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Postcard Image CHRIS ASHLEY
JUDITH BELZER
GINA BORG
CLEM CROSBY
MICHAEL DAVID
ALAN EBNOTHER
LYNN GLASER
NAN GRAND-JEAN
MARIE THIBEAULT
ALAN TREISTER
TAD WILEY
JOHN ZURIER
Postcard Image For the 13th exhibit in the room for paper, we are presenting the work of Sebastopol based artist Charlotte Cain. Cain adapts the traditional methods and motifs of Indian miniature painting to create an individuated lexicon of the spirit. Between 1996 and 1997 she studied in Jaipur with the Rajasthan master Bannu Sharma and returned for a year in 2005 under a Fulbright grant to deepen her technique. She has exhibited extensively in the US and India since 1978, most recently with solo shows at the Widener Gallery, Trinity College, Hartford, and the Des Moines Art Center. Her work was collected by the painter Agnes Martin, and is in the Rockefeller collection, the William Benton Museum, University of Connecticut, and the Musuem of Jnana-Pravaha in Varnasi, India.She was a 1981 recipientof a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For the 12th show in the room for painting I'm thrilled to present recent work by prominent New Zealand painter Stephen Bambury. I first met Stephen in San Francisco in the early '80s. We later spent time together in Paris while he was there as a Moet Chandon fellow. Stephen had by then well established his mature expression, an unlikely collision of the sensual, flowing qualities of acrylic paint with the voluntary constraints of a constructivist mode. The terse vernacular he had developed has now turned into a decades-long probe of the possibilities, both as motif and armature, of the cross. Using this most laden of social symbols, which also happens to be the device of choice of many formalists, he deftly manages an art that is neither symbolic nor formal. What he achieves is more akin to an ethos, a balance that straddles rigor and play. His painting is trans-mogrification in reverse; it renders an unaccountable, intuitive spirit as corporeal fact through a plastic medium on a hard surface, color up against an edge. That Bambury is able to hold a whole wall or a whole room like a deer in headlights with even the most modestly scaled painting, is evidence of how central this ethos is to our values, both our organizing principles and our aspirations to unbounded freedom. Painting is good when it promotes this freedom; it is at its best when it shows us a way to achieve it.

I would like to thank Andrew Jensen of Jensen Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, for his generosity and help with this exhibition.

Postcard Image Exhibition 12 in the room for paper pairs a second artist from down under, Australian painter Jude Rae, showing her recent still life watercolors. I came upon Rae’s work initially in reproduction while perusing the Andrew Jensen Gallery web site, stumbling across an oil painting of a demure arrangement of propane tanks and red camper bottles. Even at screen resolution, the image and its handling knocked me off my chair. Rae seemed like a modern day Morandi, except that to the Italian master's quiet laser focus, she was bringing a cultivated sense of humor and a deadpan nod to our current predicament. In another painting she worked a figure from Hopper in a room from Vermeer bathed in a contemporary light both painters would have envied, and all done without a trace of sarcasm. To the contrary, there is something loving in her work, like the feeling you get when you watch your kids eat. As is true for many of the artists I follow these days, Rae seems to understand all of art history as her inheritance and birthright, a fortune to spend as she pleases. In her new watercolors she exhibits an ease and an intimacy that again sheds a fresh, contemporary light on well- established conventions, and feels like a fortune well spent.
Postcard Image For the 11th exhibition in the room for painting, and for our celebration of the first anniversary of the gallery, we are proud to be showing selected work of New York painter Richmond Burton, including his 12 x 25 foot Tarp Painting, most recently exhibited at London's Royal Academy Schools Gallery. Works shown will also include a selection of small paintings from his 2008/2009 series based on the seasons. Burton's painting is characterized by an intuitive and rhythmic drawing, and an organic pulse. His was the inaugural show for Matthew Mark's then-new gallery and following, he showed for years with Cheim & Read. He lives and works in the Hamptons in Lee Krasner's old house, which he purchased from John Chamberlain. Burton's work is represented in many major American museum collections, including the Met, MOMA, the Fogg, the Art Institute of Chicago, MOCA, and the Eli Broad Foundation.
Postcard Image Helping us to celebrate our first year anniversary with our 11th show in the room for paper is Chapel Hill-based photographer Tama Hochbaum, whose composite tree series inaugurated our program along with Judith Belzer's painting when we opened the gallery last October. Hochbaum will be showing a new body of work, large, grid-arranged pigment prints, composited from her digital photographs, most of which were taken in motion from a car or on walks. The color and dynamism of these images show her roots as a painter, and further develop the sensibilities of a nascent approach to photography that might be described as trans-focus, an idea touched upon in September's informal group hanging here. An expanded version of Hochbaum's catalog, originally produced for exhibition 01, is being released for this showing, Hochbaum’s second exhibition in the room for paper.
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For the 10th show in the room for painting we present selected works by London-based painter Clem Crosby, gestural oils done on formica supports, mounted on aluminum back frames. Crosby is working at the radical center of a growing circle of painters who accept the accumulated legacy of art history and contemporary culture in their work, but without any traces of the irony that characterized a generation of appropriation. He works in relentless cycles of revision, corrective erasure, and overlay, mixing topical concerns with reference to the past as seamlessly as he mixes color and drawing. The resulting paintings are at once emotional and yet rigorously intellectual, improvised and yet painstakingly considered. Speaking of the material upon which he paints, Crosby notes,

"The use of the laminate Formica allows me to revise, edit, erase and re-work the paint, unlike canvas which eventually clogs with paint. And the anonymity of the laminate adds to the sense of detachment."

Clem Crosby has shown in London with Laure Genillard and the Lisson Gallery. His work has been exhibited at the Tate Modern, the UC Berkeley Art Museum, the Stedilijk Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. He is the recipient of the RIBA 2007 award from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

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Exhibition 10 in the room for paper showcases selections from an ongoing series of works on paper by New York Painter Tad Wiley, entitled Waterlog. The group extends the concerns of Wiley's painting, oil-based enamels on wood panels, dealing with totemic imagery and the slick, transparent quality of his chosen medium. Waterlog is an appropriate name for the series because in succession they read like a ship's journal. Wiley evokes, both through his iconography and the emotional tone of his color and light, associations with the stoic scale of the Northern Seaboard. He works in a vernacular that is pre-linguistic, but nonetheless akin to Melville's, although his touch and sense of architecture may call up to California eyes affinities with another painter inspired by proximity to the ocean, Richard Diebenkorn. There is also more than a hint of another shore, and the art of the Kwakiutl, in Wiley's curvilinear forms, his symmetry and the frontal stance of his imagery.

Tad Wiley has shown in New York at Petra Bungert Gallery and Lang & O'Hara Gallery, and in Los Angeles at Lora Schlesinger Gallery and Ace Gallery. He is a two-time recipient of Pollock/Krasner grants and a three-time recipient from the Edward F. Albee Foundation.

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Exhibition 9 in the room for painting will provide many visitors to the gallery with their first in-depth look at the work of Oakland artist Lorene Anderson. Anderson works with a deft mix of casein, acrylic, ink, and mica pigments to create gravity defying imagery with a highly individuated color/light. Her paint application is intuitive though her method is grounded in an intellectual rigor. As a catalyst to creating this series of paintings, Anderson has drawn on a literary reference, Italo Calvino's 1972 novel, Invisible Cities. She takes her titles from the cities in the book, and writes:

"I'm interested in random patterns, networks and self-automating systems and reinforce these explorations by mimicking that concept in my paint application. I let paint travel across wet areas creating a webbed effect, or let different mediums merge, feather into each other or totally repel one another. Patterns emerge that resemble nerve, network or tree branch designs. Thinking about cities as a type of self-automating system led me to my current series of abstract paintings that explore the concept of organized networks versus chaotic patterns."

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For the 9th show in the room for paper, the gallery presents the Black Drawings of Philadelphia painter Quentin Morris. Shortly after opening the gallery I was introduced by John Zurier to the radical work of Morris, a man of strong identities—Native Philadelphian, African American, Nam-Myho-Renge-Kyo Buddhist, and in his 60s, an artist still living and working in the house where he was born. For over 40 years Morris has painted and drawn exclusively in black. In his words,

"I began exploring monochromatic painting, exclusively black, using a myriad of tonalities and textures to present black's intrinsically enigmatic beauty and infinite depth, to refute all negative cultural mythologies about the color, and ultimately, to create work that innately expresses the all encompassing spirituality of life."

Morris has exhibited at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art, the African-American Museum, Arcadia University Art Gallery, Larry Becker Contemporary Art, Moore College of Art and Design, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Drawing Center NY, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Emory Museum of Art, and Museo de Arte Contemporaria, Recife, Brazil. This is his first West Coast exhibition.

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Exhibition 08 in the room for painting showcases recent monochrome paintings by Alan Ebnother. Originally from the Bay Area, Ebnother now maintains studios in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Leipzig, Germany. His work has been exhibited extensively over the last 20 years in Europe. Ebnother's oils, in hand-ground dry pigment on stretched linen and wood panels, are characterized by rich impasto, dense pigmentation, and an intuitive, acrobatic marking. Ebnother was originally trained as a ballet dancer and his understanding of elevation, extension, and balance comes through in his dispersed composition and the agility of his paint handling. The high pigment-to-oil ratio and furrowed surfaces of these paintings combine to create an unusually saturated color with a grounded, concrete physicality.

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With the 8th show in the room for paper, we are concluding the second half of our Big Top diptych, presenting the recent work of Bay Area photographer Rachael Jablo, C-Prints from her ongoing series entitled Under a Circus Sky. In contrast to Susan Felter's vintage studies of the performers, shown here in exhibition 06, Jablo has chosen through her shots of arena exteriors, moon-lit parking lots and empty bleachers, to concentrate on the architecture of absence. She exploits the hallowing light of after-hours to mitigate between the outer and inner life, as defined by the thin, ribbed membrane of her subject circus tents. The presence of the performers and the crowds is inferred, as Jablo manages to wrestle a strangely emotive chroma out of draped canvas, diagonal tie-lines and oblique shadows.

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For venue 07 in the room for painting we are pleased to be showing recent canvases by Marie Thibeault, with a selection of the work coming to us directly from her exhibit at the Torrance Museum. Thibeault, formerly of the Bay Area and now based in Los Angeles, is Professor of Art at California State University Long Beach and a recipient of multiple grants from that institution. Thiebeault uses source images of natural disasters such as Katrina, often from clippings, as her catalyst to improvise gestural overlays of sophisticated color and thicketed space. Her compositions seem to be held in abeyance at the moment they could either explode or implode. Although her subject matter is ostensibly chaos, her formal coalescence and the harmonics of her color speak to recovery, and an order more generative than deconstructed.

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For exhibition seven in the room for paper we are honored to present recent gouaches by renown New York painter and critical writer Stephen Westfall. Westfall is a recipient of this year's Prix de Rome, a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship, three NEAs, two New York State Council on the Arts Awards, the 2006 Nancy Graves Grant for Visual Arts, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work is widely reviewed, most recently in the April issue of Art in America. Westfall's painting is as democratic as it is bipolar, and he extols the virtues of both states. These intimate gouaches tread the fine balance between a conceptually based abstraction and an intuitive navigation rooted in the experiences of the body; between the strange forces of art history and contemporary culture, and the gravitational forces that channel color and light.

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For the sixth exhibition in the room for painting we are pleased to be showing the recent work of San Francisco painter Nan Grand-Jean. Grand-Jean's painting is guided by the light. Something of a transcendentalist, she dissolves into a gestural color/light all the sense impressions of the world around her, the world of her imagination and the movements of her own body. Her work is marked by a sensitivity of touch, a depth of surface and an apt sense of scale, but first and foremost by a handling of color that gives back a wonderful luminosity. Grand-Jean conceives in terms of divine light, our access to it and the obstructions that block us from it. Her work hovers on the threshold of what we see and what we sense, at once corporeal and still somehow beyond what we can grasp, an intimation of the metaphysical.

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For exhibition 06 in the room for paper we are presenting vintage C-Prints by noted Bay Area photographer Susan Felter, selections from a series she worked on in the early to mid 1980s while capturing the antics of the Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Circus Vargas. Felter's work evokes a perennial nostalgia while managing to stay current through the depth of her psychology and the precision of her composition–a balance so complete I found it difficult to even crop an image for the postcard. Felter brings a new level of coalescence to events already staged for the ring, and a compassionate empathy to unguarded moments outside the ring, to dive beneath the crowd-pleasing artifice of the circus, creating images that are best described as intimacies.

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For the fifth exhibition in the room for painting I am excited to introduce San Francisco audiences to the exceptional work of Michael David, Professor and Chair of the Fine Arts Department of the Art Institute of Boston. David’s work is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Fogg Art Museum and the Museum of the City of New York. He studied with Philip Guston and Vija Celmins. For this series, David plays with the word field and its many art historical associations. While his image may be a faithfully rendered field of grass, it is also a monochromatic field of color with the articulated marking of radical painting. David improvises, starting with sweeping gestures that slowly focus and find their identity as composition and form. His achievement is a high synthesis of the abstract, the figurative, and the concrete.

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Exhibition 05 in the room for paper presents a series of silver gelatin prints by Los Angeles-based photographer Natalie Obermaier, collectively entitled Indehiscent Fruit. The term refers to a class of fruit that remains closed at maturity and does not give up its seed, and the analogy in this series is apt. Obermaier adopts what at first glance seems a simple portrait mode in order to capture the isolation of innocence. Her studies of children evoke the modern malaise of growing up too quickly. Her subjects are marooned but coping in a world of lawns and floods and raking afternoon light where adults have left them to fend for themselves. Obermaier maintains a light touch; she seems to have just arrived on the scene, never contriving and never judging. Her effect is modest, but her impact is profound.

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The fourth exhibition in the room for painting showcases the work of Boston painter Amy Sudarsky. Sudarsky adopts the timeless discipline of painting from the live model and recasts the image of the nude in an altogether timely mode. She achieves a specificity of the moment without reliance on narrative device or datable props; without exaggerated foreshortening and cropping, or overt expressionism. Sudarsky's immediacy comes primarily from her understanding of painting's ability to reveal depth through unequivocal surface. The open gazes and postures of her sitters serve to underscore the ethic of exposure she maintains in her uncompromising handling of the paint itself, an acceptance that there is nowhere to hide. The result is a figuration not so much of the nude as of the naked, wherein vulnerability is a strength and mortality a virtue.

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Kim Smith is a prominent figure in San Francisco's Hunters Point Shipyard group of artists. For the fourth run in the room for paper we are showing the entire series of original paper and text collages that make up her recently released book, Where Quirky Meets Menacing: an autobiography in collage. Through a subjective mix of disembodied nostalgia and constructivist imagery overlaid on old book pages, along with text punctuated with a morse code-like set of dashes, a parody of the censoring effect of memory, Smith recounts her early experiences growing up in Germany. She manages a variation on the graphic novel, at once humorous, poignant and revealing. Kim Smith will be on hand at the reception for a book signing.

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Chris Ashley has gained respect from art world insiders over the last few years for a unique series of HTML coded drawings he posts daily on his blog. A year's worth of prints from this online body of work was recently exhibited at David Cunningham Gallery in San Francisco. Parallel to this effort, Ashley maintains a disciplined studio practice as an accomplished painter. Over the last three years he has been working on a formally related group of small canvases, oil and industrial metalic paint on linen, which he refers to simply as the Blue & Green Paintings. We are pleased to to present a selection from this series in the room for painting. A catalog of the exhibition with an essay by James Harris is available through the gallery.

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Oakland based conceptualist Scott MacLeod defies easy categorization as an artist. He is a maker of objects, a publisher of books, a performer, and a keen and compassionate social critic. In this exhibition, we will be showing a group of pencil drawings he did as a young boy of four. Previously exhibited at the San Francisco Art Institute, these precocious sketches are significant in their own right but MacLeod has lived his life in such a way as to reach back and validate this work in a manner few could. We are excited about the opportunity to show these remarkable drawings in the room for paper. A catalog of the exhibition with commentary by the artist is available through the gallery.