Urban Visions by Eight Bay Area Artists
Our show has been extended by popular demand
Additional Artist receptions:
Friday, April 5, 6pm to 9pm
Friday, April 12, 6pm to 9pm
Also open by appointment
Sherrod Blankner Paintings
Artist StatementSherrod Blankner paints urban scenes to express her empathy for the landscape around her. She is deeply attached to places she has lived and creates artwork to capture the mood of certain familiar scenes. Her series “Alameda” was inspired by an unexpected trip to the Alameda Air Station on a cold, rainy January day, for a birthday party. In the midst of hurrying to one of the hangers, Ms. Blankner was struck by the beauty of the sun shining on the old navy buildings after the rain in the pale winter light. The grand scale of the buildings and the leftover shipyard speaks of a different, World War II era, that still lingers in the airstrip.
Gabriele Bungardt Paintings
Artist StatementGabriele Bungardt describes the world as she sees it, the people, animals and objects who inhabit this world and the situations that they find themselves in, through paint. In her artwork the manipulation of paint as a material that can hold a narrative is essential. Broad brushstrokes suffused with energy and intent cover the canvas building complicated social scenarios and intimate still-life commentary with consummate skill and complete sincerity. Her artwork focuses on contemporary life viewed through that most historic of lenses, painting. Whilst remaining relaxed and painterly her images bring objects and relationships encountered routinely into sharp focus as they become meditations on social and economic values. Her treatment of light suffuses the paintings, drawing attention to minute detail and rendering figures, both isolated and in groups, through the interplay of light and shadow as it wraps around subject and environment. Although her subjects are, for the most part, humble and unassuming, the physical pleasure and tactile sensibility associated with the act of painting is essential to her artwork.
Mi’Chelle Fredrick Drawings, Paintings
Artist StatementGraphite and watercolor are my primary mediums. I typically use them as separate mediums. Recently I have begun to explore techniques that blend the two mediums in a single image. Introducing a spark of color within a graphite drawing seems to add a slightly surreal dimension to the work. For this exhibit, I have created a series of drawings called “Through the Window – City Stories”. These drawings offer a glimpse into the lives of people we might find in any urban setting. My imaginary city dwellers represent the invisible poor as well as those living in luxury – each existing behind a protective facade in a world we usually cannot enter without their permission. They are people we might pass on any sidewalk or see through any window. They are strangers, yet their stories are somehow familiar. Chris Johnson Video, Photography
Chris Johnson’s Questionbridge Project has been shown at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and in Museums across the Nation.
Artist StatementThe Question Bridge project emerged when, in 1996 I was commissioned by the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego to produce a video piece dealing in some way with race as part of a multi-media exhibition. The result was a very rough experimental project that tried to show how different familiar concepts like “race” look from within a racial group when compared to the view from without. I think of Question Bridge as essentially a process based upon a few basic principles: – First, consider the significant divisions that exist within a clearly defined demographic; – Next, create a setting where both sides feel safe to express sincere questions they have for the other, and then, in a similar way, give the other side an opportunity to express relevant answers to those questions. Black people who live their lives in working-class inner-city neighborhoods, have very different views of the world and themselves, than do those who spend all of their time in white-dominated parts of our culture. At a time when children are killing children in the black community, whose job is it to nurture these children? This is just one example of the important and penetrating questions and answers. The process of looking inward to find long-held but perhaps unexpressed questions, or to finally voice answers to questions and assumptions that they have lived under for years has made this project possible.
Rob Nehring Metal Sculpture
Artist StatementRob Nehring received his BFA from the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin in Inter-arts that included theatre, dance and sculpture. After professionally dancing for 17 years and 18 years in the candy business, he dropped everything to take a class at The Crucible. An accomplished artist, Rob’s sculptures are in galleries and part of private collections throughout the US. Rob began at the Crucible as a volunteer in 2002 and now serves as the organization’s Adult Program Director.
Fortune Sitole Mixed Media
Artist StatementI want to foster an awareness of the conditions suffered by South Africans, who create makeshift shelters by optimizing outside space and leftover materials – metal, tires, stones, etc., whatever they can find to build their homes. Fashioning my work as homage to my ancestors, family and community, these pieces are a reminder of the day-to-day life in black South African townships. But shanties exist throughout the world and my art actually tells a story of the universality of poverty. The characters in my scenes are about communities who have overcome adversity and have progressed into the 21st century. Complex dimensions allow a peek down streets at women washing clothes, children playing, girls braiding hair and wandering drunken fathers. Pictures of everyday events, ironically set against the backdrop of vivid dawns and dusks, reflect the darker issues of economic enslavement, discrimination, poverty and hardships. Shanties are slowly disappearing from South Africa’s landscape. Redevelopment and investment begin to paint a brighter picture for the future of South Africans, an encouraging example for the people of the world who are experiencing poverty today.
Avi Stachenfeld Photography
Artist StatementRelatively new to photography, and only recently moving from ‘nature’ to ‘people’, Avi Stachenfeld takes photographs in a way that dignifies the subject and rarely proclaims either the presence or the point of view of the photographer except in the broadest definition of humanism: a man heading home after a day’s work; teens gathering after school in the subway; young Chassids walking in single line; a young woman waiting for a night train; a guard near Ground Zero riding the escalator; a young girl curious about the stranger with the camera. Mr. Stachenfeld approaches photography with a painterly eye, the expressive gesture manifesting itself as he captures the calm within the more dynamic environment. These works are beautifully composed with a restraint and appreciation of scale that is not always evident in photography. Each is a moment within a moment, a passion subsumed, a question left unasked. Mr. Stachenfeld uses this strength of composition to locate content within the human drama. An old man…a young artist. We look forward to his new work.
Mark Zaffron Print Making
Artist StatementI find that making art is about satisfying a series of curiosities–visual, technical, and intellectual. I enjoy the challenge of giving visual and physical form to what was once an abstract notion. Thematically, my work is concerned with a long-held fascination with evolution as it applies to human environments. With the neighborhoods surrounding my studio as subject, the work examines adaptation, mutation, and the influence of a specific environment on the people and infrastructure. The images are composed of many layers of information that offer a great deal of visual complexity with which to experiment. Similarly, I explore numerous ideas borrowed from diverse fields of inquiry–particle physics, abstract mathematics, economics, anthropology, etc. These generate contextual layers to create a conceptual complexity that is central to the work. Mark Zaffron is Founder and Director of the Center for Research, Art, Technology & Education (The CRATE), a non-profit printmaking studio in Oakland. Zaffron has taught Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Academy of Art University. He has been a visiting artist at numerous institutions including Cooper Union, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, The Corcoran, The Museo Nacional in Buenos Aires, and the Galilee Intaglio Studio in Israel. His work has been prominently featured at venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Seattle Art Museum Gallery, Plains Art Museum, Barret House Galleries in New York, Triton Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artist’s Gallery. The gallery also showcases a Creative Collaboration between Avi Stachenfeld, photographer and Gabriele Bungardt, painter An intriguing collaboration between Ms. Bungardt and Mr. Stachenfeld offers a rare opportunity to experience different interpretations of the same scene by these two artists. Subjects carefully caught and held in suspended animation by Mr. Stachenfeld seem to have been reanimated in Ms. Bungardt’s paintings. It is as if figures captured by the photographer come to life in the paintings, drawing the viewer into the action.