Sunday, October 26, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For gallery or artist information contact Aimee Friberg, Gallery Extraña, aimee (at) emilystrange (dot) org
For press materials contact Jill Beaverson, Gallery Extraña/Emily the Strange, 510-845-0340 ext 220, jill (at) emilystrange (dot) com
Defiant Optimism: New Works from the San Francisco Collage Collective
November 7 - December 20, 2008
Artist's Reception- Friday, November 7, 6-10 pm
8pm -- Screening of early films of master animator, film compositor Lawrence (Larry) Jordan with live piano accompaniment by Rob Reger (Thuja, Beno + Minnie, This Isn’t It)
Collage is the thread that brings together this cast of talented, respected Bay Area figures for the first show of its kind in many years. Included are Winston Smith, the artist who gave punk a graphic prowess with stunning high contrast designs, such as the Dead Kennedy's logo, and witty montage compositions that have graced publications internationally. Another treat for the eyes are the colorful surreal narrative collages of Bay Area film icon Lawrence or "Larry" Jordan, whose style is a delightful departure from collage maestro and famous recluse Joseph Cornell, with whom Jordan worked with in the 60s in New York. 3 previously un-exhibited collages from Jordan will debut in this exhibit and the opening will feature a screening of several early silent films set to live piano accompaniment by internationally renowned artist and Emily the Strange creator, Rob Reger. Reger will also debut work that revisits his surreal and absurdly figurative RED SERIES. Local abstract collage artist and vice-presidential independent candidate Matt Gonzalez will also debut new work in the show. Also featured are collages by Francis Mill, Robin Savinar, Rance Brown, Albert Herter, Bernice Yeung, Javier Arbona, David Sloane, Esteban Ortega Brown, Richard Stutting, and Matt Sullivan. The show is curated and produced by fellow collage collective member Aimee Friberg, who also is exhibiting in the show.
Defiant Optimism: New Works from the San Francisco Collage Collective is an exhibit of contemporary collage and montage in which the appropriation of the ordinary and everyday is expressed through the integration (cutting and pasting) of found materials and objects. “Cutting and pasting, shifting and merging; can collaging bring change? You might say it’s a curious idea… can recycling and appropriating visual imagery ignite hope? Maybe we find ourselves hoping for a better composition or for cleaner air. Hoping our color scheme is effective and how it’d be nice to have a stable economy. You might ask ‘where is optimism gleaned in these dark times?’ Is it in the quirky, the mundane, the found, the scattered? In art-making, friend-making? Conversation? And how can we affect change? Scavenging, cutting and pasting make sense to us and in this collective show we hope to call attention to little moments of bliss found in the process of making. We hope to delight and maybe even inspire you to pick up pair of scissors.” SFCC
About the San Francisco Collage Collective
The San Francisco collage collective is loose-knit group of artists from a variety of disciplines and with varying degrees of formal art training, who occasionally gather together to make collage works. The collective was formed in 2006 when Matt Gonzalez, Robin Savinar and Albert Herter began cutting and pasting together. The primary idea is to democratize art by inviting anyone interested to participate.
More information and work here:
Winston Smith is an artist armed with razor blade and a fiendish wit. His modus operandi since the 1970's has been to kidnap "innocent" images from the pages of vintage magazines and then to diabolically glue them into compromising or politically revealing positions in his surreal collage landscapes. "Perhaps the most vibrant collage maestro since Max Ernst," wrote popular underground artist Frank Kozik, who goes on to credit Winston with being "single-handedly responsible for an entire generation's graphic style." After studying in Italy, Smith moved to San Francisco in the 1970s, working primarily in the road crews of Bay-area rock bands such as Santana and The Tubes. In the mid-70's Smith, along with fellow artist Jayed Scotti, wrote, illustrated and published a satirical magazine titled "Fallout", while also producing and posting flyers for non-existant gigs in San Francisco.
Since then Smith, once known only to DK fans and the punk underground cognoscenti, has been gaining popularity in mainstream culture. He's had one-man shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London and Rome. His debut book, "Act Like Nothing's Wrong", was published in 1994 by Last Gasp of San Francisco was favorably reviewed a wide variety of regional and national magazines. His eighteen month (1995-97) sojourn as illustrator for SPIN magazine's Topspin political page further brought his work to national attention as did his award for "Best Cover Illustration" from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies in 1997. On the musical front, his bizarre "Insomniac" alum cover for the popular neo-punk band Green Day was voted a favorite in a 1996 readers poll in Rolling Stone Magazine. His works have also appeared in New Yorker magazine, Playboy, Wired, Spin, Utne Reader, and many other punk-related publications. The growing demand for Winston's humorous and controversial collage illustrations prompted the release of his second and third books, "Artcrime" and "All Riot on the Western Front", and the production of his first-ever series of collectible archival prints. The jumbo scale and fine quality of this new print series hugely expands the already powerful visual impact of Winston's work. We have arrived at the threshold of the twenty first century. It's time to call off the art police. The work of mischievous art-criminal Winston Smith is finally being brought to full color justice.
Lawrence (Larry) Jordan is an independent filmmaker and artist, who has been working in the Bay Area since 1955, and making films and collages since 1952. He has produced some 40 experimental and animation films, and three feature-length dramatic films. He meticulously combines 19th-century engravings, modern imagery and common symbols to construct unmistakable dream-like narratives. He is most widely known for his animated collage films and his diorama boxes. In 1970 he received a Guggenheim award to make SACRED ART OF TIBET. His animation have screened internationally and nationally including institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art –NY and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Jordan is one of the founding directors of Canyon Cinema Cooperative. As former chairman of the film department at the San Francisco Art Institute, Jordan’s impact on the art and film community in the Bay Area is paramount. Fortunate for the general public, Facets Multimedia has just released a four disc dvd set chronicling many of the works from Jordan’s ouvre.
"Jordan is one of the most prolific and accomplished stalwarts of the Bay Area independent film community. He takes full advantage of the tendency of disparate objects to take on new meaning, and form new relationships when they are brought into close proximity or when their usual context is changed. While these film collages link together a myriad of symbolic forms in new combination, the smooth, lyrical progression of the work results in a powerful sense of wholeness and totality." - Hal Aigner, San Francisco Chronicle "One thing: If I'd have to name one dozen really creative artists in the independent (avant-garde) film area, I'd name Larry Jordan as one. His animated (collage) films are among the most beautiful short films made today. They are surrounded with love and poetry. His content is subtle, his technique is perfect, his personal style unmistakable." - Jonas Mekas
Matt Gonzalez is a native of Texas, who in addition to making collages, is a political activist who is currently serving as Ralph Nader's running mate.
Exhibitions include: a.Muse Gallery (two-person show); Lincart Gallery (two-person show); McAllen Art House (group show); Adobe Books Backroom Gallery (solo show); Soap Gallery (solo show); Johansson Projects (group show); In vitro Gallery (solo show).
Rob Reger is the founder, owner, creative director and president of Cosmic Debris - a design house based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rob and Cosmic introduced the world to Emily the Strange, now the international icon for empowering young alternative girls. Rob has been designing Emily for over a decade and has generated millions of fans of the character. Reger and Cosmic Debris grew out of the DIY punk and guerrilla art aesthetic of the eighties, and a fondness for the surrealist art movement. He continues to mix sophisticatedly simple graphic design with a pop culture surrealist sensibility. Reger has an extensive fine arts background, with a B.F.A from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a M.F.A in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute. His oil paintings, printmaking, watercolors, and collage have been shown in galleries around the world: Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, Milan, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Santa Cruz.
Away from the company, Reger draws and creates everyday, and spends much of his off time as a musician recording and performing with his bands
Thuja,This Isn't It and Beno + Minnie. Reger loves eating his home grown veggies and spending time with his kitties.
Francis Mill is presently a director at the Hackett-Freedman Gallery in San Francisco. At the University of California, Berkeley, he received his undergraduate degree in architectural design in 1989 and followed by a masters degree in fine arts painting in 1990. Francis began teaching painting and drawing in 1991 at the Academy of Art College and was the dean of graduate studies from 1995-1999. He exhibited throughout the 1990s at the Ebert Gallery in San Francisco and was included in the biennial at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento in 1993. Today, Francis is exploring the integration of his interest in architecture and the fine arts.
San Fransisco-based David Sloane combines images of interest that he finds through out his wanderings in the city. When asked why collage, he states, “there is elation of coming upon an old print of a Buddha or a Chacmool or a curious anonymous face from another era or culture. It may just be a quizzical expression on a face, an invitation in the eyes. Whatever. I am drawn to this process and inspired to create a collage or montage with this key piece.”
Bernice Yeung is a San Francisco-based journalist. Some of her earlier collage and graphic design work has appeared in her now-defunct zine, option 8.
The four-eyed son of a printmaker/art teacher mother and audiophile father, Rance has been eating paste since his formative years in Western Massachusetts. Beginning his design career at a monument (gravestone) design firm in the 12th grade, he later graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Art Direction. He's since earned his lunch money producing much less morbid art for boy-band CDs, breath mint packaging, video game sleeves, and a slew advertisements that you'll never, ever see.
Robin began making collage in 2006. She has done more than 125 works including miniature landscapes, figurative representations and light, ordered abstractions. Prior to collage Robin worked in art forms including paper maché, oil painting, writing, translating, dancing and roller derby. She resides in her birthplace, San Francisco, and has lived in Los Angeles, CA, Santiago (Chile) and Madrid.
Javier Arbona was trained as an architect and now studies urban geography at UC Berkeley. He often tries to explore city form in his collage work.
Twenty-seven years ago, Richard Stutting rode a punk-influenced wave onto a chiaroscuro island. No one was creating work quite like his – the photographic collages played contrasts like Miles Davis blowing out a sweet, dark tone. Typography had personality; images moved without budging and there must have been some artistic epiphanies, because now that edgy style is being emulated in many more places. And Richard Stutting has been refining and perfecting it for twenty-seven years.
Cutting-edge, surreal, texturally rich: terms we often use to describe the photo/collage technique that is the hallmark of Richard Stutting's imagery. His photo-collage designs have appeared on numerous CD covers, book jackets, editorial features and private commissions. This award-winning artist combines traditional collage with new digital techniques to bring edgy post-modern visions to life - rock & roll you can touch.
Albert Herter attended the San Francisco Art Institute where he studied conceptual art though his work has consisted primarily of painting. He recently moved back to his hometown of New York and started the New York Chapter of the Collage Collective. He has been greatly influenced by the cut-ups up of Henri Matisse and work of Jean Arp. His latest work consists in laying down specifically cut pieces of paper on a scanner arbitrarily. This makes the work entirely ephemeral and speeds up the process greatly. He is also interested in the play between negative and positive space in his collages.
Aimee Friberg has exhibited, performed and screened her short films in Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, New York , California, Texas and Mexico; she resides in Berkeley. She is passionate about being curious, living simply, laughter as medicine and trusting the now. She works in a variety of media including photography, tactile installation, video/film-making, sound, electronics, performance, drawing and most recently -- collage. Seeking the sublime in the mundane, her artwork illuminates the subtle forces at play in our daily interactions. With this new collage work, Friberg pays tribute to the white on the page and the fruit of looking, then looking again.
Aimee received her B.A. at the University of Washington Seattle (UW) and served as a Teaching Assistant for DXARTS while at UW. Until recently she co-programmed and produced performance, film and lectures at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Aimee is co-director of Gallery Extraña, works as a freelance photographer and is presently curating an experimental film series for the Havana International Festival of Latin American Art in Cuba. She enjoys singing and playing percussion in her band Beno + Minnie and tending to her veggie garden.
Aimee has exhibited or performed at The Kitchen Center for Media (NY), Jack straw's New Media Gallery (Seattle), Artist’s Television Access (SF), The Lab (SF), Secluded Alley Works (Seattle), Jacob Lawrence Gallery (Seattle), Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), Blue Sky Gallery (Portland), Sand Point Naval Base (Seattle), and the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art.
ABOUT GALLERY EXTRAÑA
Gallery Extraña was founded by Emily the Strange creator Rob Reger and artist, curator, and filmmaker Aimee Friberg in the spring of 2008. Its first show in July of the 2008 turned the heads of national press with the elegant illustrations of Nicomi Nix Turner. Its mission is to showcase contemporary, emerging, and mid-career artists primarily from the Bay Area, with a special focus on talent from the East Bay, where the gallery is situated. Gallery Extraña is committed to exhibiting eccentric, “strange”, and off-center work, and seeks to promote local and underrepresented talent. Outside of featured shows, Gallery Extraña hours are by appointment only. Call 415-238-7385 or write firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a viewing.
Image credits: post front-- Genetic Sport, Winston Smith, 2008; post back-- Duo Concertantes (film still detail), Lawrence Jordan, 1961-64.