'Chelsea' showcases great art


Nicola Lopez's "Unnatural Disasters: The Flood" is a woodblock on Mylar piece in the "Fresh From Chelsea" exhibition at the University Gallery.

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Published: Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:05 a.m.

Every now and then, a show comes along that deserves more ink than I can give it. I usually write what I can, promise to come back to it later and promptly forget about it. So, this week I am actually taking a second look at a couple of shows that I feel are worth getting out to.

The University Gallery usually hosts shows for a few weeks, but "Fresh from Chelsea" is running until Dec. 4, which tells you how pleased curator Amy Vigilante is with the exhibition. She has a right to be proud: There is an awful lot of good work on display. All 21 artists in this show either live or show works in the Chelsea area of New York City. A show in Chelsea is basically a seal of approval from the city's art world. These guys are not household names yet, but they are moving up the ranks from discovered to established players.

The subjects are as varied as the media. There is video, digital photography, sculpture, block printing and much more. Tone ranges from serious to mocking to humor. Orly Genger serves up a smile with "Ribbon and Boyfriend." This multi-media piece looks like a gold lame shag rug. Gold rope is piled in disarray on the floor. From one end protrudes a set of sneakers, evidently the still-worn footwear of a boyfriend who did not make the grade. The size and texture of the piece is fun as is the light-hearted feel of the work.

"Untitled" by Gandalf Gavin is a multi-piece, multi-media spoof of the pretentious art collector. Gavin has created what he calls the "collector's lounge," a room filled with tongue-in-cheek takes on art and art history. Each piece serves as a mirror, reflecting the uninformed, pompous nature of the resident. Swirling florescent tubes light one area; a melted, glass chair slumps nearby while a distorted mirror bulges from the wall. Choices in material or execution are subtle ways in which the artist manipulates the pieces for commentaries of the owner.

There are too many other good pieces to describe so I will simply say: go.

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Last time around I gave you an advance peak at "Light. Form. Fire," the new show at the Santa Fe Gallery. Since then, I have had a chance to walk the room and I'm happy to say I did not give you a bum steer. This is the first time the Digital Media faculty has shown together at the college, and I have to ask, "Why did it take so long?"

The show is split between six artists with media running from sculpture to video. The gallery is divided into two sections with the back section darkened for video presentation. There are four video projectors running, and four desktop computers are available for a more detailed inspection of the works. Subjects range from a cartoon-like trailer to a very slick music video.

What grabbed my eye, though, were the three light boxes in the back. When done right, light boxes totally enchant me. It took me decades to give away the lighted tracing table I had as a child. Rhonda Peyton's three pieces brought back that joy. Of the three, "Running Away" was my favorite.

The piece captures a young boy, maybe four years old, standing in front of his house wearing a very dissatisfied expression. In each hand he clutches what looks like an oversized quilt bag, packed full of prized possessions, I am sure. Peyton uses only white and red Unryu paper, which she layers to create different shades.

Peyton also offered up quite a few fused-glass pieces. "House on 3rd Street" has four treatments on the same Victorian home. Peyton uses different color glass to create the details of the house.

Wes Lindberg has several pieces. Many I have seen before, but a few are mounted in a new manner in which the artist uses transparencies and aluminum boards to enhance the other-worldliness of his infrared photography. On busy pieces I did not think it made much of a difference, but on pieces with greater empty space, the mounting worked. I especially enjoyed how viewing a piece from an angle added overtones of tan to the black-and-white works.

When I first mentioned this show, I cranked on the Digital Media crew for not putting a link up for this show; it's not like half of the art isn't already on a hard drive. Well, the squeaky wheel got oiled. The video portion can now be checked out ahead at http://dept.sfcollege.edu/graphics/facultyshow.html.

This show will be up through Nov. 5.

Santa Fe also has a new show in the President's Gallery. "Wild Things" is an exhibition of art by Patsy Lindamood. This self-taught artist works in graphite, colored pencil and large-scale paintings. As the title suggests, the show is focused on wildlife. It will be up through Nov. 4.

David Hackett can be reached at davidmhackett@cox.net.

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