Thursday, November 01, 2012

Drawings and Air Conditioning

A repost of back in August/September.

For a completely understated, quiet, subtle experience; you should make an appointment to see Front Gallery's new show "Drawings and Air Conditioning." Artworks by Michael Blair, Biff Bolen, Clarence Chun, Megan Harrison, and Erin Hunt make for a nice grouping of works on paper. Artist run Front Gallery is the perfect place to display these small, but impactful works.

I am used to seeing large paintings on canvas by Michael Blair, so to see these playful works on paper was like seeing another side to his personality. Blair has built up a kind of line drawn scaffolding. These drawings seem to take on a serious face. When it comes to painting, Biff Bolen seems to be a kindred spirit to Blair’s work, though Bolen's paintings tend to use more graphic elements. However, in these drawings, Bolen is more loose with his brush strokes than his paintings. Bolen has created sketches that could easily be incorporated into new paintings. To me, these drawings have a clumsy charm, that conjures up the feelings of childhood. Clarence Chun takes a highly polished graphic approach with reference illustrated designs with a hint of comic book character action, then Chun blends it into an almost random event recorded on paper. You can’t help but feel the motion and action lines spinning off the page.

Erin Hunt is focused on the idea of object. Centered on the page, her still life drawings are wateriery and hazy. Like Bolen’s sketchy by nature tone, Hunt could easily insert these musings into a larger work, but the drawings are also strong as stand alone studies. With Erin’s washed out pictures, I am reminded of the painter Luc Tuymans. Erin uses less of a defined edge, but both use white and a washed out look effectively. Megan Harrison makes her drawings brick by brick intermingled with a hazy mist of grey clouds and reflective water. The shift between solid, liquid, and gas is dramatic, and flows fluidly through her composition.

Front Gallery is an artist run gallery and part of the alternative space trend. San Francisco’s legendary gallerist Margo Leavin claims she is closing her gallery because artists are gravitating more towards these alternative spaces. Sounds to me like Front Gallery owner, Sharon is part of a growing vanguard who provides artists a good space to take some risks. Find your way over to the gallery on Saturday from 1 to 4 or make an appointment with her. This group show will be up till September 8th..

Installation View
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