Lava Mae, a nonprofit project that seeks to provide the homeless with access to showers and toilets, commissioned artists and designers to create artsy toilets that were displayed along Market Street in San Francisco on November 21st, during the same week as World Toilet Day, for a project titled “C’mon, Give a Shit.” Though these names are snicker-worthy, this day is a UN recognized event that “aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.” Through their public art toilet project, Lava Mae seeks to generate awareness about the sanitation problem surrounding the homeless. In May 2014, Lava Mae plans to roll out their first retro-fitted MUNI bus that will provide mobile showers and toilets to the homeless community in San Francisco.
Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval says, “We want to deliver dignity. We feel that if you don’t have access to hygiene you lose touch with your humanity.” Acknowledging that the mobile facilities will certainly not end homelessness, Sandoval is hopeful that the project provides a good starting point for addressing the homeless’ lack of access to basic human needs. “We’re creating a model for delivery of service that others can embrace, a forum that works like open source technology,” Sandoval says, “Our designs, our budgets, anything we can help bring to other communities.”
San Francisco based artist Alec Huxley‘s large and cinematic sci-fi paintings are filled with noir-influenced contrast. Both bleak and bright, his paintings largely take place in urban or desert landscapes of the American West Coast and are representative of both science fiction and surrealist inspired narratives that often include animal figures. Huxley’s use of light throughout his compositions lend his work a realism that is rather haunting, and reminds me of something you’d find in an apocalyptic comic book narrative. His solo exhibition, “Astronomical Menagerie,” is described below and currently on view at the Minna Gallery in San Francisco until October 26th:
“At the witching hour, fashionable figures in space helmets rendezvous with wild beasts in the empty streets of San Francisco. As animals are central to our perception of humanity, relationships of power and domination juxtapose with naked reminders of human frailty. Confident in our ingenuity, we float about cities at the apex of species. Absent our imagination and material protections, we stand vulnerable beside creatures functioning solely to survive.” (via exhibition-ism)
Photographer Simon Christen calls Adrift, his two year in the making video, “a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area.” The often daily fog is just one feature that makes the San Francisco peculiarly wonderful. Christen worked through out the two year period to catch the images fog a few seconds at a time. An ocean of fog appears to flow like water down hills, through and under the Golden Gate Bridge, and into the city. Set to a custom score by Jimmy LaValle of The Album Leaf, Adrift underscores the beautiful mystery of unique area.
Next month, Jay Howell is having a solo show of 25 new works on paper at FFDG in San Francisco (“Enthusiastic Person”, opening February 1st, 6-9pm). Always excited to see what this guy is cooking up. Every new series he does seems to improve on the last without abandoning the sense of freedom and experimentation that makes his work so appealing. This will be Howell’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, and if you’re in the area, I definitely encourage you to check it out. Click past the jump to see more new character-filled work, and keep a look out for the artist’s upcoming animated series with Nickelodeon, “Sanjay and Craig”.
Liz Hickok is a San Francisco-based artist working in photography, video, sculpture, and installation. Hickok received her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California. She earned a BFA and BA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. Hickok lived and worked in Boston for over ten years before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. “Hickok’s Cityscapes in Jell-O” series has received extensive media coverage, such as The New York Times, NPR, and The CBS Early Show. Her artwork has been exhibited across the United States and is included in international collections.
Hickok will be showing work at The Emerald Tablet in San Francisco October 20 – November 18 as part of A.D.D., a group exhibition. (via)
San Francisco-based artist Michelle Fleck creates slightly minimalistic acrylic paintings that deal with the “relationship between man and the landscape”. In the paintings, decaying natural environments are sullied by the trappings of construction work and neglect. What’s great about these, in addition to Fleck’s nice illustrative sense of texture, is the artist’s intelligent handling of her subject matter. It’s so common, whenever drawing on environmental themes, to be heavy-handed. To sort of say, “I’m talking about the environment now, and it’s very important so look at what I’m doing.” Instead of taking that route, Fleck just paints what she sees (of course taking care to include pointed compositions and visual appeal). Some situations don’t need extensive commentary, just a skilled storyteller to show you just enough of what you need to know.
Diggin’ on this Bodies of Thought photo series from San Francisco based artist and photographer Kristin Smith. The pictures deal with the concept of “an intelligent body, where the body’s thoughts are realized through movement.” Smith’s process removes any normal definition of personality from the figures and reveals, instead, a more ethereal consciousness that perhaps resides within us all. The works, blurred bodies full of motion set against black backgrounds, come off as very pure. Smiths models for the series (some of which, over the years, have been professional dancers) find a way, through Smith’s eye, to release a particularly distilled form of expression. “Intellect” is definitely present here, but not that of any worldly concerns. This series goes above (or below) the surface. (via)
Brett Reichman has been pursuing an increasingly sexually charged direction with his painting. It’s clear that his subject matter is an important aspect of his work. But just as important is how visceral this stuff is. I get the feeling that Reichman’s skill with a brush allows him to communicate any message that pleases him, no matter what the content might be. This looks like one of those cases where you especially have to see a work in person to fully experience it. Brett Reichman is based in San Francisco.