to grow, quietly telling a library of stories with a vocabulary of polished surfaces and discreet compositions.

What: Objects of My Reflection and other works by Leslie Lewis Sigler
Where: several Santa Barbara galleries and her site
When: ongoing
Ambiance: still lifes that move the imagination

The Paper Quilt Project and sculpture by Nancy Mintz

The Paper Quilt Project is showing concurrently at the Berkeley Art Center and Traywick Contemporary through December. I was drawn to the Traywick opening this Saturday both by the lure of work-on-paper and the hope of finding new takes on repeated shape, collage, and other quilty sensibilities. Admittedly, I left the show suspecting that the real power pieces must all be housed at the BAC, because most of the paper pieces at Traywick were pretty tame. The booklet, however, promises wonderful surprises, so I’ll be sure to make it over to the other site.

For me, the hit of the current Traywick collection was new sculpture in the entryway by artist (and fellow Kala-ite) Nancy Mintz. Her walking houses, yearning ladders, and caged eggs continue the thought-provoking study of motherhood that she began at Traywick with her show last March.

Event: The Paper Quilt Project
Where: Berkeley Art Center and Traywick Contemporary
When: October 15 – December 4, 2011
Ambiance: (Traywick) a sleek multi-level, multi-nooked home/gallery inside a former Masonic Temple

Alison Kendall at Mina Dresden Gallery

A particularly exciting roller coaster of a cab ride formed the bridge between Stella Ebner’s opening at the SFMOMA artist gallery and “Bound By A Common Geography,” new work by Alison Kendall and Clare Judith Bowers at Mina Dresden in San Francisco. A good night for openings.

Kendall and Bowers’s paintings hang well together with shared wood and putty tones. This buffalo map of the U.S. was one of our favorites from Kendall’s science illustration-inspired work:

Event: Bound By A Common Geography
Venue: Mina Dresden Gallery
Dates: November 11 – December 12, 2010
Ambiance: narrow, wooden-floored room and memories of the Field Museum

Shawn HibmaCronan and Nemo Gould at the Oakland Museum

Thanks to Pat Epstein for tipping me off to this opening at the Oakland Museum on Thursday: In its sculpture court and gallery 555, the Oakland Museum has organized a show of furniture-artists-turned-inventors.
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[NemoGould1.jpg]Shawn HibmaCronan‘s get-away school desk and other personal movement machines look like materialized daydreams, while Nemo Gould‘s Victorian robots remind me of sculptures that might have existed in the collection of Prince Armitage Ranjit Dakkar – it could have been the artist’s name which inspired the connection, but it could also have been the giant moving squid on 12th street…

Event: Shawn HibmaCronan and Nemo Gould at the Oakland Museum
Venue: the sculpture court and gallery 555
Dates: May 27 – July 30, 2010
Ambiance: sunny, sanded, and polished

San Francisco Open Studios

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This Saturday and Sunday from 11-6, I will be meeting and greeting in a gallery space in SOMA (South of Market) for the third weekend of San Francisco Open Studios. Stop on by if you can for some art and snacks (there will be snacks) at 185 Clara St. at 5th St. (Yes, that alley-like bit of concrete that looks like it couldn’t possibly be a real street is where you turn. 185 has a chartreuse door.)

All prints will be selling for approximately 50% of their normal price (no gallery commission) so stop by for a great deal from five very nice and friendly artists.

Event: San Francisco Open Studios
Venue: 185 Clara St. at 5th St.
Dates: October 24 & 25
Ambiance: the floor used to be a roof, so you cannot play marbles or sit in office chairs, but you can look at art

California in Relief

The Hearst Art Gallery at St. Mary’s College is currently exhibiting California in Relief: A History in Wood and Linocut Prints, which we were able to visit this weekend. The relief prints are displayed chronologically (mostly…there are some confusing corners) and begin in the late 19th century with some beautiful woodcuts with eastern influences. There is a Gustave Baumann print, Redwoods. It’s not my favorite of his, but fun to see the oatmeal paper and heart-in-the-hand up close.My favorite by far was a Linda Lee Boyd print, Pouring Concrete III which is an ode to everything that the woodcut can provide – the fine grain on the man’s face and shirt lifted subtly with an electric engraver set against the stark flatness of a thickly inked brayer.

The curators also did an excellent job with the wall colors; deep, rich hues behind the large black and white woodcuts from the 60s enlivened what could have been a very bland experience.
Worth the trip for a half-lit walk through history…

Show: California in Relief: A History in Wood and Linocut Prints
Venue: Hearst Art Gallery, St. Mary’s College of California
Dates: July 25 – September 20, 2009
Ambiance: library-esque gallery nestled in Spanish mission

I always paint better on other people’s paper.

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Many thanks to Karl Kasten who donated several packages of very nice paper to the Monoprint Marathon volunteers. I now have a few sheets of 500 lb. cold press and I wonder if the botanical gardens would be a worthy field trip… Apparently, there is a corpse flower there on the verge of a bloom.

Also, Kala is having a retrospective of Karl Kasten’s work on August 2nd. Tickets and books are available here. It looks like it will be very interesting.