State: Past

Julianne Wallace Sterling: PANDEMIC MOTHERLAND

So much has been said about an unprecedented year that it’s no longer interesting to repeat. However, at the beginning of the pandemic and social unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd, Julianne Wallace Sterling began saving her newspapers from 2020, knowing that she might want to comment artistically.
Sterling has long drawn from the rich history of portrait painting with her work, and here she returns to painting portraits of loved friends, women and children, all living through a year unlike any other.  In addition to the portraits, the newspapers were saved and collaged onto panel and acetate for an installation that is a memorial to a year that didn’t have to be this way.

Julianne Wallace Sterling is a Bay Area painter born in Southern California. She graduated from UC Riverside with a BS in Economics and pursued post-baccalaureate studies in Art at San Francisco State.  Sterling’s work has been exhibited at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery in Boston, Dacia Gallery in New York, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in Novato and Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland.  Her work was selected for A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn’s 9th Biennial in 2011 and she was awarded first prize at Marin Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2010 Juried Annual.

Most recently, Sterling’s portrait Specialist Murphy was selected for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2019, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Washington, D.C.

Sterling’s work has been written about in the San Francisco Chronicle, art ltd., the East Bay Express, 7×7, and Art in New England.

All work listed below is for sale. Click on the image to purchase.

Roads Open, 2021, oil on metal traffic sign, 24"x 30", $3000
Kingston, 2021, oil on metal traffic sign, 30" x 30", $3000
Pandemic Motherland: Rooted,2020, oil and collage on panel, 52" x 60", $8500
Pandemic Motherland: The Pinaud Women, 2021, original oil and collage on panel, 52" x 60", $8500
It Didn't Have To Be This Way, 2021, collage, 10’ x 12’, $8500


Elizabeth Sher: SURREALITY

Elizabeth Sher’s artwork over the last decade has been inspired by residencies in other countries. She makes small scale works abroad, brings them back to her Oakland studio, and lets them evolve into more finished pieces. This year, Covid-19 made travel impossible. Starting in mid-March, Sher sheltered in place at a cottage on the Russian River where everything was closed and time slowed down. For three months this satellite studio became a refuge, its own unique kind of artist residency.

Sher had a tablet of graph paper and became obsessed with drawing x’s and o’s in, on, over and around the field of teal squares. She states, “While love (o’s and x’s) can’t fix everything, it’s still important to hold onto, especially in frightening times.” Repeated mark-making became a calming physical mantra, resulting in the series Graphing an Uncertain Future.

Soon came the fires: dense smoke, scary orange skies, devastation. Visibility was very low. This, along with news stories repeating endlessly, made it hard to see clearly. The series Smoke Screens is her response to the lack of clarity on so many fronts.

What’s Inside These Shorts? (in the video alcove) is a 20-minute reel of short videos made during the past year – a time for reassessment.
Elizabeth Sher is a Bay Area artist and filmmaker and Professor Emeritus of Art at the California College of the Arts where she taught Painting and Media Arts for over 3 decades.

Sher’s drawings, prints, paintings and artist books are included in the collections of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Fine Arts Museum of California, San Jose Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California, Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, De Saisset Museum, Carnegie Mellon University Hunt Collection, and the United States Embassy Collection. She has exhibited in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally and has screened her films in festivals and on television in the US and abroad.

All work listed below is for sale. Click on the image to purchase.

 
Smoke Screen (Caged), 2020-21, 20"(h)x30'(w), archival ink on aluminum, $450
Smoke Screen (Gold), 2020-21, 20"(h)x30"(w), archival ink on aluminum, $450
Smoke Screen (Scarlet), 2020-21, 20"(h)x30"(w), archival ink on aluminum $450
Smoke Screen (Ultra-marine), 2020-21, 20"(h)x30"(w), archival ink on aluminum, $450
Smoke Screen (Umber), 2020-21, 20"(h)x30"(w), archival ink on aluminum, $450
Smoke Screen (Violet), 2020-21, 20"(h)x30"(w), archival ink on aluminum, $450
Graphing an Uncertain Future #1 , 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #2, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #3, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #4, 2020-21, 19"(h)x17”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #5, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #6, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #7, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #8, 2020-21, 17'(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #9, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #10, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #11, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #12, 2020-21, 19'(h)x17”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #13, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #14, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #15, 2020-21, 19"(h)x17”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #16, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
Graphing an Uncertain Future #17, 2020-21, 17"(h)x19”(w), drawing materials on graph paper, $250
More Virtual Love Wanted, 2020-21, 14"(h)x11”(w), metallic paint on yupo, $135 framed
Virtual Love Wanted, 2020-21, 14"(h) Hx11"(w), metallic paint on yupo, $135 framed
More Virtual Hugs Needed, 2020-21, 14"(h)x11”(w), metallic paint on yupo, $135 framed
More Virtual Hugs & Kisses Needed, 2020-21, 14"(h)x11”(w), metallic paint on yupo, $135 framed
Surreality, 2020, 6"(h)x8” (w), ink on handmade paper,$150 in white wood frame
Green Means Go, 2020, 6"(w) x 8"(h), ink on handmade paper, $125 in white wood frame
Hold On, 2020, 6"(w) x 8"(h), ink on handmade paper, $125 in white wood frame
Red Means Stop, 2020, 6"(w) x 8"(h), ink on handmade paper, $125 in white wood frame
Who Knew, 2020, 6"(w) x 8"(h), ink on handmade paper, $125 in white wood frame
Who Stole My Dream, 2020, 6"(w) x 8"(h), ink on handmade paper, $125 in white wood frame
SUREALLITY mask, free with purchase of artwork / $25 stand alone price.

password for video

What’s Inside These Shorts: 4 short (mostly) new films by Elizabeth Sher

is ScreenShorts2021


2020 Re:Vision

EXTENDED THROUGH JANUARY 30. Mercury 20 Gallery presents its annual holiday-season group show, this year titled 2020 RE:VISION. In this tumultuous year of 2020, where events have quickly revised natural and social orders, the artists of Mercury 20 are re-adjusting their sights. Through December and January, the gallery will be filled with new work that researches questions arising from this present moment and refines its simultaneous feelings of doom and liberation, collapse and possibility. Art responds, reinvents and repairs.

 
The work in 2020 RE:VISION will be small, affordably priced, cash-and-carry, so that patrons can easily start or add to their art collections or purchase art for holiday gifting.
 
 
or browse this selection below. 
Click on the image of your choice to see more works by the artist.
All work is available for online sale with shipping.
 

Untitled Improvisations 3 , Jo Ann Biagini, 2020, 6 x 6 in, watercolor on paper, $200
Untitled 20, Andrea Brewster, 2020, vellum paper, colored pencil, 4 x 2.5 x 2,5 in, $185
Chopsticks in 2020, Tara Esperanza, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 20 in, $1600
Imaging the Moon, Plate iv, Pantea Karimi, 2020, digital illustration and print on aluminum, 2 x 8 inches , $300
Home, Jill McLennan, 2020, white low fire clay with Cuerda Seca glazing, $75 4¾ x 4¾ inches, 2020
Anna Karenina: Levin, The Mowing Chapters I, Christine Meuris, 2020, Kozo paper, ink, bookbinding cloth, thread, 10 x 7 inches, $220
Bethlehem #5, Charlie Milgrim, 2017, image transfer on gold foil, mounted on panel, 8 x 8 in, $120
Morning, Peter Honig, 2020, archival pigment print mounted on wood panel, encased in acrylic resin, 13½ x 56 inches, $750
ScrapWorks XXI: Nocturne: Country Fair, Mary Curtis Ratcliffe, 2020, collage: digital inkjet printing on paper, mounted on panel, $200 12½ x 17⅜ x 1½ inches
ReVision 3, Leah Virsik, crossed structure binding, soft cover: sewn and painted fused plastic, eight sections of Mohawk Superfine paper, each section has 8 sheets/16 pages 6 x 5-7/8 x 1/2 in, $58
Virtual Love Will Have To Do , Elizabeth Sher, 2020,acrylic and drawing materials on canvas, 8 x 10 x 1 inches, $125
Ohlone Night #1, Neo Serafimidis, 2016, archival pigment print photograph, open edition. Black mat with white core, black wood frame, $325 Image 15 x 10 inches, framed size 20 x 14 x 1 inches.
Element (1), Sara Lisch, ceramic, 14.5 x 10.5 in, 2020, $375
Refusal #1, Kathleen King, 2020, paper collage in handmade cardboard frame, 10.25 x 8.25 x 1.25 in, $225
Soft Bombs, Jessica Cadkin, 2017/18, dimensions variable, $250 each
Distraction Signal #2, Johanna Poethig, 2020, acrylic on metal panel, 8 x 10 inches, $250


Andrea Brewster: FROZEN MOMENT

Andrea Brewster’s work is often comprised of otherworldly, organic, abstractions, which reference biological life and natural processes. She is particularly intrigued by the mathematical order underlying growth patterns and often utilizes similar algorithmic systems of repetition.

For her upcoming show at Mercury 20 Gallery, Brewster has developed a new body of sculptural work entitled Frozen Moment. These pieces created out of wet formed vellum paper, explore the delicate, yet energetic, dynamic processes of the natural world and the chaotically creased geography of crumpled paper.

Brewster observes that in nature nothing stands still. These pieces with their twisting, rippling forms, honor this vigorous action by reminding the viewer of waves, clouds and smoke, ceaselessly flowing and dissolving. Crumpling, on the other hand, is an exercise in controlled disorder, resulting in an object of extraordinary mathematical and structural complexity.

For these works, Brewster was also inspired by the suspended motion that she observed in the drapery of classical and baroque sculpture. In this way her interest in textiles and natural processes have come full circle. As she states; “If life is in unceasing movement, then perhaps art pauses and captures a single frame of that perpetual film. Life is stilled, frozen for a moment, thereby implying the possibility of a context, which is stable and unchangeable; where time and limitation have no meaning.”

ANDREA BREWSTER graduated cum laude with a BA in Sculpture from Pomona College, Claremont, CA and obtained her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in New Genres. In 1993 she received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for Works on Paper.

She has exhibited her artwork throughout the Bay Area, including solo shows at the Lab and Southern Exposure, and in group shows at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, The Oakland Museum, New Langton Arts, and the Peninsula Museum. In 2017 her work was included in an exhibition devoted to Tatting, at the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles. In October 2020 her work will be included in the Headford Lace Project show, The Space Between in Galway, Ireland.

Untitled 15, 2020, vellum paper, colored pencil,
variable dimensions, $875   <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 21, 2020, vellum paper, colored pencil,
22”W x 20”D x 12”H, $300  <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 18, 2020,
vellum paper, watercolor, 4.5”W x 2”D x 3.5”H, $185   <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 12, 2020,
vellum paper, colored pencil, 36” x 40”, $400    <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 11, 2020, vellum paper, colored pencil, each piece 20” x 20”, $350   <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 9, 2020, vellum paper, colored pencil,
4”W x 2.5”D x 2.5”H, $185    <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 8, 2020, vellum paper, colored pencil, 4.75”W x 2”D x 3.25”H, $185    <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 6, 2020, vellum paper, watercolor, 4.5”W x 2”D x 3”H, $185    <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 4, 2020, vellum paper, colored pencil, 4.25”W x 2”D x 3.5”H, $185    <click on image to purchase>

Untitled 2, 2020, vellum paper, colored pencil ,
4.5”W x 2”D x 3”H, $185    <click on image to purchase>


Tara Esperanza: I SEE YOU

Mercury 20 is pleased to present Tara Esperanza’s first solo show at the gallery, I SEE YOU, an exhibit of large paintings of succulents with a new perspective. Since 2018, Tara has been creating succulent paintings. In late 2017 she was commissioned to make a large painting (30″ x 64″) of particular succulents. Though at the time she had not paid much attention to succulents, she was a plant lover, so she gladly accepted. She began paying closer attention to succulents on her daily dog walks and runs. It quickly became an obsession and from there the series was born. She realized that she had passed so many gorgeous plants for years and never noticed their obvious beauty. She aims to make them seen through her paintings. Tara says, “They are beautiful and deserve to be seen in a big way, so I paint them big.”  She is interested in the plant personalities. The abundant varieties of texture, color, shape, and how succulents change with the seasons. She celebrates their diversity, how succulents share space, lean on each other, or hold each other up. Tara’s paintings look deep into the plants. In I SEE YOU she aims to bring the viewer in to offer a new perspective and share her intimate viewpoint of succulents through her art.

 

TARA ESPERANZA earned a BFA in Painting and graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She has exhibited her paintings in galleries throughout the Bay Area, including Orangeland Gallery in San Francisco, Sanchez Contemporary Gallery in Oakland, and Marin Society of Artists in San Rafael, as well as Sturt Haaga Gallery in Los Angeles, and the Museum of Northern California Art in Chico. Tara is also a long distance runner and studies plant life on her runs. She is inspired daily by the beauty that surrounds us and she captures images that live on through her art. All of the subjects of her paintings are seen through her eyes in nature.

California Sunset, acrylic on canvas, 52” x 42”, 2020, $4368 (click on image to purchase online)

Sisters, acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 42″, 2020, $2520 (click on image to purchase online)

Purple and Green, 2019, acrylic on Canvas, 30” x 36”, $2160 (click on image to purchase online)

Graptoveria,  acrylic on canvas, 26” x 26”, 2018, $1352 (click on image to purchase online)

Rainbow Succulents, acrylic on canvas, 38” x 50”, 2019, $3800 (click on image to purchase online)

Valour 1982, acrylic on canvas, 54″ x 35″, 2020, $3780 (click on image to purchase online)

Everything’s Coming Up Roses, acrylic on canvas, 32″ x 42″, 2020  (click on image to purchase online)  

Echeveria, acrylic on canvas. 40” x 54”, 2018, $4320 (click on image to purchase online)

Fall, 2019, acrylic on Canvas, 28” x 30” (sold)

Succulents #4, 2018, acrylic on Canvas, 44” x 48”, $4224  (click on image to purchase online)

 

 


Fernando Reyes: THIS LAND

In the Sierra Foothills El Dorado County lies Somerset a country community where a 10 acre property called Fair Oaks is home to countless of lively oak trees, manzanitas and other natural wonders.

In 2018, Fernando and his husband purchased this property they call Fair Oaks seeking a new adventure and a quiet place for future retirement away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area.

“This Land” will be Fernando’s final exhibition at Mercury Twenty Gallery. In his exhibition, Fernando will display the colors of spring from his garden in an array of blooming irises in paper cutouts, oil paintings depicting the beauty of the land and a large scale woodcut titled Winter Oak. Fernando’s exhibition brings forth his interpretation of the visual pleasures he sees every time he steps outside his home in the Sierra Foothills.

Art is a second career for FERNANDO REYES who spent 17 years in banking in San Francisco. He began as a self- taught artist, then decided to seek formal art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduating with a BFA in 1997. He then returned to the Bay Area and has lived in Oakland since 1998. Fernando’s studio is located in the Jingletown neighborhood in Oakland at Ford Street Studios.

Throughout the years, Fernando has produced a large and diverse portfolio of artwork. His work has been primarily representational and includes oil paintings, drawings, and printmaking. His primary interest has been depicting the human figure which are straightforward and representational, however In 2014 a visit to MoMA in New York for the Henri Matisse The Cut Outs exhibition made such an impact on Fernando that he embarked on creating his own cut outs. Subsequently taking his art making in the direction of abstract art in both paper cutouts and oil painting.

In January 2018, the Mexican Museum in San Francisco mounted the exhibition An Artist’s Evolution, a retrospective which has elevated Fernando’s exposure in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Fernando has an extensive resume of solo and group exhibitions on a regional and national basis. His work has been acquired for the art collections of Sutter Cathedral Hills Hospital, Stanford University Medical Center, Alameda County Arts Collection, Amoco Corporation, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, Tom of Finland Foundation, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, George and Cynthia Miller Wellness Center and numerous private collections.

Winter Oak, 2020, 32” x 36”, woodcut block print ,$2900 (framed)    <click on image to purchase>

Somerset Granite, 2020 14” x 18”, oil on linen, $1800 (framed)  <click on image to purchase>

Nature Abstracted 2020 32” x 36” (print size) ,woodcut block print, $3500 (framed)  <click on image to purchase>

Manzanita Magnificent, 48” x 48”, 2020, oil on canvas, $8500.  <click on image to purchase>

Iris VI, 2020, 12” x 12” x 1.5”, hand-printed paper cutouts & oil, $375   <click on image to purchase>

Iris III ,2020, 12” x 12” x 1.5” , hand-printed paper cutouts & oil on wood, $375 <click on image to purchase>

Dogwood, 2020, 20” x 20”, hand-printed paper cutouts & oil, $3000  <click on image to purchase>

Descending Shadows, 2020, 14” x 18”, oil on linen, $1800 <click on image to purchase>

Blue Oak, 2020, 30” x 36”, oil on canvas, $4200 <click on image to purchase>

Blooming Iris, 2020, 27” x 60”, hand-printed paper cutouts & oil, $6500  <click on image to purchase>

 

 

 

 

 

 


Pantea Karimi: THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF MATHEMATICS

Since 2014, Pantea Karimi’s work has been an exploration into the pages of medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts. Karimi’s current project reflects on her intensive science training in high-school with the aim of becoming a doctor; a goal that she abandoned to pursue an art career. This project revisits her interest in the topic through the lens of art.

White and branded footwear, bright-colored socks, and backpacks, polished nails, makeup kits, cassettes, and glossy posters of Western celebrities were the forbidden items that kept hundreds of teenage girls—who were otherwise sheathed in full hijabs—at the schoolyard before attending their classes. The long lines and the frustrating process of searching for these items by the school authorities were to assure that everyone conformed to the rules of public life in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The story of coming-of-age in post-revolutionary Iran is accompanied by the pressure placed on the youth for excelling in mathematics, arguably the most esteemed subject of study in Iran.

The Unbearable Lightness of Mathematics is Pantea Karimi’s personal story of four years of science education in the late 80s under the Islamic Republic of Iran.

For this solo exhibition at the Mercury 20 Gallery, Karimi has made a series of mock blackboards animated by chalk-written mathematical formulas topped with the phrase In the Name of God in Persian as well as the iconic headshots of Iran’s revolutionary leaders. The black thread formation and marked spots on the floor are reminders of the long lines in her schoolyard and the atmosphere she experienced every morning before her class. Ironically these demarcations are also familiar during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coupled with a few “forbidden” objects mounted amid the gallery, Karimi reconstructs her Iran’s science classroom of the 1980s. While a personal story, this exhibition connotes a restrictive educational system that did not leave much room for focused-learning or personal explorations. This poignant anxiety is captured through the gradual fading of the contents of the mock blackboards. Mathematics was, indeed, too abstract and aloof to stimulate the articulation of subversive thoughts, artistic sentiments, and socio-political views. Unbearably “light” for the “heavy” environment in which it was taught, mathematics is both the agonizing and the celebrated protagonist in this exhibition.

Bio: Pantea Karimi is an Iranian-American multidisciplinary artist, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her works explore the intersection of art, history, and science and examine how the broader aesthetic considerations of science are closely related to art. She researches illustrations and texts of medieval Persian, Arab, and early modern European scientific manuscripts. Utilizing conceptual and visual interpretations from her research, she creates individual bodies of artwork using interactive installations, VR, silkscreen, digital illustrations, and prints. Pantea Karimi has exhibited her works in diverse solo, group, and traveling exhibitions in Iran, Algeria, Germany, Croatia, Mexico, the UK, and the United States. Her works are held in private and public collections including Stanford University, the UC Davis Medical Center, and the University of California, San Francisco. Her print, graphic design works, and installations have been featured in several publications in Iran, Italy, Croatia, the UK, and the United States including the British Library blog, SF/Arts, and the KQED. Karimi is the recipient of the 2019 City of San Jose Arts and Cultural Exchange Grant; the 2019 Silicon Valley Artist Laureates Award; and the 2017 Kala Fellowship-Residency Award. She is an Adjunct Faculty in the digital media and studio art departments at the College of San Mateo and the Cabrillo College.


Chris Komater: FAMILY ALBUM

San Francisco photographer Chris Komater presents a new series of large-scale low-resolution images culled from his family history, Family Album. Ranging in resolution from easily- to barely-recognizable, the images mirror the process of our loved ones disappearing from our lives.

Digital photography and the camera-phone make it possible to document every moment. Prior to the digital image, there was film. For sixty years, Komater’s father meticulously documented the major events in his family’s life with Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides. During reunions his family would spend entire weekends viewing projected slides and reliving the intimate moments they shared.

Following the recent passing of both of his parents, Komater has chosen a few of these images and produced low-resolution enlargements: his mother and father kissing in the back of a car on their wedding day; their first-born toddling by a lake; and young Chris embracing a teddy bear. Komater is asking us to look past the specific content of these images, and to experience the transformations of meaning and memory attached to them.

CHRIS KOMATER is a San Francisco-based artist. His photographs and sound installations have been shown at Cheryl Haines Gallery, Patricia Sweetow Gallery, Mark Wolfe Contemporary Arts, Meridian Gallery, and the LAB Gallery in San Francisco; Jan Kesner Gallery in Los Angeles; Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston, and many other venues. He is the recipient of a WESTAF-NEA Regional Visual Arts Fellowship, a Market Street Art-in-Transit grant, and was the founding director and curator of Secession Gallery, a non-profit gallery without walls in San Francisco, and the online arts venue, Marjorie Wood Gallery. This is Chris’ seventh solo show at the Mercury 20 Gallery.

Mom, Aunt Joan’s First Wedding, 1955
Digital C-prints, 2020. Dimensions 48″ x 86″ installed.
$7500 framed *

Me & Teddy, Gadsden, Alabama, 1969
Digital C-print, 2020. Print size 30″ x 35″.
$800 unframed / $1750 framed *

Carol, Island Lake, Michigan, 1958
Digital C-print, 2020. Print size 30″ x 42″.
$960 unframed / $2100 framed *

Mom and Dad, Chicago, June 23, 1951
Digital C’ print, 2020. Print size 30″ x 42″.
$960 unframed / $2100 framed *

 

Sue’s 50th, Sunset Beach, Florida, September 2, 2003
Digital C-print, 2020. Print size 30” x 42”
$960 unframed / $2100 framed
Chris Komater’s work is available for purchase on Mercury 20’s online shop

 

 


Christine Meuris: PERMUTATIONS

Christine Meuris’ solo show Permutations is inspired by bargello needlepoint patterns, embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in mathematical patterns. Introduced to bargello through a chance encounter with the book Four Way Bargello by Dorothy Kaestner, Christine fell in love with the line segment and the dot, and just how much joy, sorrow, exuberance, quiet and simple beauty it was possible to express with them.

Her meditative color studies, Poppy, Ripple and Solar, were completed during the 2016 presidential campaign and election. These works function as quiet and meditative, studio-based acts of resistance, upholding the dignity of “women’s work.” In the Stress Fracture series she explores environmental anxiety by breaking up the tidy mandala, symbol of mental balance and wholeness, evoking images of cracking polar ice. Colorful works such as Hunh? and Germ of an Idea, consist of paper tiles used like model train track segments. Christine makes loops, circles and sinuous shapes which, depending on the arrangement of the tiles, can look like protozoa or messages in some unknown language.

Christine Meuris’ work translates traditionally home-based arts executed in fabric and fiber into works on and of paper. In this way, her work pushes against the barrier erected between art and craft, home and gallery – a barrier often rooted in class and gender. She uses these traditions to express a wide range of thoughts just as women always have.

CHRISTINE MEURIS lives and works in Berkeley California. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has participated in juried shows throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the country and has been invited to participate in groups shows at the Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley Civic Center, The Mosser Hotel and the Roll Up Gallery.  She has also had solo shows at Farley’s Café,  Hello Stitch Quilting and Sewing Studio, Berkeley Wealth Management and The Totally Rad Gallery. This is Christine’s first solo show at Mercury 20 Gallery.


Ripple, 2017
Ink on paper, 28”x 28” (framed)
$700,  free shipping in USA

Stress Fracture IV, 2018
Sumi ink on tea stained paper, 28”x 28” (framed)
$800

Biomorphic Bargello Series
Purple Study, 2019

gouache on tea-stained paper, thread, and bookbinding cloth
21” x 28″
$900 (unframed)

 

Christine Meuris’ work is available for purchase on Mercury 20’s online shop

 


Leah Virsik: ABOVE AND BELOW


The Japanese word for cut, kire, is more connected to aesthetics than its English counterpart. The aim of cutting is to create ma, a word that roughly translates as negative space or betweennes. Through an act of unmaking, Leah Virsik uses shears to dissect and strip the functionality of clothing focusing on the material’s meaning. Denim jeans, made of cotton and indigo, are deeply rooted in slavery and one can’t speak of clothing without acknowledging the human body. This work speaks of the artist’s complicity in systemic racial injustice.  She exposes seams from below the surface, cuts and assembles individual flies, and rolls up balls of jean strips. No longer a castoff, this material is imbued with potentiality. Through Virsik’s process of close examination, it remakes her.

25% of the artist’s proceeds will go to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the Equal Justice Initiative.

Leah Virsik  is an artist based in Oakland, California. Her work is primarily driven by materials and includes collage, sculptural fiber and book arts. She received her Masters of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco State University. Her work has been exhibited at City College of San Francisco Art Gallery, PhotoCentral Gallery and galleryFritz in Santa Fe. She teaches book arts and collage.

Leah Virsik’s work is available for purchase in Mercury 20’s online shop.

 

Balled Up, (2020), found pieces of denim

 


Mary Curtis Ratcliff: SCRAPWORKS

 

 

JULY 13 – 25, 2020

GALLERY HOURS & INFO:
– Exhibition viewable 24 hours/day in Mercury 20 Gallery front window
– 475 25th Street, Oakland, between Telegraph & Broadway (510) 701-4620

Mercury 20 Gallery is pleased to announce the third exhibition in a series of two-week installations made specifically for the gallery’s front window: ScrapWorks, by Mary Curtis Ratcliff. Because of viewing limitations due to the current Shelter-In-Place mandate, the exhibitions in the series are designed to be safely viewed from outside the gallery, on the sidewalk or in one’s car.

Due to the shutdown of small businesses during the COVID-pandemic, Ratcliff was unable to work with her frequent collaborator, who produces large scale digital prints that she adapts for her kinetic sculptures. Ratcliff has turned instead to her own studio resources and found stacks of scraps with traces of digital printing on them–circles, corners and straight trimmings left over from earlier works, some of them saved for years. The results are an entirely new series: twelve new pieces made in the last three months that she calls ScrapWorks. Two of them are presented in the window installation at Mercury 20 Gallery, alongside a kinetic triptych.

MARY CURTIS RATCLIFF majored in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1960s, and then moved to New York, where she was a founding member of the radical collective Videofreex. After her move to California in 1973, Ratcliff’s wind sculptures and ceremonial pieces were used in the early eco-feminist movement; later works continued to unite fabric and craft with a sculptural sense of design. Since 1999, Ratcliff has concentrated primarily on 2-dimensional work, integrating photography, drawing, painting, and image transfer techniques in multi-layered, intricate explorations of nature, pattern and perception. In the past five years, Ratcliff has returned to circular, kinetic sculptures that now incorporate her photography.

Ratcliff’s artwork has been shown in well over one hundred exhibitions around the world. It is represented locally in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. She has participated in residencies in the United States, France, Japan, and New Zealand. She lives and works in Berkeley, California and is a member of both Oakland’s Mercury 20 Gallery and the SFMOMA Artists Gallery.


Andrea Brewster: CABINET OF CURIOUSITY

Mercury 20 Gallery’s front window installation consist of intimate drawings on vellum paper by Brewster. She is captivated by the act of mark making and the seventeenth century European cabinets of art and curiosity.


Christine Meuris: WORKS ON PAPER


Kathleen King: FOUND OUT

FOUND OUT is a new window exhibition of sculpture and assemblage by Kathleen King. King’s visual vocabulary connects cast-off materials with precarities encountered in personal, social and political contexts. This work explores states of coexistence, contingency and control, drawing attention to how we make our social environments and are, in turn, made by them. The works juxtapose, engage, and balance, challenging viewers into empathy with sculptural objects and with each other.


Neo Serafimidis: NEIGHBORHOOD NIGHTS

NEO SERAFIMIDIS’ recent photographic work explores the mysterious, uneasy character that the cars, houses, and other artifacts of one’s own neighborhood take on at night, transforming them from quotidian to strangely alluring or even menacing. Objects are experienced in a realm somewhere between animism and anthropomorphism. Channeling childhood memories of navigating the dark neighborhood streets to get home and escape unknown dangers, or of delivering newspapers in a sleepy delirium in the very early morning, Serafimidis taps primal psychological states in the narratives that emerge.

NEO SERAFIMIDIS is a photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of his recent work is documentary and street photography focused on recognizably old artifacts from automobiles to ephemera and comprises an exploration of memory, nostalgia, and feelings of personal loss. He is also a composer of electronic music and has written scores for theater, modern dance, and multimedia. Neo attended graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he received a PhD in philosophy. Neo took up photography in earnest after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2001.


Charlie Milgrim: STREET CODE

Finding herself mesmerized by the spray painted esoteric scribblings that utility workers use to communicate with each other on the sidewalks and streets, CHARLIE MILGRIM imagines their seemingly universal language as a “street code” so esoteric, only those in their gang can decipher it. While the messages have a limited palate; fluorescent pink and yellow, she has taken this as an invitation to expand these symbols, investigating their potential as alien communiques.

CHARLIE MILGRIM is a multimedia artist from New York City who moved to the Bay Area in her 20s to attend California College of the Arts, and later received her MFA from U.C. Berkeley. She has since participated in the Bay Area arts community through exhibition and curation and has been a member of the Mercury 20 Gallery for the past 9 years. Milgrim’s work examines the ties and lies between history, science and culture, whether considering environmental degradation, cultural detritus, or the relationship between money and militarism. She works with a wide range of materials, from photography to tar paper made three dimensional, to precariously arranged found objects.


Peter Honig: STILL

Honig

In PETER HONIG’s Still the artist reflects on three decades spent on the West Coast in pursuit of an American Eden. His literally unfocused photographic explorations of Californian iconography (palms, orange trees, rolling green hills, the ocean, the mountains, traces of rural living) are presented in dialogue with two poems on the wall.

The first poem, marking the beginning of the sequence of photos, inquires “Where have we been?” and reflects on the artist’s odyssey. The second poem, situated at the conclusion, suggests that the Arts’ quest is nothing less than a heroic (but ultimately doomed) attempt to conquer the linearity and passage of time.

Honig’s poetry and photographs don’t provide many practical answers, and they document little more than the passage of electricity across synapses and sensors. But his eschewal of fine detail in favor of chromatic abstraction and the pursuit of compositional harmonies is not rootless, paying homage to Soft Edged Abstraction, Pictorialist photographers of the early 20th Century, and the focus on the domestic realm in the work of Wallace Berman. The poetry serves as both a contextualizing device and a foil for the sequence of sixteen photographs, each of which measures 24 x 36 inches and is embedded within a deep layer of glossy resin. Together these ghostly traces of the artist’s somnolent garden meanderings offer a blurry vision of a Paradise, lost and found…and perhaps lost again.

PETER HONIG has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1993. Originally from the Boston Area, he attended Hampshire College, and then moved to Berkeley where he taught photography and operated a photographic studio. For the past 9 years he has been living in Santa Barbara’s Rattlesnake Canyon, in the company of his wife, 2 cats and 22 21 7 3 quail.


GALLERY GROUP SHOW: TRUTH / DARE / 20 / 20 CHAPTER 2: DARE

In this post-truth cultural moment, with a generational mentality of “inaction is the wise action,” Truth or Dare is no longer a party game but an emergency wakeup call. With politics as (un)usual, global climate crisis worsening, inequality and violence overpowering morality and compassion, we’ve hit rock bottom. It is time to change the trajectory, to tell the real truth, to dare ourselves and take action.

As artists, we place ourselves under the spotlight of Truth and Dare, we choose to disrupt and evolve the status quo. At the dusk of 2010s and the dawn of 2020s, we will share our most vulnerable truth and reveal our most daring expression through a two-part exhibition.

Chapter 1: Truth, currently on view in the gallery, runs though December 28. From personal to global perspectives, the exhibiting artists reveals the truth of their art. Chapter 2: Dare opens January 2. In this chapter, Mercury 20 Gallery artists take on the challenge of an unconventional installation consisting of large, more ambitious works.

Participating artists include:

JO ANN BIAGINI
ROHAN DACOSTA
NICK DONG
P.K. FRIZZELL
PANTEA KARIMI
KATHLEEN KING
SARA LISCH
MARK MCGOWAN
CHRISTINE MEURIS
CHARLIE MILGRIM
JOHANNA POETHIG
MARY CURTIS RATCLIFF
FERNANDO REYES
PETER RICHARDS
NEO SERAFIMIDIS
ELIZABETH SHER
LEAH VIRSIK

A few of the works on view…

Nick Dong, Earth (detail, 2019), Mixed-media kinetic sculpture

In contrast with the traditional association with the corporeal and material, Nick Dong’s Earth (2019) illustrates the tethering effect of an ominous force: gravity. As represented by the levitating cubes that rotate endlessly above the angulating “fabric of space and time,” the mirror-mosaic-covered Earth reflects endless cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Pantea Karimi, Wall Garden (detail, 2017), wood, paint and screws, 2017 plants include asparagus, buttercup, spelt, viola, chamomile, cinquefoil, and houseleek

Pantea Karimi’s Wall Garden (2017) is an installation of medicinal plants on the wall, composed of various kinds and sizes. The plants’ silhouettes are drafted after the original images in The Herbal manuscript, composed by the 12th-century Andalusian physician al-Ghafiqi. This is one of the most remarkable medieval botanical manuscripts on medicinal plants, their names, their visuals, and their healing properties.

Wall Garden is both the study of medicinal plants and cultural expression. It is symbolic of the relationship between humans and the natural world and the potential that maintaining this relationship may present. Such a fascination with the power of herbal medicine has its roots in medieval medical practices that placed great emphasis on the benefits of nature. By contrast, in our modern world, we mainly rely on chemically manufactured substances. Karimi dares to use black for this piece as a metaphor for the dwindling relationship between humans and nature.

Mark McGowan, Johanna Poethig and Peter Richards, What Goes Around Comes Around (detail, 2019), 1927 Maytag washing machine, video and clothes.

In the collaborative work What Goes Around Comes Around (2019) by Mark McGowan, Johanna Poethig and Peter Richards, inspired by the cycles of nature and human nature, this enigmatic installation includes an amalgamation of unlikely components: a 1927 Maytag washing machine, video and clothes hung out to dry, to be deciphered in the context of the present world we live in.

In Charlie Milgrim’s installation, she considers two objects she saw in a junk store and said out loud “Nice Jugs!” Now the title of her work, Nice Jugs (1992/2019), this slang phrase is one she recalled hearing often as she walked around New York City as a young woman.

Elizabeth Sher, Kunst Macht Frei (Art Makes Free) (detail, 2019), printed ink on paper and wall lettering.

In Elizabeth Sher’s Kunst Macht Frei (Art Makes Free) (2019) she dares herself to share very personal family correspondence as well as overcome her fearful response to any Nazi symbol. She challenges naysayers of the Holocaust and anyone to ignore the current anti-semitism of the far right.


Truth/Dare/20/20 – Chapter 1: Truth

In this post-truth cultural moment, with a generational mentality of “inaction is the wise action,” Truth or Dare is no longer a party game but an emergency wakeup call. With politics as (un)usual, global climate crisis worsening, inequality and violence overpowering morality and compassion, we’ve hit rock bottom. It is time to change the trajectory, to tell the real truth, to dare ourselves and take action.

As artists, we place ourselves under the spotlight of Truth and Dare, we choose to disrupt and evolve the status quo. At the dusk of 2010’s and the dawn of 2020’s, we will share our most vulnerable truth and reveal our most daring expression through a two-part exhibition.

Truth opens in December 2019, Mercury 20 Gallery artists will present a formal exhibition of small, intimate works. Dare opens in January 2020, the same group of artists will take on the challenge of an unconventional installation consisting of larger, more ambitious works.

Truth, echoing the Spandau Ballet’s song lyrics “Oh, I want the truth to be said, I know this much is true,” Mercury 20 Gallery artists share their vulnerable expressions on a deeper level. From a personal to a global perspective, each reveals the truth of their art. Participating artists include:

JO ANN BIAGINI
ROHAN DACOSTA
NICK DONG
P.K. FRIZZELL
PANTEA KARIMI
KATHLEEN KING
SARA LISCH
JILL MCLENNAN
CHRISTINE MEURIS
CHARLIE MILGRIM
JOHANNA POETHIG
MARY CURTIS RATCLIFF
FERNANDO REYES
NEO SERAFIMIDIS
ELIZABETH SHER

LEAH VIRSIK

A few of the works on view…

Pantea Karimi is exhibiting variously-sized Hybrid Volvelles (2015, detail above right) that mix and match Persian, Arab and European scientific images and information with the aim to construct historical knowledge of various cultural points of view into one form and to highlight the truth of a long-term exchange of ideas across cultures.

In Kathleen King’s sculpture titled Tears (2019, detail above), modernist and post-modernist ideas converse around the juxtaposition of a black square and a waterfall of white buttons tied together in chains. The piece explores Truth and its conditions including utopian ideals, violent histories and human connection.
Sara Lisch’s work Unveiled (2019) explores the search for truth within each of us and what is exposed by lifting the veils.

Jill McLennan will exhibit clay portraits of a variety of buildings in Oakland including a historic Art Deco building, an ordinary old apartment complex, a homemade house, and the automobile dealership that was recently torn down on the corner of Broadway and 23rd Street. McLennan’s art documents the evolution of the Bay Area and the truth of what once existed.

The High Stakes Divination Cards (2019) play with the powers of suggestion using the resonance of image and text as a form of prediction. The oracles are selected from Johanna Poethig’s paintings, sculptures, photographs and scavenged from multiple sources. Symbols open up doors of time, place, personal and universal myth making and storytelling in our search for truths about our lives. This is a multi-dimensional work of conceptual, mystical and participatory art that changes shape with every reading.

Leah Virsik’s work, Intimate Associations (2019, detail above left), is made up of serged strips cut from the inside of jeans, twined together with thread. Her truth is a process of working in an orderly and repetitive fashion. This method gives her an intimate connection with the material, allowing it to be appreciated on its own terms.


Fernando Reyes: LOOKING BACK CUTTING FORWARD

In 2015 Fernando Reyes ventured into abstract handprinted paper cutouts, veering from the figurative work for which he had been known throughout his art career.  In Fernando’s upcoming show Looking Back Cutting Forward Fernando aggressively thrusts onwards with new ideas and designs bringing a playfulness in colorful design and a joyous sense of nostalgia influenced by the graphic designs and colors from the Midcentury modern art period.

Art is a second career for FERNANDO REYES, who spent 17 years in banking in San Francisco. He began as a self-taught artist, then decided to seek formal art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA ’97). Throughout the years, Fernando has produced a large and diverse portfolio of artwork. His work has been primarily representational and includes oil paintings, drawings, and printmaking. In 2014 a visit to MoMA in New York for the Henri Matisse The Cut Outs exhibition made such an impact on Fernando that he embarked on creating his own cut outs. Subsequently taking his art-making in the direction of abstract art in both paper cutouts and oil painting. In January 2018, the Mexican Museum in San Francisco mounted an exhibition An Artist’s Evolution, a retrospective which has elevated Fernando’s exposure in the SF Bay Area and beyond. Fernando has an extensive resume of solo and group exhibitions on a regional and national basis. His work has been acquired for the art collections of Sutter Cathedral Hills Hospital, Stanford University Medical Center, Alameda County Arts Collection, Amoco Corporation, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, Tom of Finland Foundation, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, George and Cynthia Miller Wellness Center and numerous private collections.