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April 29 - June 16, 2009

Creativity Explored

San Francisco, CA

Repetition by John Patrick McKenzie © 2009 Creativity Explored.

Eight highly original artists, each of whose work is unique but is united through the use of repetitive processes across media and style, will be showcased at the Creativity Explored gallery in Repetition. This arresting exhibition, which highlights studio practice, reveals the natural way that artists work, as well as a compelling impulse to do a specific thing. It also addresses the range of subtleties and the sophistication that can be achieved through the persistent exploration of a single subject and medium.

Eric Larson, exhibition curator, instructor, and artist, says, "The idea for this show evolved from observing a variety of Creativity Explored artists over a number of years and being struck by certain artists who continually repeat the same symbols, compositions, marks, and lines. By choosing to limit their options in this way, they are creating very interesting and powerful bodies of work."

Artists whose work will be on view include Mary Belknap, Claus Groeger, Camille Holvoet, John Patrick McKenzie, Jose Nunez, Evelyn Reyes, Ana Maria Vidalon, and Marilyn Wong. The majority of the exhibition is works on paper, with the inclusion of assemblage and ink on canvas. Artworks range from stand-alone compositions to groupings that show the subtle variations, development, and refinement of a given theme over time.

Mary Belknap's large-format works on paper are all centered on a totemic spire. This arresting focal point, done in earth tones, is surrounded by a riot of colorful and highly detailed patterns that fill the rest of the sheet. The repeated patterns, which form a patchwork of floral and plant motifs, suggest the comfort of a quilt, but also lend an ambiguous, ritualistic quality to the works. In addition, the combination of the intricate patterns with the intense colors used by the artist gives them a slightly psychedelic aura.

Claus Groeger, who works in assemblage, creates shadowbox-like artworks made exclusively of found objects such as nails and screws. Arranged in variations of circular or arching patterns, the screws and nails are held in place with a clear gloss medium that imparts a rich patina to the partially rusted objects. In their symmetry, order, and repetition, these works—made of basic items essential to the construction of buildings—display an elegant, architectonic harmony.

Camille Holvoet is represented in the exhibition by drawings of Ferris wheels, a subject to which she continually returns. These structures are rendered in varying degrees of detail that range from the merest of line drawings to fully executed, highly detailed renderings with splashes of color that define elements—usually the seats—of the Ferris wheels. Whether they are simple or highly finished drawings, all are fluidly executed in perfect perspective and display a sophisticated level of draftsmanship associated with architectural drawings. Interestingly, none of the works includes human forms, although, according to the artist, they relate to early childhood memories of an amusement park.

John Patrick McKenzie incorporates words, concepts, and calligraphy in his art. Perhaps best described as an artist and a cataloger, poet, and humorist, he takes a thought and turns it into a work of art by writing and rewriting it in many permutations. By densely stacking his distinctive and highly stylized calligraphic text into linear blocks of writing and layering it with additions of color, he produces a tight and cohesive pattern that becomes the composition. Those unfamiliar with McKenzie's work could initially mistake his looping calligraphic hand for intricate graphic patterning. Those familiar with his art, however, will recognize the written content, which at times takes a brooding, existential turn and at others is playful and mischievous.

Jose Nunez also stacks his imagery, but to a different effect. His black and white works on paper, which depict chickens, are composed of restless, sweeping lines that completely fill the sheets. The highly stylized, linear forms are crowded one on top of another into tight columns across the page, forming a bold and graphic overall pattern. In this manner, complex compositions have been created from simple marks laid down in a rhythmic manner, resulting in images that are so abstract that they suggest tempestuous weather patterns.

Evelyn Reyes, whose thematic subject is carrots, produces elegant black and white works on paper that have a luminous surface quality imparted by her use of graphite and oil pastel. Her work, with its strong, repeating patterns, displays a simple but direct expression. Her primal and ritualistic imagery is so open-ended that the sleek and stylized forms can be interpreted in any number of ways, or viewed as the elements of an abstract pattern.

Ana Maria Vidalon's work is characterized by the repetitive use of icons. Her works on paper are animated by the use of vivid color as well as a fluid, immediate way of working. Disembodied and smiling portrait-like icons appear to float in crowds across the sheet. Rendered with a sketchy, figurative expressiveness, the similarity of the many faces in the compositions creates an ancestral effect. The fact that Vidalon places the icons against a black background makes them appear to be suspended and gives them a friendly spookiness.

Marilyn Wong draws on source material from anatomy and physiology books for the subject of her ink on linen works of art. Working with fine-point pens, she places clusters of interlocking and dispersing patterns in black and pale greens and blues. Her mysterious and elemental forms have a simple elegance that suggest cell-division or vertebrae. The map-like patterns result in intriguing compositions that on one level could be read as stylized chartings of the human anatomy, or, could also be interpreted as aerial views of the ruins of ancient settlements.

Creativity Explored
3245 16th Street (at Guerrero Street)
San Francisco, CA 94103

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