Bargain With The Devil

Katie Murken

Reception Saturday, September 10 6-9pm
through October 9

Live Jazz with Pete Stanwood duo 

Bargain With The Devil, Katie Murken’s window installation at The Great Highway Gallery in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, is a tableaux of sculpture and photography that questions the unknown agreements we enter into as consumers. The arrangement consists of a derelict shopping cart filled with dry and depleted soil, a wall-mounted drainage pipe, and a series of photographs of roadside signage from California’s Central Valley — the site of an urgent debate over water policy and its effect on the farming industry and local populations. Together, these objects and images depict an apocalyptic view of the current environmental crisis and our collective responsibility as consumers to take positive action towards healing our relationship to the natural world.

Murken’s work has long centered on the detrimental impact of overconsumption on individuals, particularly women, and communities. She has recently started working with found objects and images derived from grocery stores, meccas for our consumptive dependencies and desperate desire for security. The grocery cart represents the void we are endlessly trying to fill and its open latticework the futility of trying to meet that longing through consumption. In Bargain With The Devil, Murken expands this critique to the wider issue of the depletion of natural resources. As the source of all life, soil and water are imperative to existence. Yet we find ourselves at a bleak crossroads where we must choose between our dependence on capitalist consumerism and the natural world that sustains us. Bargain With The Devil presents the skeleton of a world where we’ve already run out of time, where the earth and water have become the commodities we so desperately seek.

About the Artist Katie Murken is a Bay Area artist working in sculpture, collage and installation. She works with found objects which are unremarkable and familiar from everyday life in consumer culture. Plastic bags and grocery circulars are mundane, even repugnant, yet for Murken speak to the common aspects of human experience. Murken’s process is driven by the challenge to transform these unwanted materials into objects of beauty and power. Her work has been exhibited at an.ä.log gallery, San Francisco, CA; Woolf Gallery, London, UK; The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ; The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN; and The Contemporary Arts Center of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV. Her work is included in the collections of The Pennsylvania Convention Center, The William Paterson University, and the J. Edgar Louise S. Monroe Library at Loyola University. Murken holds an MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and BFA with Honors from The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.

Pressing Time – Natasha Loewy

The Great Highway Gallery is excited to present “Pressing Time”. Installation and zines by Natasha Loewy.

Artist’s Statement
A large yellow balloon slowly deflates under a fifty pound piece of clear plexiglass. The weight of the plexi both stabilize and squish the balloon. Seen through a window in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, viewers may notice subtle shifts in form throughout the duration of the exhibit.

Inside of the space, there are three shelves with zines made of sun exposed drawings on construction paper. The zines, titled “coffee table books,” priced at a sliding scale of $0-10, are meant to be taken home by viewers. Instead of purporting to be archival, these books admittedly fade and show wear. They invite viewers to witness change over time as a subtle reminder that everything is temporary.

Pressing Time alludes to the physical act of pressing something and to a copy or book press. Both the larger piece in the window and the more intimate zines inside use time and elements such as sunshine and changing temperatures as materials in the artworks themselves. Through a language that accepts instability and the possibility of failure, the works in this exhibition express emotional weight, temporality, joy, and humor.

About the Artist
Natasha Loewy (she/her) lives and works in Oakland, California. She received a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute in 2008, a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Art from Mills College in 2012, and an MFA in Art Practice from San Francisco State University in 2022. Drawing from personal accounts of family trauma and a shared socio-political climate, she creates works that use tension and fragility to explore the relationships between anxiety, humor, and healing. Loewy has exhibited locally at galleries such as SOMArts, Root Division, and Hit SF. She has taught art in elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as within youth art programs throughout the Bay Area. She is one of three members of MUZ, a Bay Area based art collective focused on a collaborative studio and curatorial practice.

Artist Links
natashaloewy.com
@natashaloewy

Cut from the Same Cloth

Matt Katsaros

RECEPTION SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 6-9pm
Through July 16

Artist Statement
Jonathan Gold, the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize, once said of his native Los Angeles that it is an “anti-melting pot – less a melting pot but a great, glittering mosaic.” Cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco provide an urban backdrop where the idea of a multicultural melting pot is rejected and, instead, a “glimmering mosaic” can emerge. Countless new ideas in art, food, architecture and everything in-between emerge not just from the individual pieces that produce these mosaics, but, as Gold says when “huge numbers of multiple cultures that live in the city come together in this beautiful and haphazard fashion, the fault lines between them is sometimes where you find the most beautiful things.” This image conjured from this glittering mosaic metaphor is one that feels familiar as you drive the avenues of the Outer Sunset. Repetition and patterns emerge as pass rows of identical Doelger homes varying only in the tinting of their salt-faded colors.

In this window installation, Matt Katsaros explores this metaphor through quilted sculptures constructed from fabric dyed mostly using local plant materials. The central sculpture, dressed in a quilt of repeating patterns, shapes, and colors is made in response to the last eight years living in the Outer Sunset. This piece invites viewers to peek into its hull where a video can be seen displaying archival images of locations across the Sunset from the 2018 project “Collective Geographies” by artist Kelley O’Leary.

About the Artist
Matt Katsaros is an artist working in textiles, dyeing, printing, and sculpture out of (until one month ago) his home and garage studio in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco. His work uses color, repetition, and improvisation to explore how rigid structures and patterns can transform to something entirely unique and playful with only slight interventions. Katsaros’ work has been shown at BAMPFA, Irving Street Projects, the General Store, and the Perish Trust.
 

About the Video Images
Artist Kelley O’Leary created  “Collective Geographies” as a part of her 2018 residency at Irving Street Projects where she combined both digital and analog research methods to map the Outer Sunset in a way that re-inserted the emotion and personal experience that maps never capture. For Collective Geographies, O’Leary invited the public to contribute memories associated with a street address in the Outer Sunset; each locale was added to a large-scale collage in the gallery, and each memory was transcribed in a set of corresponding cards for visitors to explore. This project also lives as a book that is available for purchase (inquire within). Matt Katsaros would like to thank Kelley for creating this project and for the generosity and openness to including the archival images in this show.

Artist Links

Website mattkatsaros.com/

Instagram @matt_kat_studios

About

The Great Highway is a fine art gallery and working studio featuring contemporary works in all mediums. The gallery has a deep appreciation for images and ideas that explore where lands meet water.

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Location and Hours

The Great Highway
3649 Lawton St.
San Francisco, CA 94122

phone: (415) 680-3891
email: info@thegreathighway.com

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