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.
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.
The Great Highway is excited to present a new window installation and works on paper by David Kimball Anderson.
Artist Statement I register non-linear time in the same category as impermanence. To fully experience both requires a practice of surrender. Several months ago, as I began thinking about my opportunity to do a window with The Great Highway, I decided to install two older pieces: Fire and Vapor, both from 2013. These works arose during time I spent in high-altitude Colorado with a mindfulness teacher friend and remain timely for me today. Since then, world and personal events have made it ever more necessary that I work to achieve serenity via acceptance of impermanence.
Vapor refers to the dissolution of ego and the translucent sensation one might enjoy when, if only for a moment, one is relieved of attachment to identity and ambition. Fire refers to the process of burning past karma or essentially taking a personal inventory and when wrong, promptly admitting it. Together, these pieces represent my desire to relinquish control, or my imagined sense of control. When I truly let go and fall deeply into the embrace of the Divine, I experience non-linear time. In addition to Vapor and Fire, works on paper will be installed in the gallery space. These works represent bodily and transcendental points of sensation as well as complementary notes on Vapor and Fire.
About the Artist Throughout his fifty-year career, Anderson has referenced both the micro and the macro of physical life. From the complexity of deep space to the molecular structure of matter, Anderson’s work represents all physical life as equally rich in appearance and contributive to the whole interrelated system we see and touch.
Anderson’s life-long pursuit of merging his spiritual practice with his nature-based artwork, manifests as images of devotional objects as well as the transcendental reality of the Divine.
Anderson was the 1973 sole recipient of the SECA Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Anderson was included in the 1975 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC. Anderson has been the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowships among other grants and accolades. Anderson lives in Santa Cruz, California.
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