Kearny Street Workshop’s APAture 2014 festival opened last Friday with its visual arts showcase at Arc Gallery. The show featured a diverse collection of works in different media by emerging Bay Area artists.
Although there were quite a few pieces in the show, the gallery presentation was clean and spacious, which always makes it more inviting to spend time with art. There was also a good balance of three-dimensional pieces in the show, so that it wasn’t confined to the walls.
Situated in the center of the main gallery was a set of stoneware heads by featured artist Victoria Jang.
The heads appear artificial, identical fabrications reminiscent of characters in anime. But they were each hand sculpted from a traditional process of stoneware and glaze and contain visible flaws. The glaze accentuates the flaws and brings them out for the viewer.
Another sculptural piece that made strong use of the space was Marya Krogstad’s Stone Hills. This visually simple piece was a bringing together of many elements, including bell heather plants, concrete blocks, mirrors, and homemade telescope.
Nancy Otto’s large abacus with hand-blown glass beads in visually inviting in itself. But as one gets closer, one realizes the beads each bear a headline related to the effects of climate change.
It is a bit of a mystery how the form of this ancient computing device and climate change are related.
There were also several video installations in the exhibition, including this rather captivating and colorful video performance by Laura Kim.
Kim places herself in a space filled with basic colors and shapes, taking on the poses and expressions common in popular music videos and live performance. The geometric quality made it fit well as a contrast with the more organic and soft sculptural works. It was also just plain fun to watch.
Another work that was fun but also very meticulously crafted was Yuki Maruyama’s sticker drawings. One first sees a large nebulous field of small red dots, but as one gets closer one can see that each is an individual drawing in itself.
The small nature of each drawing and the somewhat comical or suggestive quality in many of them invites the viewer to keep looking at them one by one, and indeed to come back a few times during a visit to the exhibition.
There were of course more traditional two-dimensional hanging works as well, including this watercolor by Cathy Lu entitled Girls Playing (float), a riff on the theme of “boys playing” common in traditional Chinese art.
A darker and more tragic tone is present in Lana Dandan’s digitally processed photographs depicting buildings in Beirut, Lebanon, bearing scars from that’s country’s civil war.
Despite the emotional tone, I did find myself drawn to the beauty of the buildings themselves, simple modern forms in concrete.
The mathematical concepts and processes in Vincent Yin’s ink-on-paper works also caught my attention. Yin attempts to answer the question “what does probability look like” by representing numerical data with drops in different ratios of color.
It is interesting to step back and look at the whole rather than the individual elements.
There are more works at the show beyond what I am able to cover. I recommend stopping by to see it at Arc Studios, 1246 Folsom Street in San Francisco, before it closes this weekend.
As a final disclosure, although I have covered quite a few of Kearny Street Workshop’s programs in the past here on CatSynth, this is the first time I am doing so since joining the organizations board of directors. It’s an exciting role to take on, but I do plan to continue providing reports on APAture and other events.