Angela Oswald, Hilla Heuber, Valerie Scott at SoCha Cafe

A few weeks ago I attended a group opening at SoCha Cafe. It is in the far southern end of the Mission District in San Francisco (or at the edge of Bernal Heights). I usually don’t find myself in this area unless I am on the short San Jose Avenue Freeway, but that’s a topic for another time.

One of the artists whose work I specifically came to see was Angela Oswald.

[Angela Oswald. (click image to enlarge)]

Her paintings have a surreal quality, organic but other-worldly. She also tends to use dark colors with a few light elements, a palette that was quite apparent in her pieces in this show. The painting in the image above also evoked an underwater landscape. These themes can be seen in her other work as well.

I was immediately drawn to two very geometric architectural-themed paintings by Hilla Hueber.

[Hilla Heuber. Blue Moon (2008).  (click image to enlarge)]

I like the clean straight lines of the images, and how they evoke structures and spaces within an imagined city. There are small details beyond the abstract shapes, like the standpipe in Blue Moon that add the sense of an urban setting. At the same time, she uses the color and geometry to play with our sense of space – they seem to be simultaneously interior and exterior views. (Indeed, the title “Inside Out” suggests that this ambiguity is deliberate.)

[Hilla Heuber. Inside Out (2008).  (click image to enlarge)]

Although not included in this show, Hueber also does photography. I liked her “remixes” of Richard Serra’s sculpture in Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park as well as her images of the photogenic Contemporary Jewish Museum here in San Francisco.

I was also introduced to Valerie Scott, who presented several large-scale paintings in the front room of the cafe. Her paintings were very abstract but intended to convey her “joy, depression and sorrow”.

[Valerie Scott. Untitled.  (Click image to enlarge)]

Her largest piece Untitled featured amorphous areas of primary colors (red, blue and yellow) with fuzzy edges. Although it appears vertically online, it was hung horizontally at the show. By contrast, Can’t See the Forest For The Trees focused on shades of green and more minimal gestures.

[Valerie Scott. Can’t See the Forest for the Trees.  (Click image to enlarge)]

Although the shapes were more sparse, the painting itself had a strong texture. It looked a bit like an areal view of a landscape. Some of Scott’s newer pieces (such as Mo and Blowin’ in the Wind, which I don’t think were part of the show) are quite different, and have much more defined shapes and sharper contrast.

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