Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday picks: Kerri Johnson, Emily Payne and Brian Dettner

 It's nice to have some time to view new work. School started last week and it's been crazy busy so I was glad to have a day to just walk around, see what's going on and find some time to put up some new posts.

"Hoover", Kerri Lee Johnson (SF Moma)
At the SF MOMA rental gallery in Ft. Mason.
Located where San Francisco meets the water at Ft. Mason, the SF MOMA rental gallery promotes Northern California art by hosting eight exhibitions each year, presenting a diverse selection of work.

They are currently showing works by three very different artists, David Ivan Clark, Kerri Lee Johnson and Emily Payne (up through October 9th). I really liked the work by Emily Payne, which was very different than a lot of work that I’ve been viewing by contemporary Northern California artists. It's fresh with an intriguing use of materials, light, open, airy and yet with a tongue-in-cheek humor that's literary as well as artistic.

Some of her pieces incorporate wire sculptures as well as the shadows they cast in paint on paper. Each piece has an ethereal quality, suggesting something more than the immediately visible. Other pieces, on paper, are comprised of gouache layered over an X-Acto knife marks and remind me, as the website says, of ocean waves. . She works with some distinctive media – books, wire, pins and space. Educated at SFSU and Oberlin in both academic and artistic disciplines, her works are unique, fun and thoughtful. Her webpage is well-written, poetic and makes insightful observations about making art and connecting through art making:

On a plane ride to the East Coast, I sat next to a man who was a paper specialist. It was the most stormy and turbulent flight I have ever been on but, like a foodie exchanging recipes with a master chef, I was captivated for one and a half hours talking about paper. He may have been the only person who could understand the incredible satisfaction of folding and tearing a piece of BFK Rives paper with a bone folder or watching paint and water be absorbed on its surface. It was like we were talking about a friend we knew separately but dearly loved.”
Her blog:

Kerri Lee Johnson, like Clark and Payne, is influenced by surroundings, natural and manufactured, historical and fantastical. The figures in Johnson's drawings are part of a fanciful society where ceremonial rituals are performed. They reminded me of a far more sophisticated and intelligent take on the “cartoon” art that is currently so popular.
Images on Flickr:

The latest news is that the gallery has decided to also have a CLOSING RECEPTION on Saturday, October 3, 3:30-5:30 to make up for the difficulties in getting into the city during the bridge closing.

Anna's art picks for Friday are up up at BAAQ :  She includes one of my favorite contemporary artists, Brian Dettmer. The master of the altered book form, Dtttmer carves into his books, one layer at a time. What emerges is a unique form, part sculpture, part book, dreamlike, surrealistic, poetic, a marvel and a mystery.

"Choosing either to excise images or leave them intact is, of course, a binary, digital process, and Dettmer’s archaeological excavation, one page at time, could be diagrammed with a complex decision tree, the final work being the solution. While the process is simple, the results are not. The dead imagery and verbiage of the old books comes alive as the accretions fall away, as pictures stripped of darkened varnish lighten and brighten. The freed elements engage each other in new ways, like the incongruously juxtaposed objects in Dadaist or Surrealist collages. Dettmer: “Images and words … slip from field to field when they are extracted from their original context, and [even] sterile, scientific elements can become very poetic and relevant in new ways when they are exposed in a new context.” The books become microcosms or dioramas – vanished worlds in their glorious plenitude, newly revealed and preserved."

Through September 30th: 
Brian Dettmer's web site:
Images from Toomey Tourell website 
Dettmer's flickr page:


Maggie said...

Wonderful. Stirs my imagination...thank you.

namastenancy said...

It's nice to know that we are way ahead of the curve on Dettmer. Baker just reviewed him in the Chron but I reviewed his last show at Toomey Turrell over a year ago and Anna posted a review on BAAQ on Friday. Are we on top of the SF Art Scene or what?