Artist Arturo Martinez’s first solo exhibition is a culmination of music, culture, and ethnicity. His work reminds one of the great African American artist Romare Bearden’s artistic renderings of life, jazz, and people. Like Bearden, Martinez too praises his ethnicity and mestizaje without losing sight of the long struggle of the diverse ethnic communities of Mexico.
His geometrical compositions of C shapes, half Us curves, circles, and his nonlinear patterns flow rhythmically. A musican himself of “Son Mestizo”, Martinez roots his paintings with an African, Mestizo, and indigenous lining. Born in Tlacotzlpan Veracruz, Mexico, he captures the lyrical and the traditional in the vibrate power of its local fauna, flowers, and customs with colors that guide his inspiration like a musical note on canvas. Each painting ripples with movement and ebbs according to the color chosen. For Martinez, “music has resonance.” His approach to color is like artist Wassily Kandinsky who believed color to be like a keyboard. Martinez’s paintings have a deep inclination towards the rhythm of Latin Jazz.
The paintings of life as in his amulante (street vender) series with flower and fruit venders begin with a slight gesture of humility that starts with faith. The titled head is not a sign of submissiveness but of a ceremonial posture that builds on all the inner strength to start a new day.
By incorporating patterns from Mexico’s diverse ethnic and indigenous plurality, Martinez exalts his recognition of the importance the artisanal artists have had in Mexico’s creative spirit. Each pattern expresses a natural deity, the cosmos and a metaphorical meaning.
July 24 - October 31, 2018
The grand opening of our new exhibition hall, Lightspace, on Level II, presented an exhibition of Bay-area based photographer, Dan Lythcott-Haims. Taking influence from the world of abstract expressionist painting, Lythcott-Haims' work documents the patterns, textures, and forms of every day life.
My intention as an artist is to elevate the ignored or broken bits of the human-made world that are often avoided or discarded. In my photographs, I whittle my subjects down to their core by composing in the camera, moving my body closer and closer until I lose the context of location, environment, and even the subject itself. In my sculpture, I assemble collections of human-made objects until the individuality of the item disappears in favor of a more organic whole. What I hope to gain in both cases is a record of that thing that caught my interest - that thing that other people don't see.
Fijian artist Waqa Vuidreketi explores the use of found materials and raw materials such as beeswax, tree resin, tapa cloth, and mangrove sap combined with oil pastel to reinterpret concepts of indigenous identity and the organic relationship between Pacific people and their land. He is particularly keen to explore themes such as the collision between modern and traditional values systems, perceptions of identity by young urban Fijians and addressing modern-day challenges using traditional methods of discourse, problem-solving, and knowledge. He continues to push the boundaries of his art as an indigenous expression in a constantly changing world.
Waqa delves into these issues by exploring representations of Fijian culture and religion. Waqa reinterprets and unpacks the traditional use of repetitious motifs on tapa to engage with the audience and challenge preconceived notions of indigenous identity and its representation. In particular, Waqa is interested in further understanding and exploring specific motifs printed on taunamu ni Viti, tapa used in wedding ceremonies to shield the couple from public view.
In his current practice, he experiments with materials to experience and convey a state of flux. Working in mixed media, Waqa creates a dialogue between past and present, rural and urban, traditional and contemporary. Performances involving fire, layering, and painting are informed by his personal memories, indigenous knowledge, and historical research.
Waqa was born in Suva, Fiji and now living in the village of Lomanikoro in the Rewa Province. He was a community youth worker for many years before following his passion of art making. Through working with the community, Waqa was exposed to the challenges facing our society and the environment. He has represented Fiji in the 2012 and 2016 Pacific Arts Festivals, and exhibited across Fiji and in international galleries.
My artwork deals with culture, landscape and music. They emphasize cultural clothes and styles used in different parts of Ethiopia . My artwork also touches on music, expressing various emotions of the soul. Most of them are realistic arts while some are non-realistic ones. I used watercolor ,oil color, acrylic and ink.
Richard- Jonathan Nelson
Richard-Jonathan Nelson is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses textiles, video, and digital manipulation to create alternative worlds of speculative identity. His work is multi-layered, chromatically intense and mixes images of the natural world with reference to hoodoo, queer culture, and Afro-Futurism. He uses his constructed worlds to examine the overlapping spheres of culturally perceived identity and the emotional memory of what it means to be a queer black man, thereby creating a limbic space free from the weighted excepted western cultural reality, and able to examine the unspoken ways systems of power persist.
Born in Savannah, Georgia (1987) and working in Oakland, CA Nelson received his MFA from California College of the Arts in 2017. His work has been exhibited at Southern Exposure, Embark Gallery, Root Division in San Francisco, and Aggregate Space in Oakland.
In her statement she mentions: "My imagination visits myriad images of our world with unknown stars and unknown futures. These worlds speak to me through unfamiliar colors and forms guiding me to places I have never been. They are the result of my reflections upon our place in the world, the migrations of my mind, connecting my physical journeys with the vast and mysterious universe we share. I work spontaneously, so the paintings take on a life of their own, drawing me into our collective cosmos." For her, cosmology deals with the origin, structure, and space-time relationships of the universe and in her personal cosmology, suns, moons, skies and stars play a significant role. She blends form and color, uncovering and revealing histories that lie hidden in space.
"Gently putting down layers of paint, I watch, until something becomes apparent and perhaps a distant galaxy emerges…everything is unplanned, I leave it all to chance."
According to Gurpran, the circle has always been symbolic, hence spheres and orbs complete or incomplete appear in most works. A circle has no beginning and no end, it is infinite.
"Planets revolve around our sun in a circular pattern, nature repeats itself in cycles, and if we travel far enough out in space, we arrive at the same point from which we started. The observer is invited to view these paintings as if on a passage into the unknown, not unlike my own voyages."
Joset Medina was born 1984 in San Cristobal,Venezuela. As an introverted child, drawing his family and friends was one of his ways to communicate his thoughts and express himself and his empathy for others and the world around him. All of his artworks are "documented rebirths" of his personal transformation and experiences reflecting the growth and ability to blossom through the many layers of emotions and obstacles he has faced. It not only tells the story at various stages of his life utilizing natural elements but also gives homage to the familial female influences that have shaped and guided him to the man he was, is, and is yet to be.
He graduated with a degree in architecture from the Universidad Del Táchira in Venezuela and then moved to Panama (2008) to capitalize on the rapidly growing architecture and construction industry. Joset’s talents in art and architecture quickly became noticed and his works were shown in some of Panama’s most prominent exhibitions such as Macrofest, Casa Cor, and several magazines and television channels in Panama and Venezuela. In 2014, Joset traveled to California where he immediately stepped into San Francisco’s lively art scene. Here he found hope in new and unexpected adventures with an untethered sense of freedom to release the pressure and anxieties he was carrying with him back in Panama. He was determined to have San Francisco as his new home and began planning his return. In 2017, he moved to the United States and started a new phase of his journey in San Francisco.
"Liquid Spring" featured by HALEY LANSING
Haley Lansing is currently a designer in San Francisco. She recently graduated in June 2017 from Savannah Georgia with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts From SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). She grew up in France most of her life with her American parents, lived in six different countries (Africa, France, Qatar, Germany, Hong Kong, and USA). She is a highly motivated and human-centered individual who has created solution-based design collateral and coordinated events on four different continents. She has a "can do" attitude and high work ethic.
Artist and tattooer from San Francisco/Bay Area. Specializing in watercolor, Jessica Petrie studied illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. After graduating with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Illustration in 2013, she has been freelancing and doing gallery work. After completing her tattoo apprenticeship in May of 2018, she is now a full time tattoo artist at Tattoo Lab in Dublin, CA.
Shakiba is a 29 year old self-taught artist who is also a wife and mother to a nearly 2-year old son.
Her family fled Afghanistan where they lived in a region controlled by the Taliban. Shakiba was 7 months pregnant when she made the arduous journey on foot through Afghanistan, and then by dinghy boat from Turkey to Greece.
They have been living in a refugee camp since arriving in Greece nearly 2 years ago. Shakiba gave birth at the camp and her family has now been granted a three-year subsidiary protection in Greece. Although this is a desirable status, it also means that any assistance provided by the government (housing, food) has been withdrawn and the family must provide for themselves.
Shakiba's art is emotional, raw, and conveys her experience as a refugee fleeing violence and danger in her country.
Shakiba's current work is the first time she has shown her art to anyone other than her husband and immediate family. Her parents always told her that her art was "nonsense" and "useless." Her husband, however, supported her hobby and recognizes it for the true gift it is.
Suzanne Moreno Berke
Her artistic passions extend to all areas of creative expression where brilliant color, texture, and image can contribute to Dia Los Muertos, (The Day of the Dead) and other cultural experiences that has influenced her art and expression. She loves to take canvas and add texture, surprise, and life to it.
"As a political artist, it’s critical that my art reflects my values. My passion is working for a world that is socially just that reflects our Democratic ideals. My goal is to project that ideal in my artwork while simultaneously evoking a call to act from the viewer."
Family is an essential element that grounds her art. She emphasizes that her 101-year-old Grandmother inspired her to see life always as a glass half full with endless possibility. Her family –two sons, daughter-in-law, a new granddaughter, and an extensive network of friends – forms a community of creativity that fuels her artistic process.
She studied art at Long Beach State University before moving to Northern California in 1983. She works out of her studio in Marin County where her husband Michael, is her number one supporter and art critic.
Suzanne Fellerman Cerny (ne Giuriati) was trained in non objective abstract expressionism at the Cooper Union Institute for Science and Art in New York City, 1956-59. She moved to Northern Canada from New York City in 1961 where she found a job teaching art in night school in Whitehorse. In the daytime she worked at The Yukon Daily News, run by Ken Short. A call for artists had come in and she immediately applied to design a mural for the newly built Whitehorse City Hall. She won the contest and spent the next few months building a wood veneer mural in stages. With the veneer being the decorative part of the imagery - the entire mural was 10' x 50' feet.
"I visited San Francisco for the first time in 1968. You can imagine that after the extreme cold with snow and ice up in the Yukon, I was amazed to see flowers blooming everywhere in January in California. I was 27 and didn't have a career to speak of. I was rescued by Bob Blackburn, my former graphic arts teacher from Cooper. Bob helped to get my grandfather in to the San Francisco City College District as an adult art teacher. I also found work as a street portrait artist at Fisherman's Wharf, watching the other portrait artists, learning techniques and ways of dealing with the people who strolled by. That is a picture book in itself."
After she moved to Santa Barbara, CA, she painted landscapes because with a large group of painters who focused on painting the central coast landscapes. She continued to paint Jazz musicians for 15 years as they performed and was hired by the well known jazz historian, Ted Gioia, to illustrate for articles written about jazz musicians on www.jazz.com. This collaboration allowed Suzanne to share her technical knowledge while imparting certain principles to the creator of the designs.
For the past five years, she has been an art instructor for seniors in residence homes. She considers it very rewarding and inspiring to see men and women who are upwards of 80 years old who didn't think they could draw, produce very accomplished and interesting artworks.
Berkeley based Salma Arastu, a native of India's Rajasthan, has been creating and exhibiting her paintings internationally since the 1970s where her art works, whether paintings, sculptures, and poetry speak of human universality. Her art form and techniques are greatly interwoven with Arabic calligraphy, miniature arts and folk patterns, and her major influences through her travels. Born into the Hindu tradition in native India and embracing Islam later on, she has enjoyed the beauty of these two distinctive traditions first hand. At birth, she was given the life-defining challenge of a left hand without fingers.
As a visual artist, she has almost 40 solo shows to her credit, won several awards including East Bay Community’s fund for artists in 2012 and 2014, City of Berkeley’s Individual Artist grant award in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Her three works are in public places and has published five books with her poems and paintings.