Please join us on the evening of October 24th for the opening of Tom X: A Retrospective to celebrate the life and work of Tom X (b.1944-2001), a prolific American painter and eccentric modern Renaissance man.
New Orleans-born artist (b. 1944), Tom X anchored himself across the United States by painting often overlooked characteristics of his surroundings. He voraciously documented everything from Jazz players of nocturnal New Orleans to the perspectival plunges of palm trees and the deconstruction and reconstruction of new buildings in Santa Monica.
Growing up in New Orleans, one of four siblings, Tom ran around Jackson Square and marched in funeral parades, among flame throwers paid half in booze up front and money after the show—liquid courage and monetary reward. Wild costumes and music—an unavoidable vibrancy and frequency from all sides. He was saturated in it. New Orleans set the stage for his interests and focus.
After studying at acclaimed institutions like the San Francisco Art Institutue, X’s early work was filled with the colors and music of nocturnal New Orleans. Mardi Gras and Jazz on canvas—vibrant oranges, electric pinks, purples, and blues, contrasted with black and bright white. Rapid strokes that echo the thunderous and unpredictable movements of the music. Masks, Jackson Square, Musicians. The usual suspects. Using printmaking to repeat an image and a subject, not to get it right but to give it more life. It was all to give life—on his own terms.
From New Orleans, X went to New York in the 80’s (with many stops in between), where he quickly cultivated a community of loyal patrons and supporters—his work populating private collections across the city. His shows would be twenty-four hour pop ups in rented spaces. He painted the city at night, with glowing flamelike trees separating the illuminated exclusive windows of Central Park-side residential high-rises.
While in New York, X met E.J. Gold, an artist, jazz musician, and leader of “The Human Potential Movement” (HPM) on the West Coast. The HPM began in the counterculture movement of 60’s, focused on untapping and cultivating the extreme potential of the individual. X became interested and involved, eventually following Gold and his group West to Grass Valley, Nevada City. X’s role in the group was the resident artist, providing the visuals for the manifestos, pamphlets and other visual manifestations of the mission and lifestyle of the group. In this period he particularly advanced his print media, as it lends to mass production and distribution.
Breaking away from the group in the late 80’s, early 90’s, X moved to Los Angeles where he found a studio above an auto repair shop in Santa Monica. The works that sprung out of this era were collaborative, colorful, and conversational. Painting had always been Tom’s chosen language; he painted and documented dialogue, not for the sake of documentation, but for the spontaneous and carefreeness of it. It didn’t matter what they were painting—Tom, Lorenzo, and Dan—the other two artists who shared the studio; it was theirs according to no one else’s terms. It was in the Santa Monica studio on Lincoln Ave, California’s Route 1, that X began the “24-Hour Drive-Thru School of Art,” an art school he hosted in the studio above the auto repair shop where students of all ages came to paint and learn from an artist who created his own rules and was eager to share them.
He was an animated teacher whose curriculum equated the necessity of making art to breathing. He would stand on the table to get his point across. Sometimes taking off his shirt and gesturing wildly with a sinewy arm, he would change the way you thought about painting.
The sensations evoked in Tom X’s work provide a sense of liberation and ecstasy— an “out of body” experience. X used his work to mock the constructed artifices of superficial Los Angeles and performative New Orleans by amplifying the colors and exaggerating the characters. The surface is electric while the underlying structure is steel, iron, exposed and dangerous material, and depicted with heavy contrasting black. His work reminds us of the persistent dualities in this life, while making an extra effort to highlight the whimsy and play.
Rejoined is a body of work that considers the concept of modern perfection seeking and image. The significance of flaws, both perceived and actual inspire the aesthetic language of Rejoined. Precious materials and color are employed to contemplate these perceptions and reflect on a reframed perspective; while three of the most historically important blues, Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue and Lapis Lazuli dominate the body of work in full force.
Directed by Delene Hessinger Curated by Brennan Adair Afana
Artist Jonah Ward creates works of art that, in their most literal form, are compellingly aesthetic; in their most metaphorical, they are a testament to our always relevant interaction with the natural world.
Jonah’s works are as much a product of his education as his background—born on Foster Mountain in Willits, California, raised on a historic homestead at the end of red dirt roads, and educated in a one-room schoolhouse. Through his art he continues to cultivate his dialogue with nature. While requiring sustained physical interaction with natural materials, Jonah’s works are also paradoxically devoid of his literal touch or imprint. He acts more as a facilitator—harnessing natural processes and phenomena, while also according them their proper respect for their capacity for both incommensurable beauty and destruction.
Artist Barry Peterson has attended a long list of universities in the Midwest and on the West Coast, where he studied Art of various media along with Physics, Botany, Marine Biology and Architecture. Despite all this, he pretty much considers himself a self-taught artist, as he claims most of his learning has occurred in his own practice.
For his current series of aerial photography Barry states: “I have never had the urge to photograph things I find visually appealing--it always seems an odd homage and a poor recording of what is usually a spatial and dynamic experience. Photography by nature is graphic and frozen. So much of the actual visual experience is lost in its conversion to pixels or paper. And yet some things are heightened by this conversion."
On view by appointment only: March 8th through May 7th, 2015
Sherwood Gallery brings together the works of Robert Minervini, an accomplished Bay Area fine artist, along with Kevin Yeh, a second generation Chinese-American emerging artist, in a three month gallery exhibition celebration of the Chinese New Year.
The Chinese New Year, also referred to as the Lunar New Year, is based on the movements of the moon. Minervini’s small moon paintings beautifully illustrate humanity’s collective attraction to our closest piece of the heavens. This constant presence in our sky inspires deep wonder about our world. Our connection to the moon symbolizes the duality of our need for emotional resonance as well as intellectual curiosity. Minervini uses his training as a muralist to realize his visions of our interconnected world in multilayered acrylic works. Through dystopian cityscapes, landscapes, and still life arrangements, Minervini explores the evolving relationship between humanity and land stewardship.
Yeh works within a style of Chinese brush painting with its own variations on technique passed down from his grandfather to Kevin’s father. Yeh’s seemingly effortless graphic style brings notions of boundless energy and celebration. These swiftly painted works result in an amalgamation of stylistic freedom through strict technique.
"A Gardened Earth"
The Sea Within The Sea
Sherwood Gallery is pleased to present The Sea Within the Sea, an exhibition of selected works by San Francisco based artist John Roloff. The exhibition consists of video documentation and photographic work portraying environmental change in geologic time, and the interpretation of these processes through the lens of human and urban development.
On the Wrack Line, between Salvage and Despair
Artist: Miles Epstein
February 15th, 2014
Wrack is an old European word meaning destruction and wreckage, particularly in regards to ships. Wrack is also seaweed. Long undulating lines of kelp, sea grass, or other ocean debris carried far up the beach at high tide are sometimes called ‘wrack lines’.
Salvage is another old word with multiple definitions. The most common refers to ships, as in their rescue, or picking through valuable cargo after the vessels have run aground. It also has everyday definitions, such as “the saving and utilization of scrap paper.”
In the dictionary salvage sits beneath salvation, which I haven’t yet found. But for the last six years I have been looking for and finding some interesting scraps of paper, many of which you can see here today.
Miles Epstein was born in 1960, and grew up reading about and watching various rockets launch. On the American side it was the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. For the Soviets it was the Soyuz. And for Miles, it was lots and lots of cardboard and balsa wood models from the Estes Model Rocket company.
In recent years, his interests have moved directly underfoot, specifically the city in which he lives, and the systems operating under its streets. He is honored to show his work in this most appropriate space.
Standing with the Watershed
Wholly H20 with Tuolumne River Artists December 2013
This mixed media art show celebrates the Tuolumne River Watershed, source of San Francisco's water supply. The show also investigates first responses to the recent Rim Fire which swept through the watershed, changing it's form forever.
Pattern Building suggests a sense of order and harmony, sometimes through the mere act of being stacked (superimposed, juxtaposed, or absent) in otherwise chaotic associations of color and line.
These selections are evocative of urban situations, either seen from altitude, or represented on a city’s transport schematic, or the overlay of geographic and physical features meant to evince a knowledge of the situation affecting our environment—whether we live there or not is irrelevant since we can view and empathize.
In abstraction art doesn't represent anything—at least not on purpose. Although recognizable things may be discernible, I didn't intend for them to be there. This doesn't mean that what you see isn't there, just that the interactions of the form are available for subjective interpretation.
Environment is key—but not just geography, but time, mood, and stimulus. I may find myself at a particular moment of reality, and the work will often reflect that; either in choice of color, or rhythmic values.
Certain environments become ‘collectivized’ in my experience, so that a city of boxy buildings will produce a similar response whether Ottawa, Seoul, or Frankfurt. A landscape of natural beauty will do the same, be it the Alps, the Pacific, or the Negev. When associated on a canvas, these environments lead to even further changes in the motifs in a work, convoluting it, and eventually leading to a new harmony.
Justin Hoover and the Gold Mountain Society
February 23rd, 2013
Sherwood Gallery presents Justin Hoover and the Gold Mountain Society, an exhibition of work around the themes of calligraphy, Chinatown, and the new Central Subway development. This project is in preparation for a new mural being done in Chinatown with the Chinese Culture Center and the SFMTA to celebrate the expansion of the railway system.
June 7th - August 17th 2012
Facundo Argañaraz | Joshua Churchill | Christine M. Peterson
Sherwood Gallery is pleased to announce Surface, an exhibition of new work ranging from site-specific installations to silkscreen paintings, by Facundo Agañaraz, Joshua Churchill, and Christine M. Peterson.
Preoccupied with different materials, found images and their social significance, Facundo Argañaraz’s practice primarily consists of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. While his two dimensional work is ridden with pastiche tendencies, the sculptural products examine the relationship between exterior surfaces and interior space. The minimal shapes and colors, or lack thereof, are basic and easy to comprehend, while seeing the work is remarkably complex. Subtleties of the surfaces in his sculptures and the objecthood of his paintings merit and reward our extended, contemplative engagement with the new work.
Joshua Churchill presents four photographic objects from At Once, an ongoing series of manipulated film "blurring what is imagined and invented, with what is, or what was, real." His process studies the possibilities of remodeling and transforming the image into object. First, from observing the object; then, by manipulating it. Once slides, they are morphed and enlarged, producing color bleeds, bubbles- disfiguring the found landscapes in unexpected ways.
Navigating within the conceptual and minimal tradition, Christine M. Peterson uses slide projectors, light, and reflective materials as her main components in Surface. She utilizes architectonic properties in the exhibition space in order to uncover and activate them. Columns become illuminated with projections of colorful hues, gaps in the ceiling avail to cast shadow effects, variations in light temperatures create a state of total receptiveness to surrounding exhibited objects, and reflective surfaces distort and construct a dynamic interaction between the work, architecture, design, and viewer. Through this, she fabricates an environment with no distinction between the floor, the ceiling, and the walls. This is done economically and efficiently as she attempts to achieve the greatest possible effect with the smallest possible intervention.
The inaugural exhibition at Sherwood Gallery, Nothing is True. Nothing is Untrue, presents a selection of photography, video, installation and printmaking exploring the dichotomies and intersections of transparent order and dystopic control. The space is transformed into a surveillant world consisting of galaxies, media broadcasting systems, advertisement billboards, nuclear cooling towers, highways, and salt ponds.
Upon entry, the viewer will be confronted with a large mirrored flag by Cal Volner-Dison. The self-reflexive flag is a national marker for Nothing is True. Nothing is Untrue. Volner-Dison also uses wall text as a strategic device to examine the interstice between visual and verbal language as semiotic systems.
Tyrone Davies brings Ballard’s statement “sooner or later, everything turns into television,” to life by an abundance of flashing screens playing footage of gun-toting cowboys, mid-western parades, how-to-paint episodes, smashed television sets, Japanese animations, and more. The monitors activate space with an overload of moving images and crashing sonic waves, problematizing our media literacy and challenging the prescribed application of mass communication.
Luca Antonucci employs the notion of deconstructing information and potential 'fictionality' of documents through two sets of work. The Brightest Stars Fade Away, where continuously printed galaxies cause the formal elements of composition to fade as each print is formed. Antonucci's Space, Time, and Architecture is revised by opaque black mark-making and painted sheer white layers, leaving a mere ten percent of the book in it's original state. The remaining has been crossed out, mystified and fogged thus "forming a more condensed history of space". Pages from the book are then reproduced on translucent material, creating a binary of censored and transparent policy.
Jenny Odell forms bewitching collages by eliminating and rebuilding paths as she virtually wanders the Apollonian landscape of Google Earth. The works elicit both dread and hope as Odell takes the visual mechanics of controlled navigation, and surveillance-- cuts it, pastes it, and composes an alluring grid of imagery.
Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream
Sherwood Design Engineers was one of the teams selected to develop an exhibit for the architecture wing of the New York City MoMA entitled Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream. We are supporting a team of designers including WORKac; HRA; and Eric Sanderson (author of Manahattan) to create a vision for a new paradigm in community development. For the project, Sherwood is providing a guiding pattern for environmentally and economically sustainable infrastructure that visibly enhances and engages community design.
At Davis Court in downtown San Francisco, Sherwood Design Engineers and the design team worked closely throughout the design process and selection of artist. Ned Kahn’s ‘Cloud Portal’ is a kinetic stainless steel sculpture that harmonizes with the surrounding urban and natural environment and captivates passersby with a cloud of mist that moves with the air currents. The sculpture sits within a still reflecting pool outlined by a stainless steel weir and inlaid with salvaged historic cobbles from the sites. Open joints between cobbles allow water to circulate and slip over the stainless steel edge without disturbing the surface of the water feature.