Friday, October 26, 2012

David Tomb at Electric Works, International Orange, Burchfield and Meatyard and more

David Tomb at Electric Works: The exhibition features the iconic and critically endangered Great Philippine Eagle and other endemic birds of the Philippines, including the Rufous Hornbill.

Tomb's realistic delicate paintings of endangered birds are collaged on paper to create a subtle three-dimensional effect. The paper is then mounted on frame so as not to obscure the deckle edge.

There are approximately a dozen watercolors of these magnificent birds. One wall is completely covered by a 12-foot high, 15-foot wide wall piece of a Philippine Eagle nest site. While the wall mural is gorgeous, one of the birds looks like he is having a seriously bad hair day. But then, given that the whole habitat is under attack, he's probably "just" having a bad life.

It is a surrealistic experience to stand in the gallery, surrounded by tropical plants and with paintings covering the walls,  while listening to bird song. Outside is the Mission, noisy, gritty, and definitely urban. Inside - a magic land under threat from overpopulation and deforestation. Birdsong sound effects in the gallery:

"Making artwork of the birds is a way to connect and personalize my experience of seeing the birds." Tomb relates. “The ultimate goal is to have people think: 'That animal is incredible.'"

The art of saving the Philippine eagle:
 (Images courtesy of Electric Works).

 "International Orange: Artists Respond to the Golden Gate Bridge at 75." The final weekend to see an ambitious ensemble of celebratory installations by 16 contemporary artists, anchored by Doug Hall's engulfing two-channel projected video and Bill Fontana's real-time sound and video pulse-taking of the bridge itself.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 25)-Sunday. Through Sunday. Fort Point, S.F. Free. (415) 556-1693.

Burchfield and Meayward at Fraenkel

The Fraenkel Gallery has paired up the photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard and the watercolors of Charles Burchfield. Both were American, one a photographer, the other a painter. Although they never met, their work shares a belief in the transcendental aspects of nature.

While each portion of the show is interesting, the pairing doesn’t really work. Meatyard's dense black shiny photographs pull the eye away from the more delicate flow of Burchfield's paintings.

Nevertheless, here are more Burchfield's here than anywhere else in the Bay Area. It is a revelation to see his work in person, so catch the show quickly as it goes down on Saturday.

Charles Burchfield/Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Watercolors and photographs. Through next Saturday. Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary St., S.F. (415) 981-4661. Photographs courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery.

 Artist: Debbie Fimrite. Not satisfied with simply having an impossibly tiny waist, Barbie continued dieting and her features have become truly skeletal.

Don't forget the kickiest, funniest and maybe most transgressive show in town:

"Altered Barbie." The labs at Mattel probably never envisioned - and certainly never authorized - these mutations of pop icons Barbie and Ken.

Their plastic heads and bodies, not to mention their cultural baggage, become fodder for creative reuse yet again this year. Sex, religion, drugs, politics, fashion and surreal transformations come to the fore in the work of more than 30 artists from around the world.

1-8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. 50 Shotwell St., S.F. (415) 863-9673.

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