A number of downtown galleries in San Francisco stay open late on the first Thursday of the month, an event I have known about for a while (and even attended occasionally before moving to the city). Here are a few of notable items from the most recent “First Thursday”:
Now that I have large walls, I am actually looking for large abstract pieces, like the works of Ricardo Mazal at Elins Eagles-Smith Gallery. Several of these would have worked quite well. Unfortunately, these “monumental paintings” come with “monumental prices.” I’m not one to put down all high-priced art automatically, but I do sometimes find the pricing of art to be a bit of a mystery.
Sometimes abstract is “too abstract,” even for unapologetic modernists. Such were the large monochromatic and gradient works of Ruth Pastine. These could actually work quite well, on large bare white walls, but they would get lost in an environment with other activity and texture. Such stark paintings need space to themselves.
More down-to-earth are the offerings of the Hang Gallery, from which I have acquired some artworks in the past. This months show at the Annex, called “Give and Take”, was one of the better ones I have seen in the while. It featured more traditionally abstract paintings (Hang often seems to feature contemporary mixed-media works in the Annex), such as the work of Phillip Hua. Although not as large as some of the others featured in this article, I could definitely see one of Hua’s paintings hanging in CatSynth HQ. His work is an interesting mixture of abstraction and “industrial grit”, with moments that seem recognizable.
One “recognizable” image was Back Up by Carolyn Meyer, also at Hang. I’m pretty sure this is yet another view of the I-80 freeway through my neighborhood, as I have describes in previous articles such as the recent March “walking tour” and our highway underpass photographs. But what does it mean to see a similar scene so “painted”? It’s something entirely different from the photos, or real life.
And of course, we could not go without mentioning this delightful feline-themed work Spell by Ulrike Palmbach at the Stephen Wirtz Gallery:
It always comes back to cats here at CatSynth, doesn’t it?
This article was included in the April 9 Carnival of Cities.