For exhibition 52 in San Francisco we have selected a group of preponderately white paintings by artists selected in the stable and the sphere of the gallery. Painting after Robert Ryman (the contemporary artist perhaps most associated with white) has developed to emphasize its own physicality, and artists gain a particular focus in this regard when they eschew spectral colors for white. White paintings throw the viewer's attention back on the tactile qualities of the work, with a heightened sense of light. The voluntary constraints of working with white tend to bring out the individual traits that make each artist's work their own, their touch and accumulated decision making. Selecting the works for this modest hanging, I realized I could easily have curated a selection with ten times as many artists, resources permitting, for the discipline of painting white is widely practiced. Still, this small selection gives an indication of the range possible within the mode.

Concurrent with his 10-year retrospective at the New Museum Los Gatos, Stephen Beal has provided us with four of his most recent paintings for a focused installation in the middle gallery. Beal continues his ever permuting exploration of the grid, in this series with a seeming nod to the traditional motifs of Japanese country textiles, although any number of cultures could lay claim to the plaids he achieves through his complex layerings. Art historical references cavort in Beal's work, with precedents as wide ranging as Piet Mondrian's structures, Mark Tobey's white writing, Agnes Martin's measured passages, the textile-based explorations of Lyubov Popova, Annie Albers and Sonia Delaunay, and Sol Lewitt's programatic systems. The grid has a long-standing role in Modernism and Beal seems to make room for the entire history, while fashioning images that could be recognized from a galloping horse as his own.

Stephen Beal was Provost at California College of the Arts from 1997 to 2008. In May 2008, Beal was appointed president of CCA. Beal attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, and earned his M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited in the Bay Area and throughout the Midwest. Stephen Beal: Warp and Weft: Selected Grid Paintings 2005 - 2015 runs through January 3, 2016 at New Museum Los Gatos.

For exhibition SF51 we are mounting the 5th solo show in the gallery of Los Angeles-based painter Marie Thibeault, body-sized oils on canvas from 2015 and 2014 that continue to explore her ongoing concern with humanity's impact on and vulnerability to violent changes in the environment. These works walk a fine line between formal abstraction and social commentary, and draw on a professional's deep exploration of color. Thibeault has taught color theory and studio practice at California State University Long Beach since 1989 and is the recipient of five Scholarly and Creative Activities Grants from that institution. She received her Master of Fine Arts from UC Berkeley, a Master of Arts from San Francisco State and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work is in the collection of the Oakland Museum and she has shown at the Torrance Art Museum, The Riverside Art Museum and the Laguna Museum of Art.

For exhibition SF51, recent CCA MFA graduate Brandon Shimmel presents a group of five paintings in the middle gallery. Shimmel is interested in the trappings and seductive science of consumer marketing and retail display. He uses materials associated with window dressing (polished aluminum, colored plexiglass, pearlescent colors and Trompe-L'oeil surfaces) to project the picture plane beyond the window frame, and by implication, to comment on the manner in which the object of desire is leveraged in consumer culture. On a more purely structural level, his ability to successfully meld his painted surfaces with the partial surround of his framing devices, extends the aura, the reach of his imagery. Shimmel works in the lineage of Yves Kline and shares many formal and social concerns with contemporary Wendy White. Prior to receiving his Masters from California College of the Arts, he took his BFA from the University of Arizona and a BA in Art History from Arizona State. This is his first solo presentation with the gallery.

For Exhibition 50 we are showcasing a new body of work from gallery artist Sara Bright, intimately scaled frescoes done on portable wooden panels. Much of Bright's work is done in gouache and water media on paper. In an attempt to achieve a similar matte and absorbent quality for her painting, and after much experimentation, she hit upon traditional fresco mural techniques, which incorporate painting with pigments ground into water on a wet plaster ground. The creation of each surface involves the sifting of sand, the mixing of plaster, stretching burlap and then applying 2 to 3 coats of plaster. The final intonico coat must be applied with great care and finesse to get it smooth on all 5 sides. After the intonico is applied, and the actual painting begins, the painting must resolve quickly, but for all her spontaneity, Bright achieves a weighty, sculptural quality with these works, that come across like stone tablets on the wall. Fresco thrives on the tension that arises from using a material that has such an involved preparation but which must be painted swiftly and with confidence, and Bright in turn thrives on the long history of the medium. In her words,

"When most people think of fresco they think of the Renaissance and places like the Sistine Chapel with its incredible frescos of mythological scenes. It's probably unavoidable that people are going to think of that when they come to these. But I think a benefit of that is that the works automatically gain a kind of gravity, which is something I want. These paintings can look playful, but they're very serious. I also think about cave paintings, which are arguably the first frescos, and how all frescos speak to the very fundamental human impulse to capture images with paint."

Sara Bright earned her MFA from the University of California Berkeley and received her BA in Studio Art and English literature from Wesleyan University. In 2010, Sara attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and in 2007 was an artist in residence at Anderson Ranch Art Center. Sara's work has been shown in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles at venues including the Berkeley Art Museum, the SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Verge Gallery, and the UCLA Wight Gallery. In 2009, she was awarded the Calder Hayes / Tevis Jacobs / BAM Council Founders Award from University of California Berkeley.

Exhibition 49 opens on George's birthday with a Summer group show of twelve painters in their 20s and 30s titled Younger Than George (Co-curator Donna Napper suggested we call it WAY Younger than George). Some of these artists are already familiar names and some are being introduced for the first time. Gallery artist Sara Bright presents new work in anticipation of her upcoming solo, Frescoes. Local painter Amanda Curreri appears courtesy Romer Young Gallery and exhibits visually complex acrylic and screened overlays. Also San Francisco-based, Rebekah Goldstein appears courtesy CULT Aimee Freiberg Exhibitions, following up on her inclusion in The SF Contemporary Jewish Museum's Dorothy Saxe Invitational. Los Angeles painter Michael Kindred Knight appears courtesy Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, showing acrylic canvases worked with a gestural geometry. Toronto-based painter Erin Loree shows chromatically high-keyed, vigorously energized oils. Los Angeles artist Heather Gwen Martin also works in oil in a highly charged palette, with crisply delineated shapes. London-based Katrin Maeurich works balanced compositions on shaped panels in thinly washed acrylic. Gallery artist Jacob Melchi, the senior of the group, follows up on his solo here with smaller works from his Parallel/Not Parallel series. San Francisco-based Jenny Sharaf shows strident enamel on fabric works following up on her solo at The Luggage Store Project Space. Recent California College of the Arts MFA graduate Brandon Shimmel incorporates eccentric framing devices into his painted image. New York painter Laina Terpstra riffs off Old Masters in her gestural interpretations. Recent San Francisco Art Institute MFA graduate Zhiyuan Wang works in translucent acrylic over penciled geometry. All explore both the perennial and the contemporaneous possibilities of paint.

For exhibition 48 we are pleased to be showing for the third time Los Angeles-based painter Jacob Melchi, six pieces from his recent series dealing with parallel and non-parallel configurations. These works represent a step up in scale for Melchi, who has previously worked almost exclusively in portrait size. Otis graduate Melchi paints in oil on linen and practices a sensate form of constructivism, drawing on references from the outside world and his own internalized formal impulses. In a review of Melchi's last show here, Kenneth Baker compared him to painters as disparate as David Hockney and Raoul De Keyser, and wrote that his work, "...makes an ingratiating impression at a distance. But only a close look reveals how much Melchi cares about detail. Avoiding preciousness, he makes the tooth of his coarse linen working surface an active ingredient in the work, rather than an inert platform." Melchi's art has been shown previously at institutions such as Santa Monica's California Heritage Museum, Center for Contemporary Art in Sacramento, Torrance Art Museum, Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art in Helsinki, and Netherlands Media Art Institute in Amsterdam. A 44-page full color catalog with commentary by Gladys-Katherina Hernando accompanies the exhibition.

For exhibition 48 we are pleased to be previewing four representative photographs from Susan Mikula's new series, Picture Book. These works, large, framed, pigment prints, continue the tricks of scale of Mikula's previously exhibited u.X series, but with a shift in psychology. Whereas u.X used toy soldiers to peel back the ego's guise of militarism, Picture Book employs a repertoire of archetypes more associated with the subconscious Id, the self as a house, a rabbit and a female figure juxtaposed to one another against a shifting horizon. With this repertoire, Mikula explore the tethers of identity, and a balance of power as the protagonist prevails in a foundation-less world. Mikula is a master of narrative sub-texts. With her previous two cycles, American Bond and Thrill Show, she charted with a journalistic compassion the quandary of American masculinity. Picture Book addresses the big questions, ranging in tone from wondrous curiosity to quiet terror, and in the stretch, Mikula casts her intentional focus on the individual's place in the cosmos. Her imagery plays with relative scale, casting the contemporary dilemma against a larger, historical and perennial poignancy. This is Mikula's 5th solo exhibition with us.Two monograph publications, Mikula's American Bond and u.X, are available from the gallery.

We are honored to present a show we consider to be the most significant we've mounted since starting the gallery. For exhibition 47 we are presenting a particularly important installation, a collection of thirteen of the diptychs of the late San Francisco-based painter John Meyer (1943-2002). Meyer was closely associated with the Radical, or Fundamental, Painting movement in the 1980's and 1990's. In his late phase he explored deep-historical techniques and materials: traditionally cradled hardwood panels and Renaissance pigments such as arsenic, lapis lazuli and coral, painted in egg and casein tempera. His preferred motif was a pair of square or slightly off-square monochrome panels hung an inch apart in diptych. His work has been exhibited and is in the permanent collection of the Albright Knox Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Stiftung Fur Konkrete Kunst in Reutlingen, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This is the first major exhibition of Meyer's work since the artist's memorial exhibit at Galerie Paule Anglim following his death, and many of these paintings have been in storage in America and Switzerland, and have not been seen in fourteen years. Several are loaned from private collections. Accompanying the exhibition is an 108 page full-color catalog with archival text by the late SFMOMA curator John Caldwell, New York critic Lilly Wei, German scholars Erich Franz, Gabriele Kubler and Georg Imdahl, and San Francisco Chronicle critic Kenneth Baker, along with commentary by George Lawson and statements by the artist. A reception at the gallery honoring John Meyer and opening the run of the exhibition will be held Thursday, May 7th, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. In a recent elegy for gallerist Paule Anglim, Kenneth Baker wrote, "One of the most memorable shows in her Geary Street gallery's 33-year history consisted of uniformly black, square paintings by [John] Meyer." This exhibition is dedicated to Paule's memory.


For exhibition 46 in the front gallery we are pleased to be showing selected works by New York painter Gary Stephan. Stephan has been showing his work since the late sixties in the United States and Europe. He has had solo shows in this country at Bykert Gallery, Mary Boone, Hirschl and Adler, Margo Leavin, Marlborough, Daniel Weinberg and Susan Inglett, among others. His work is in the collections of the Whitney, MOMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Smithsonian, MOCA Los Angeles, SF MOMA, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cincinnati and the Albright-Knox Gallery, among others. Stephan is the recipient of awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Arts Foundation and most recently a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award.

Stephan paints in acrylic on canvas. From Susan Inglett's commentary: "In Stephan's canvases familiar paint and palette handling along with figure and ground relationships are inverted. Displacements are commonplace in these works. He uses vacillation as a subject, creating punctures in the canvas that provide progressive openings from background to foreground. Some works originate in landscape, others in architecture and some are informed by the making and unmaking of the work itself as different types of space and perspectives come into view. Stephan claims his paintings are 'designed to be disappointing' as they are ultimately only valuable at the level of construction with the viewer, unraveling the layers of an inherently flat surface to discover what is propped up and why." This is Stephan's first solo with our gallery.

An afternoon lecture and presentation by Gary Stephan will be held at the The New Museum Los Gatos on Sunday, March 29, from 3-5pm. Formerly The Museums of Los Gatos, this will be the New Museum's inaugural event in its new home in the Los Gatos Civic Center. The lecture will be preceded by a brief talk by George Lawson. For more information and tickets please visit: http://www.numulosgatos.org/for-the-community/


For exhibition 46 in the middle gallery we are pleased to be showing four selected paintings by Nancy Haynes. Born in Connecticut and living and working in New York since 1967, esteemed painter Nancy Haynes has an extensive exhibition history dating from 1978 which includes solo shows at 3A Gallery, Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Lawing Gallery, Galerie Hubert Winter, Galerie von Bartha, John Good Gallery, John Gibson Gallery, and Regina Rex, among others. Haynes works in oil on linen, in subdued but articulated harmonics. Her work is characterized by a focused, rhythmic marking and subtle shifts in hue and value, a handling that results in her images and volumes revealing themselves slowly. This is her third solo with the gallery. Haynes' work is included in public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and others. Honors and awards include grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.


For exhibition 45 we are pleased to be showing in the front gallery recent photographic works by Chapel Hill, North Carolina based artist Tama Hochbaum, a subset of her ongoing Silver Screen series dealing with dance. For some time Hochbaum has been capturing televised content with her iPhone, in particular films from the 1940s, organizing her shots into grids and printing the digital files onto aluminum. The series, which began as an homage to her late mother, has evolved into an exploration of generationally stacked technologies for delivering media, their correlation with personal memory, and in juxtaposition, the accumulation of shared cultural references. The exhibition corresponds with the release of Hochbaum's new book, Silver Screen, published by Daylight Books. This is Hochbaum's fifth solo with the gallery.


For exhibition 45 in the middle gallery, continuing our focused series of presentations of four paintings by individual artists, we are pleased to show new oils on canvas by London based painter Erin Lawlor, selections from her series London Field, named for the park, and by extension the district, in East London adjacent to Lawlor’s studio, in the borough of Hackney. Lawlor, who for many years prior lived and worked in Paris, is gaining ever wider recognition through her international exhibitions, as well as her curatorial forays and her online chronicling of the painting scene in Europe and New York. With her practice, Lawlor manages a contemporaneous refocusing of the classic tropes of gestural abstraction with an emphasis on interstitial unity. She achieves a bonded whole both in her surface and her imagery through the viscous flow of her chosen medium and the intermixed tertiary colors of her chosen palette, always eliciting a sense of suspended animation in the process. This is Lawlor's third solo with the gallery.


For exhibition 44 we are pleased to be showing in the front room a selection of recent paintings by Bay Area artist and San Francisco Art Institute instructor Pegan Brooke, her first with the gallery. In these works Brooke uses mica pigments with their characteristic shift in chroma depending on the angle of view, these mixed in oil and painted in rhythmic strokes up against an internal graphite line. The result is a diastole between containment and release, and another chapter added to the rich tome of painting's historical dialogue with drawing. Brooke's paintings have been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, SFMOMA, Oakland Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, DesMoines Museum and Art Center, Sao Paulo Biennial and the Monterey Museum of Art. She is the recipient of a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, two Marin Arts Council Grants, an alternate award for the Prix de Rome, along with residencies at Millay Colony for the Arts in New York and the Pont Avon School. She lives and works in Bolinas, California.


For exhibition 44 we are pleased to have Seattle-based artist Alma Chaney inaugurate a program in the middle room, one we plan to carry on throughout 2015 with the working title, 4 Paintings. Having noticed throughout the preceding year that the square format of the middle gallery lends itself to focused cross-reference when hung with one piece per wall, we decided to formalize the installation with a series of mini solos, hanging four paintings each month by a chosen artist in conjunction with our offering in the front gallery. Alma Chaney continues in these new works to deepen her focus on the juxtaposition of fluid painting technique with traditional silver and gold point drawing. The pairing with Pegan Brooke is particularly apt as Brooke was Chaney's instructor at SFAI. Both artists explore the intersection of drawing and painting, along with an approach to color impacted by the interference patterns of metallic sheen. In addition to her MFA from the SF Art Institute, Chaney holds a Post-Baccalaureate in Painting from the Pont-Avon School of Contemporary Art, a Certificate of Scientific Illustration from the University of Washington, and a BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. This is her third solo with the gallery.