The Great Highway Gallery is excited to present P.W.D.s a window installation by San Francisco artist Leigh Barbier.
Exhibit Statement I began making Pandemic Worry Dolls in April of this year. By sending them to my close friends, family members and front line workers, it was my way to reach out and offer support and connection in the absence of face to face contact. They are constructed out of cardboard and hot glue, painted with acrylic, further adorned with fabric and found objects. Each one is unique and each one carries a specific worry. The worry is like a prayer, silent and heart felt. I continue to make them in batches of a dozen. And I will keep making them until we can live without fear of the virus. These are a few samples.
About the Artist I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, California, and grew up on a gravel road, running barefoot and free between neighbor’s homes. I attended a Christian Science church every Sunday and Disneyland once a year. I remember thinking as a small child that Sees candy was a religious destination and God looked like a tube of toothpaste. Later museums replaced Sees candy and I found order in the universe through art.
I am drawn to religious art, admire Thomas Hart Benton’s line and color, adore the muralist of the Mexican Revolution and can`t get the images of Disney from my 1960s childhood out of my visual vocabulary.
I have found that the work I have done to earn a living has impacted me more than anything I learned in college. From museum model-making to digital painting for the special effects industry; they have both shaped and condensed my hands on skills and sharpened my eye.The highlights have been working on dioramas for the California Academy of Sciences, being part of an all girl team to make a giant baseball mitt for the Giants stadium and digitally painting on Star Wars, Episode 2 and 3. My best freelance opportunity to date has come from my experience working with the San Francisco musical group, The Residents over the last 15 years. This has been the perfect combination of work and art, an opportunity to combine my vision with the narrative visuals of the Residents’ myth-making.
For me, making drawings, paintings and sculpture is a simple and direct process of giving emotions form. This compulsion, along with my over-active imagination that perceives peril around every corner, drives my image making.
The Great Highway Gallery is excited to present Your Turn To Look a group exhibition, of a San Francisco based drawing group that has been together for over 40 years. The exhibition features: a window installation and drawings.
Exhibit Statement We rarely get to regard another person in an extended, curious, active way. That is special. It keeps artists coming back, week after week, year after year, to draw from a model for hours at a time. Outside of this time, we use drawing in different ways—our group includes painters of landscapes and painters of abstractions, sculptors, printmakers, and new media artists. But all of us find the continual practice of life drawing helps us do what we want to do as artists.
Our group has been meeting regularly to draw from a model since 1979, when Meredith Tromble scored a storefront studio in Noe Valley that was big enough to host a group. The artists William Theophilus Brown and Paul Wonner, Noe Valley neighbors, joined in and brought Jessica Dunne into the group. We have persisted for over forty years, through multiple studio evictions, the passing of Bill and Paul, and the coming and going of other colleagues. Our current home is Dunne’s studio near the Great Highway.
Like most long-term drawing groups, we have our own culture. We play music but we don’t talk while we are drawing. If the model is late, we start by drawing each other. There is tea but no food. We never, ever criticize each other’s drawings. We are there to tunnel through whatever is on our mind to a deeply focused awareness, the flow that connects what we see and what we do. The results of this process hang here. It is your turn to look.
—Meredith Tromble January 9, 2021
Artists Marc Duffett Jessica Dunne Karen Ely Joan Frenkel Grace Kennedy Olivia Kuser Amy Meyer Anne Subercaseaux Tara Sullivan Meredith Tromble
Marc Duffett Drawing and painting have always been at the core of my sense of self. Painting expresses dreams and energies for me, while drawing anchors me in the physical act of seeing. In the sixties I fell in love with life drawing at RISD, and Jessica Dunne’s drawing group has allowed me to continue this passion.
Jessica Dunne Jessica Dunne makes enormous paintings of the Bay Area’s tunnels, freeways, and schoolyards as well as smaller atmospheric monotypes and spit-bite aquatints. She lives in San Francisco when she is not off being an artist-in-residence somewhere. A recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and a Kala Art Institute Fellowship, she has had solo shows in museums and universities around the country, including the Fresno Art Museum, The Flaten Art Museum, Saint Olaf College, and the Frye Art Museum.
Jessica has been awarded residencies by the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, the Ucross Foundation, Kuenstlerhaus Salzburg (a partner of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts) and Oberpfaelzer Kuenstlerhaus, a partner of the Djerassi Resident Artist Program, in Germany.
Her work is collected by the Oakland Museum of California, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and The Library of Congress, and Stanford Special Collections. https://www.jessicadunne.com Instagram: @jessicadunnepaint
Karen Ely Karen Ely is a semi-retired editor and life-long artist living in Sonoma County. She works in mosaic, watercolor, acrylic, oil, and pastel.
Joan Frenkel I was the Head Sculptor of the San Francisco Opera and of the San Francisco Ballet for over thirty-five years. I sculpted everything from props, statues, and prancing ponies to palaces and mountains. Sculpted large porcelain seashells and low relief tile murals. My work mostly involves painting and cutting paper sculpture mounted in shadow boxes. I received degress from Washington University, St. Louis, MO and the San Francisco Art Institute.
Grace B. Kennedy “Grace Kennedy has been a member of this drawing group since 2008, around age thirteen. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, as well as the University of Pennsylvania. She has shown at the Pafa Museum in Philadelphia, C.R. Ettinger Studio, and the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco.” http://www.graceart.space/ Instagram @gray_sea23
Olivia Kuser I’ve been drawing since I was a little girl, but I didn’t draw from the model until my senior year in college, when I took a studio art course as a respite from writing my thesis. What a revelation, both in how hard it was and how fun it was.
Since then, I have looked for opportunities to draw from the model whenever I could. My work isn’t figurative; I’m mostly a landscape painter and printmaker, so drawing from the model doesn’t directly inform my work. It’s great for hand-eye coordination and for learning how to see. Also, since most art making is a completely solitary activity, drawing groups provide a chance to work communally with other artists. I’ve been in this drawing group since sometime in the late eighties or so. Since the pandemic began we have managed to meet only three times, outside, everybody masked, and when the numbers looked ok in the city. This is a drawing from one of those sessions. http://www.oliviakuser.com
Amy Meyer When I was a child in Brooklyn, N.Y. I loved to draw. In high school, I took after-school art classes at the Brooklyn Museum and the Art Students League. My interest evolved into a passion continued at Oberlin College where I earned a degree in art and art history. I came back to New York and pursued hopes for a career in art. I earned my MFA in printmaking at the California College of Arts and Crafts (today, CCA) and we raised our family, but I eventually put aside my art work. In 1970, I began looking for a small community project to become involved in and stumbled into the biggest land protection effort in our region: the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). For fourteen years I thought of little else except my family and this open space while conservationist Edgar Wayburn and I led People for a Golden Gate National Recreation Area. https://www.amywmeyer.com
Anne Subercaseaux I worked in architectural and engineering firms, initially as a draftsperson and later as a graphic designer, places of work that had a prolonged personal influence. I began to observe and study sights, those which I encountered within urban and natural settings. Commutes over the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge presented a spectrum of structural configurations cast by afternoon light onto the surface of the roadway span. http://www.annesubercaseaux.com
Tara Sullivan The pairing of art & medicine has been my path, with a lifelong interest in studying the figure for the visual discipline required. The ability to accurately see and assess is vital for both disciplines. I’m drawn to short, quick poses for the challenge of capturing the essence, the essential-ness of being. Receiving a BFA from the University of Hawaii led to being the founding director of an art studio program at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific in Honolulu. I currently live in San Francisco, my home of origin, in the outer Parkside after 30 years in Hawaii, and am inspired by the Bay Area Figurative artists.
Meredith Tromble Meredith Tromble is an intermedia artist and writer whose curiosity about links between imagination and knowledge led her to form collaborations with scientists in addition to making installations, drawings, and performances. Since 2011, Tromble has been artist-in-residence at the Complexity Sciences Center directed by physicist Jim Crutchfield at the University of California, Davis, collaborating with geobiologist Dawn Sumner and others. Her work has been widely presented at venues ranging from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco and National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. to BioBAT Art Space, Brooklyn. She is also the editor of two books, The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture, co-edited with Charissa Terranova, and The Art and Films of Lynn Hershman, University of California Press. She is co-editor of the Bloomsbury book series “Biotechne: Interthinking Art, Science, and Design” and a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies/Art & Technology at the San Francisco Art Institute. https://meredithtromble.net
Artist Statement I have been making images of and writing about seaweed for over a decade. Seaweeds are gorgeously varied, vibrantly colored, and interesting. The science behind their life histories and their ecology is not only fascinating, but important for us to know when thinking about the health of our oceans. My scanner has been the optimal tool for bringing these algal neighbors to life; for letting them speak.
But one species in particular has been of greatest concern: Nereocystis luetkeana, or bull kelp. This is the majestic kelp that makes up the kelp forest off our Northern California coastline, it is the kelp that collects on our beaches, right here in San Francisco. While it is a wonder of photosynthetic possibility, growing into 60-80 foot tall kelps—singular stipe with long flowing blades, collecting in massive tangles of biomass on the beaches in fall and winter—its ecology is fragile. Over the past few years, the great bull kelp forests of Sonoma and Mendocino counties have been reduced from enormous forests to tiny patches. The warming ocean, hordes of urchins and lack of top predators leave bull kelp vulnerable.
In my newest book, The Curious World of Seaweed, I devote the second chapter to bull kelp, the story of the extermination of sea otter, and subsequent rise in urchin and abalone populations, noting our human inclination to pull resilience out of complex networks of interactions that keep rich and diverse ecological systems in balance. I followed up with a more in-depth article on bull kelp, sea otter and our California Coast. I am working on a book length examination of this magnificent organism throughout its range from Central California to the Aleutian Islands.
So here at The Great Highway Gallery I want to celebrate Nereocystis luetkeana. This singular kelp that only exists here along this ribbon of ocean along our continent is sculpture and sculptor, primary producer and cyanotype muse. It is home to countless marine animals living in its forests and food for kelp flies and isopods when washed on the beach, in turn generating protein for migrating shore birds. It is my constant reminder that our oceans deserve our reverence and considered regard.
About the Artist Josie Iselin is the photographer, author and designer of many books exploring our coastal universe. Her newest book, The Curious World of Seaweed (Heyday Books, August 2019), is an ambitious combination of essays and historical as well as contemporary imagery that explores the algal world just beyond the beach. Josie holds a BA in visual and environmental studies from Harvard and an MFA from San Francisco State University. For over twenty-five years she has used her flatbed scanner and computer for generating imagery. Iselin exhibits large-scale fine art prints at select galleries and museums, advocates for ocean health through education and speaks widely on the confluence of art and science. She teaches in the School of Design at San Francisco State University.