I will be participating on a panel discussion scheduled for  Tuesday, June 17th from 6:30-8:00 pm to discuss the work of Bay Area artist Evie Leder. Her current body (no pun intended, maybe) is currently on view at A Simple Collective (San Francisco, CA). Here’s an excerpt from the shows press release,

Evie Leder’s The Objects is a meditation on the male body consisting of approximately thirty videos, along with a series of detail photographs and video stills. Over a filming period of ten days, fourteen men—a diverse group of performers and artists in the San Francisco queer scene—visited the artist’s studio one by one. Creating an intimate space and relationship between artist and subject, Leder gave simple, but deliberate instruction: stand quietly, breathe, stretch, open and close eyes, turn…In Leder’s series, the men are objects, but specific, very human objects, with presence.

For more information, please visit the event link here

Noritaka Minami, A706 (Wall I), 2011; archival pigment print mounted on aluminum; 30 x 38 in. Courtesy of the Artist and the Kearny Street Workshop, San Francisco.

Humans are resilient. Our anatomy is extraordinary and highly complex. We build, construct, destroy, and synthesize. But human nature involves understanding the biology and mechanisms that provoke us to move and accelerate. In Movement in Many Parts, an exhibition curated by Lucy Seena K. Lin and Weston Teruya, artists investigate human evolution through nature and industry. Their ruminations are shown through organic forms, moving image, photography, drawing, and painting. Each work reminds us of the adage that the totality of many things in concert is far greater than one single part of the whole.

In A1007 (Wall II) (2011), Noritaka Minami asks us to peer into the modular housing built within the Japanese urban landscape. At the start of the series, a viewer is let into a small room with a single, large round window that looks out onto the city and other pods. There is no returning gaze; a viewer sees only the disheveled room of a seemingly busy city dweller. The room could very well be a viewer’s; the window is the only way to see outside and to observe other living things. Stagnancy is apparent through the dull colors of bed sheets and the aging, disintegrating papers on the wall. Even the dated typography of the numbers on the clock suggests a thick layer of dust has settled over things untouched. The scene gives the sense that the busyness of city life has depleted the weary soul that inhabits this space. Minami’sTower (Facade 1) (2011) includes a segment of the exterior architecture that gives a viewer not only a sense of scale but also of how nature has weathered the building’s exterior. The erosion suggests that the original design is obsolete in this fast-paced environment.

While Minami’s photographs depict an environment, Kim Anno’s photographs ponder the effects of climate change and demonstrate how humans may adapt to and work with rising sea levels. Men and Women in Water Cities (2011) shows individuals fully clothed in suits and corporate attire turning their bodies toward a viewer, as though caught in mid-action. The picture plane presents something absurd. Yet, is it as absurd as we think? Anno proposes peculiar but perhaps ingenious ways we might survive despite nature’s disposition, showing what humans may be driven to do when it is necessary to endure. It is this human tendency toward movement that forces resiliency.

Originally posted to Shotgun Reviews on Art Practical, please click here to view.

Kate Lee Short. Oculus, 2012; salvaged speakers, speaker wire, Motu audio interface, Mac mini, Lepai Amplifiers, wood, 17 x14 x10 ft. Courtesey of SOMArts photo by J. Astra Brinkmann.

You know what is awesome about grad school? Being around talented and brilliant artists and writers. Check out fellow classmate Erica Gomez’s guest blog post on the SOMArts Cultural Center blog regarding the Annual Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Group show. It’s a great write-up! Click here to view on SOMArts!

Tristan Cai. Physical Realities of Death-A Memoir of Toivo Laukkannen, 2012; archival giclée prints on wood, 216 x120 in. Photo: Erica Gomez.

The Annual Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition is on view at SOMArts through October 2, 2012.

 

Poklong Anading. “Anonymity” (2008-2011) is a series of nine black and white Duratrans prints inlightboxes . © Poklong Anading, 2011; Courtesy of Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill, Graz, Austria.

“…Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past explores how Asian cosmologies, view of nature, and religious outlooks are being carried on in the practice of artists “here and now”. Further, it shines a light from “here and now” on the history and traditions of Asia, expanding our imagination into a realm that transcends space and time and awakening the receptivity that enables us to sense the invisible forces that resound to this day like a basso continuo.”

                                                                                                                – Mami Kataoka, Co-curator of Phantoms of Asia

The ethereal and enigmatic serve as inspiration for many of the works currently showing at the Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past exhibition at the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA). Specifically, this collection of artworks transforms the materiality of objects into explanations of our relationships to Time and the Cosmos. These ideas are certainly at the core of Poklong Anading and Ringo Bunoan’s work. Since a primary objective of art entails illuminating truths that may be dormant in human subconscious or obscured by dominant culture, the artist’s aim is to delve into the past to conjure up truths about the present and possible future.

Works from the exhibition look at how traditional forms, methods, and ancient philosophies inform and serve as the impetus for contemporary works. Cultural nuances and long withstanding beliefs play a tremendous role in Phantoms of Asia. Both Anading and Bunoan aim to capture the complexities surrounding our notions of the intangible. They look at our collective human experience and connection with the earth and the environment, in particular, Anading’s creation of a meditative gaze to the ritualistic gestures as seen in Bunoan’s work. With the flash of a bright light to the image of rolled blankets as sculpture, the two artists use simple gestures as a way to communicate and entice a dialogue with the viewer on our complex existence and mortality.

While wandering through the exhibition, I couldn’t help but reflect on the definition of the word ‘phantom’ and its relationship to the exhibition and its overall meaning to contemporary Asian Art. Naturally, in looking up the definition, I found the following, as defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary:

1 a : something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence : apparition

1 b : something elusive or visionary

1 c : an object of continual dread or abhorrence

2 : something existing in appearance only

3 : a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal

Although the popular definition is suitable for the show, the last definition was the most striking, “a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal”. Both Anading and Bunoan examine the corporeality of objects within an environment as well as byproducts of human existence. The subjects contained in the works provoke the viewer to grapple with notions of transcendence, life, and death. As I stepped into the dimly lit gallery, slowly walking through a pair of glass doors, I saw the work of Poklong Anading. At first glance, the unique display of light boxes from his photographic series, Anonymity (2008-2011), gave the light within the photograph even more illumination.

The light against the transparent prints provided a stark contrast to the subject’s environments and accentuated highlights and shadows that would otherwise remain flat. Mirrors reflecting blazing rays of sunlight, seeing bare feet adorned by flip-flops, and the surrounding environments of each subject, Anading does a superb job at making the viewer believe this could in fact be anywhere in the world. The faceless subjects were not only anonymous but where their faces once were became a meditative focal point. These subjects become ethereal beings thus forcing the imagination to wonder and the anonymity becomes a meditation. There is a revealing in the unrevealing. In a visual and figurative sense, Anading removes the subject’s gaze to serve as an interpretation of what transcendence may look like. There is a sense of wonder and mystery to the subjects’ lives as the viewer fixates on the light.

Ringo Bunoan. “Passage”, 2007.

On the opposite end of universals, Bunoan’s work looks at the concept of death and our connection to the past. In her work, Passage: The Blanket Project (2007), the performative and sculptural work was created while Bunoan was living in Pashupati, Nepal. Living with the sick and elderly, she found materiality to be the least of residents’ concerns and worries. Allison Harding, co-curator for the exhibition, reflects on Passage by noting on the object itself, “Once symbols of warmth, comfort, and rest, the blankets in Passage signify the bodies they covered. Partly memento mori and partly the artist’s farewell to Nepal, the documentation of Bunoan’s work from a single afternoon reminds us that after death, traces of us may remain”.

In viewing photographs of the Nepalese residents engaging in performative gesture resulting in a sculptural piece that bears a striking resemblance to a casket, the viewer can easily see that much of Bunoan’s work relies heavily on the senses and community. Each rolled up blanket becomes a composite entity, which seems to be a metaphor for the multi-faceted human being, a community, and the interconnectedness of humankind on a global scale. The ceremonial nature of the work serves to remind the viewer that physical remnants prevent us from being wholly detached from spirituality or one another.

The work of Poklong Anading and Ringo Bunoan fit perfectly in this exhibition in that each set of works extrapolates the enigmatic nature of spirituality, life, and death. Regardless of a viewer’s beliefs, there is something inherent in the pieces that transcend the physical human experience. As humans constantly struggle to understand ourselves, Anading and Bunoan provide us with visual representations of the intangible because the art provides yet more extraordinary explanations to ideas we so desperately try to wrangle and comprehend yet consistently elude us.

Originally posted to PlantingRice.com, please click here to view additional photos of the exhibition

Rio Yanez, Artist Profile

In the early 20th century, San Francisco felt the effects of disaster. The earthquake of 1906 left the city with crumbled buildings and widespread devastation throughout the downtown area, so art was probably not on the minds of civil servants and residents trying to recuperate and clean a city in disrepair. Artwork from this period in San Francisco history, such as works by Jules Page, showed a San Francisco landscape unharmed by natural disaster; Page’s work captured the vibrancy of the city. In such a digitally laden age, shows may not commonly feature serene paintings of the San Francisco cityscape. But there’s still a deep appreciation for artists who incorporate the city through an artistic lens that gives the viewer a strong sense of the city’s essence.

In searching for a contemporary San Francisco artist who uses San Francisco as a primary element within their work, we found Rio Yañez. At Muddy Waters Coffee House on San Francisco’s popular Valencia Street, a young man wearing a black, Star Wars–themed Dia de Los Muertos T-shirt approaches and kindly greets me. As a native San Franciscan, Yañez grew up on 26th Street to parents who were both visual artists. In the 1970s, his father was a collage artist and curator, while his mother was a painter. Rene Yañez, his father, remains highly active in the Bay Area arts community today. Father and son have co-curated shows and worked in tandem, most recently on a 3-D art project enticing viewers into a rich dialogue both visually and physically. In addition, Yañez created 3-D conversions of his father’s other work. As co-founders of art group The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the duo silkscreen tortillas with chocolate ink and create edible works of art that serve as both interventions and experimental art.

One of the life-changing events for Yañez was turning to photography in high school. Soon after graduation in the late 1990s, he started the City College of San Francisco associate degree program in photography, marveling at two-megapixel cameras. He found something exciting and rewarding. He moved to Southern California to attend the prestigious California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where he received his bachelor’s degree in photography. Upon returning to the Bay Area, he wanted to mesh his photography skills with his love and fascination for sequential art. The end results were dynamic artworks that coalesced photography, drawing and new media. His childhood obsession with comic books resurfaced and can be seen in some of his most current works. Yañez continues to work digitally but is exploring

ways that he can apply his knowledge to other formats. With a fascination of moving GIFs, or cinemagraphs, he continues to pay homage to the San Francisco cityscape and memories that shape his spirited and energetic work.

Even with significant differences in medium, the common thread between Page and Yañez is the desire to illustrate San Francisco in a way that captivates and piques the curiosity of the viewer. Both artists utilize San Francisco as a subject, but Yañez shows how the city has grown, developed and changed over the past century. He successfully aims to show his San Francisco in such a way that any viewer—whether newcomer, transplant or native—is more than welcome to join in on the dialogue.

Upcoming Shows: Counterproof: The Other Side of Print at Incline Gallery with The Great Tortilla Conspiracy ~ April 13. To learn more about Rio Yañez visit his website. RioYanez.com

Originally posted to Asterisk SF Magazine. Please view here.

Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yanez

April 27, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ASTERISK SAN FRANCISCO GALLERY PRESENTS, Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yañez

Exhibition runs: Thursday, May 3, 2012 – Friday, June 1, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 3, 2012 7PM -9PM
3156 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Gallery hours: Wednesday to Saturday, from 11am -7pm

Asterisk San Francisco Gallery is pleased to present Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yanez, a collection of 3D drawings and photography.  Please join us on Thursday, May 3, 2012 from 7-9pm for the exhibition opening.

As a native San Francisco artist, curator, and photographer, Yañez includes the viewer into the art experience. This show is particularly meaningful as it is Yañez’s first solo exhibition in the neighborhood where he was raised. In Cholas to Picasso: The 3D Artworks of Rio Yañez, three-dimensional works of his ongoing series, The Ramirez Sisters, depicting two siblings and their parallel lives in San Francisco’s Mission District takes on the form of sequential art. Although Yañez negates text, the images of the sisters evokes a strong sense of the how the city shapes the sisters’ individual identities. With his re-contextualization and imaginings of Frida Kahlo and Picasso inspired works, the images mesh into the contemporary fabric Yañez calls home. His photographic works depict the richness and vibrancy of San Francisco. Through Red and Cyan colored lenses, the dynamic simulation of being in these moments of creation is brought to the participant. The textures and scenes of the city enliven the urban landscape. The three-dimensional facet of the works are also kinetic and engaging as they lure the viewer into participating into the city’s infectious and energetic spirit.

About the Artist

Rio Yañez is a curator, photographer, graphic artist, and San Francisco artist. As a curator, he is a frequent collaborator with his father, Rene Yañez, and the two have been developing exhibits together since 2005. He has exhibited in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Tokyo. His reimaginings of Frida Kahlo have included the Ghetto Frida Project, a series of prints, writings, and performance pieces featuring a thugged-out Kahlo. Yañez is also a founding member of The Great Tortilla Conspiracy, the world’s most dangerous tortilla art collective. Most recently, his work is featured alongside Miguel “Bounce” Perez and Susie “Tendaroni” Lundy in current exhibition, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at the De Young Museum. Yañez received his BFA in Photography from the California Institute of the Arts. He currently works and resides in San Francisco, California.

Web: http://rioyanez.com

About Asterisk San Francisco Gallery

Asterisk San Francisco Gallery is located in San Francisco’s vibrant Mission District. The gallery was founded in January 2012 by Asterisk San Francisco co-founders Chief Editor, Jeremy Joven, and Managing Editor, Alex Winter. The gallery focuses on supporting emerging artists within the Bay Area community. It is also available for art openings and single evening events. Rental of the space is available upon request.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm. To visit, please visit us at 3156 24th Street (at Shotwell), San Francisco, CA 94110.

Web: http://asterisksanfrancisco.com