Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Allison Adams At the SF MoMA's Artists Gallery at Ft. Mason

"I seek the outdoors and that feeling of connection as much as possible, but I am still within this urban environment most of the time, which can sometimes feel isolating. I reflect and muse upon all that I experience and see here and seek out the Nature hidden under asphalt, pavement, and planted green lawn. " Allison Adams

Allison Adams, Pathway (now on exhibit at the SF MOMA Artists Gallery)

At the current show in The Loft space at SF MOMA's Ft Mason gallery, Curator Renee de Cossio has paired Adams' woven textile forms with Stern's more open and airy pieces. Using an old-fashioned loom four harness loom, Adams uses recycled plastic as well as wire, monofilament, audio and video tape to create asymmetrical woven pieces and three-dimensional sculptural pieces. The woven pieces are shinny and dense, glittering with bits of recycled material, integrated into the irregular grids. The Nebula pieces are more open, and very evocative of the star clusters from which they get their name. Many of the woven textile pieces are enclosed within dark frames which does not, in my opinion, allow their need for visual expansive space. The lighter framed pieces are more successful because the frame disappears against the wall, allowing the viewer to be pulled in far enough to examine the superb craft of the artist as well as the inventive use of recycled materials.  

Allison Adams, Swirl Nebula III

 Unfortunately, Adams' three-dimensional pieces and Stern's airy abstractions (some of which are on unframed paper) don't always work well together -- or, to be more accurate, the Loft's gallery space is too small to allow each artist's work to claim its visual territory. I was reminded of SF MoMA's exhibit in which they combined pieces by Ansel Adams and Georgia O'Keefe. In many instances, Adams' dark, glossy photographs sucked energy from O'Keefe's more delicate and colorful abstractions. A 2009 show at the Clark Museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts,  which paired O'Keefe and Dove was more successful. Both those artists shared a painterly vision and a similar technique and palate. Yet I understand why the curator packed the small Loft gallery with these pieces. They are unique and deserve to be shown. But, given the gallery situation in San Francisco, artists like Adams and Stern have to fight for recognition in a town with too little space for serious artists.

http://www.allysunkadams.com
SFMOMA Artists Gallery at Fort Mason
Building A, Fort Mason Center
San Francisco, CA 94123 USA
415.441.4777
Hours : Tuesday - Saturday, 11:30 a.m. - 5:30
http://www.sfmoma.org/pages
All images courtesy of SF MOMA Artists Gallery and the artist

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