Last week Tuesday, had the pleasure of taking my Academy of Art University graduate class on a gallery tour. I truly believe that improving one’s practice includes seeing and immersing oneself in art, art, and more art. As a result, exposing my students to different modes of thinking helps guide them in clarity to graduation.
The day started with a generous talk of valuable information from HANG ART gallery owner/director Piero Spadaro. He shared his professional history and experience with my students. Piero discussed how emerging artists should approach galleries by following instructions and being polite. Unfortunately, two often and forgotten common sense points.
Highlights of the day also included Addie Sheviln at HANG ART Gallery, Dannielle Tegeder at Gregory Lind Gallery, Miya Ando at K. Imperial Fine Art, Paul Balmer at Caldwell Snyder Gallery, and Chuck Close at John Berggruen Gallery.
Addie Shevlin is a hidden San Francisco Bay Area treasure and a consistent favorite. According to HANG ART’S website: “Addie was born into an artistic family in Illinois, and family vacations included plenty of time for museum tours and sketching. From 1961 to 1963, the young artist took classes at the celebrated Art Students League in New York, and she later sought instruction from Bay Area artists including Jay DeFeo, Charles Farr, and Ralph Borge. While pursuing her study of visual art, Addie also earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in English literature.”
The presentation of Dannielle Tegeder’s exhibit was meticulous. Every aspect was carefully thought out and researched. I admired her obsessive system and art practice that includes paintings, drawings, and video installations. Her work mimics cities that create safe and new civilizations after a post-apocalyptic event.
Miya Ando’s work was an unexpected surprise. From her website: “Miya Ando’s metal canvases and sculpture articulate themes of contradiction and juxtaposition of ideas. The foundation of her practice is transformation of surfaces. Half Japanese & half Russian-American, Ando is a descendant of Bizen sword makers and was raised in a Buddhist temple in Japan and in coastal Northern California. She has continued her 16th generation Japanese sword smithing and Buddhist lineage by combining metals, reflectivity and light in her transcendent paintings and sculpture.” The gallery turned off the lights to show the class how the pieces glowed in the dark. It was a special and surprising experience.
The Paul Balmer exhibit is dominated by his brightly painted cityscapes at Caldwell Snyder Gallery. However, I was intrigued by the above “quiet” landscape. The colors and composition work in harmony while delivering a powerful painting without the drama.
Chuck Close is an artist whose talent and authentic personality has fueled his success consistently over the years. Despite a devastating spinal artery collapse that severely paralyzed Close in 1988, he’s continued to create and sell art. The exhibit at John Berggruen Gallery left no doubts.
Overall, visiting galleries in San Francisco rarely disappoints. It engages dialogue and discussion beyond the classroom. My goal was to build a framework or foundation for my students for life beyond academia. This won’t be the last class visit to inspire future artist generations and undoubtedly looking forward to it.