Everything is Nothing/Nothing is Everything, 2010, Granite, 31" x 24.5" x 12" - Artist: Kenneth Lo

Having a father that was significantly older than my mother (older than my maternal grandfather as a matter of fact) made for an interesting childhood. Many funerals were attended. More than any other kid I knew. That being said, there was a familiarity with all the little details that outfitted such an occasion. The headstone alone was the summation of a person’s life – Name, Birth and Death Date. Perhaps, for the living (and, if money permit), an epitaph accompanied with etchings of roses or some serene landscape. It is safe for you to assume I know a thing or two about what is involved in the ritualistic aspects of burying a person and the act of commemoration. Kenneth Lo’s work is the whole package – intelligence, wit, humor, and correlation to universals. It’s undeniable quite frankly. Sure, the work may cater to one’s fascination with death and impermanence but it brings forth aspects of our daily lives we would often neglect or choose to forget. Lo’s work in his solo exhibition, every stone thethereed to sleep/every presence wedded to stone, 2011, showing at Southern Exposure Gallery (San Francisco, CA) addresses memory, ritual, loss, being/non-being, nothingness, and fixation.

Not everyone’s actions will be memorialized, bronzed, marbled or collected for posterity, but that does not detract from someone’s legacy. ~Michael Hall

One never really knows where thoughts and conversations go after all is said and done especially with technology giving the illusion that time moves faster than our physical existence. If one were to think about this, philosophically, time is linear, doesn’t change, and the adage is right – it, certainly, doesn’t wait for anyone. Although humans are constantly evolving, there is still that irrationality of permanence. With a rapidly evolving globalized world dictated, in many ways, by technology, Hall asserts that Lo, “…realizes that in the end, all the monuments, all the lists, the forget-me-nots, don’t mean a thing if no one remembers. After all, it’s often the small, significant moments we remember best.” It is even more impressive to turn the lens on oneself and disclose aspects of every day life that would otherwise be buried in the deep recesses of cyberspace.

With commemoration comes the choice of material. Lo’s use of granite and concrete lent itself extremely well to the ritualistic nature of burying the dead. It is the one physical thing that remains. It serves as a marker of life and truly universal. From a wooden cross to an elaborate gravestone, culture and tradition obliges us to place that physical marker at the end of life. Lo examines this act of morbidity by re-contextualizing and re-interpreting this ritual. The viewer is forced to read and remember these moments. A tombstone is synonymous with an end albeit a tangible artifact of a life lived but for Mr. Kenneth Lo, this exhibition has exuberantly breathed new life (pun very much intended) into our collective understanding of modern life that is completely worth the examination.

He is one to follow.

ArtHaus at 411 Brannan Street in San Franciso, CA

Is it possible to have an art crush on two gallerists? My answer: Yes

James Bacchi and Annette Schutz opened ArtHaus in 1996 and have since created a fostering gallery environment for their stable of artists and connected with the San Francisco community in so many ways (i.e., philanthropic work with many charity organizations is just one example). After meeting the pair, their passion is remarkable. Along with their love for the Arts, the artists they have represented over the past 15 years serve as a testament to their commitment to artists’ progression and evolution. A proper write up of ArtHaus is forthcoming but I wanted to share prior to something much more formal.  

If you’re thinking about visiting ArtHaus, think no longer. Please visit James and Annette. It will be more than nice.

You Gotta Piece, 2011 (Pen, Marker, Watercolor, rubber stamps) by Dorothy Santos

Ah, the day of heart shaped chocolates, conversation hearts, disdainful people that despise Valentine’s day, and an exchange of love notes…

Truthfully, I absolutely love the day (YES, EVEN when I was single). I just never (ever) really thought of it as a day for couples. The history itself and all the believed legends of what makes Valentine’s Day, well, Valentine’s day has very little to do with romantic love between two people (but I can see and understand where and how romantic love plays an integral role in understanding its history). Again, I’m not going to go through the litany of Heart’s Day history BUT if you insist, you can start here.

This year, I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted to create something based on social networking. There were several pre-selected folks but I wanted to see who would respond to my Twitter and Facebook posting of the following:

Want to receive something special (handwritten with hearts and a memory)? Send your mailing address to dorothy.r.santos@gmail.com ♥

Honestly, I was NOT expecting anyone to respond. As I mentioned to someone else, I thought, if lucky, maybe 2-3 people. Seriously, even though I have Twitter and Facebook friends, I wasn’t expecting to receive a slew of home mailing addresses. I had the idea brewing in my head and crossed my fingers. Pleasantly surprised, there were 17 willing participants out of 24 total recipients. I proceeded to cut 4×6 cards, piece them together, draw the human heart, and draw! I worked on this for a few days and had different drawing methods (i.e., drawing randomly on cards, patterns based on my mood, images that had something to do with where I’m from – San Francisco, CA). The result: A blue and red heart made with, well, a lot of lovingly made doodles. Yes, when I was a kid, I was a doodler/scribbler extraordinaire and wanted to re-visit those days to remind people that they’re loved and cared for.

See, art can pump some much needed love in the world…yes, I’m a die hard optimist. Do YOU have a problem with THAT? Didn’t think so. 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day, family, friends, and the rest of the world. 🙂

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An incredible weekend to do an urban hike through the San Francisco streets! Today was one of the best days and our hiking group worked up a sweat walking up and down the hills surrounding Koit Tower. Fortunately, we didn’t ascend the stairs that would bring us to the landmark but we were able to catch glimpses of the urban landscape walking along the downtown San Francisco streets.

Now, since it is Valentine’s day weekend, I wanted to focus on yet another aspect of what makes art such an integral part of a community – the muralist. Some time ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Johanna Poethig during one of her group exhibitions curated by artist, Jenifer Wofford. One of my dear friends suggested I look up from our hike to see the i-Hotel mural. I was astonished by its vibrancy and depiction of Filipino history in San Francisco.

Naturally, being Filipino American, it’s near and dear to my heart. It was Poethig’s tribute to the long fight for low-income housing to the Asian community (predominantly Filipino) via the i-Hotel. Yet, again, another reason and method of how art can capture an individual’s attention (no matter what color, culture, sexual orientation, whatever) and help disseminate a message to the masses. Cheers to, another art crush and hero, Johanna Poethig!!

Artist: Lauren DiCioccio

I wanted to share one of my art crushes, Lauren DiCioccio.

DiCioccio looks at common items and puts an entirely different spin on what it means to create art from life. You know, the whole art imitates life and/or life imitates art thing? Well, she certainly makes you wonder what would happen if we put just as much labor into the everyday things. She is currently showing at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and I must say, since it’s Valentine’s day weekend, I thought I would spread the love.

With Valentine’s day just around the corner (and, yes, I’m excited, I love the day and don’t care if you don’t), I felt compelled to write about interconnectedness. That lost love, that forgettable love, or that unrequited love in your life all seem to hit people at once on the red-and-pink-heart-chocolate-laden day. So, I wanted to lead you to one of Stephanie Syjuco’s older works that shows Interconnectedness in a much more intimate way. In a sexy way, if you ask me.

Her work, “Interpersonal Relationships Based on Fact, Rumor, or Hearsay, and Depicted as Either Molecular Compositions or Constellation Maps (To the Best of My Knowledge), 2003” charted relationships in the Bay Area art scene. However you want to perceive those relationships, it’s up to you but she does a brilliant job at making you wonder and looking at our connections differently. I never grow tired of her work. You can view the chart here.

More lovey-dovey, interconnected, mushy art related stuff to follow…xoxo