Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Art Bug

NOB HILL--I've been knocked down by some sort of stomach nastiness for the last couple of days. I'd like to blame it on art. After all, MaryAnn and I attended 3 art openings on Saturday and by Sunday night I was sick. I guess I would classify this situation as an intestinal eruption with aesthetic overtones.

At any rate, Saturday we started out at Claudia Baragiola's show which is entitled Still Life, Still Valid at Artspace 116 on the corner of 1st St. and Central. If there was ever an artist that could make you fall in love with still lifes all over again, she is the one. They are absolutely wonderous. Not only is she a brilliant painter, but her selection and arrangement of material constantly make the viewer aware that all art is a window. Her Kava, shown here to the left of MaryAnn and Claudia, grabs light and reflects it to where you find yourself wondering whether your own shadow is visible on the sides of those espresso makers. I love her work. These are paintings that never grow tiresome. She is not afraid of complexity of image, strong colors, intelligent viewers, or the sometimes truly personal quirks that make good art so satisfying.

If you have time, use the above links and view her paintings. The show runs until the end of the month.

Betsy Brown Townsend opened a show of her weavings at Johnson Gallery in Madrid. Several artists were featured and the event was crowded. She does such careful and intricate work, using cotton and other thin yarns. Typically her designs feature words, phrases, or sayings. Of course, her piece that makes me smile the most is one that incorporates the opening lines from a poem I did as a young man called Stinson Beach. There are to be two more panels that will complete the entire poem.

She also has a wonderfully gradiated piece with colors that just burst from the hanging. She really does wonderful work.

Later, after the sun had set, we wound up at Sam Pillsbury's reception over at Art is OK...right next to Cost Plus. Sam has 3 or 4 works in the current show (We couldn't find the 4th piece, but it was VERY crowded). Sam is another artist who plays with the incongruities of the built environment in a wild but not particularly unfriendly planet. He likes to juxtapose Roman buildings and pastoral landscapes. I suspect this is a metaphor that might appeal to many searching for a sense of order in a world "that is too much with us." Like the above two artists, Sam is very precise in his execution. His craftmanship is remarkable.

Well, I am sure I picked up that 36-hour bug at one of those places. But it didn't stop me from enjoying a really wonderful Saturday.

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