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San Francisco

Meridian Gallery

Exhibition Detail
Three Related Exhibitions curated by Lawrence Rinder
Curated by: Lawrence Rinder
535 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
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March 13th, 2008 - May 3rd, 2008
Opening: 
March 13th, 2008 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 
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"Form +" group show of Bay Area abstraction including Todd Bura, Léonie Guyer, Prajakti Jayavant, Phil McGaughy, Evelyn Reyes, and Dean Smith

"Dhyana" contemporary anonymous Tantric drawings from Rajasthan

"Franck André Jamme: New Exercises"


March 13 - May 3, 2008

Opening reception: Thursday March 13, 6-9 PM


These three related exhibitions explore form as vehicle for imaginative experience. The artists here use form as a provocation to attention and as an armature for understanding. Abstract as they are, these works are not simply self-referential but rather allude to conditions and capacities of the mind.

The Tantric drawings shown here-which are from the collection of poet Franck André Jamme-were made anonymously as an aid to meditative practice. The forms and colors in these works are not unique but rather highly conventional signs that have evolved for over a thousand years both to signify and to stimulate specific mental and spiritual experiences. Dhyana is a Sanskrit word for deep meditation and as such could be used to describe not only this exhibition but the two concurrent shows as well.

Franck André Jamme: New Exercises comprises a selection of small mirrors inscribed with short texts by one of France's leading contemporary poets. The idiosyncratically unbroken texts as well as the disorienting interaction of text and mirror in these works stimulate the reader/viewer's mind, fostering a condition of unusual concentration. Each text is a kind of philosophical instruction or "exercise"; like modern koans they exude qualities of impossibility, ephemeralness, and paradox.

Form + presents works by six San Francisco area artists whose work resonates with Jamme's mirror poems and with his collection of Tantric drawings. Form, in these works, is only deceptively the center of attention. Todd Bura's small paintings are inordinately stimulating for works that provide so little in the way of imagery, color, or texture. It is this very superabundance of sensation that is the real subject of Bura's apparently minimal, formalistic works. Similarly, Léonie Guyer's reductive drawings attend to shape as a kind of powerful reverse explosion. Her quizzical forms gather the energy around them into a super-potent visual moment. Dean Smith's drawings, although rigorously dependent on pre-ordained rules of execution, overflow with visual and visceral sensation. There is a compelling balance in his work between expansion and condensation. A related dichotomy is evident in Phil McGaughy's sculptures which integrate geometrical construction with organic wood forms. In contrast to his expansive constructed elements, McGaughy's found driftwood and manzanita sticks accrue a powerful internalizing gravity. Evelyn Reyes' series of abstracted carrots employs repetition and a certain intensity of execution to suggest a Platonic vision of a common garden vegetable. Within the similarity of her forms one finds engaging differences. Prajakti Jayavant's painted paper constructions similarly pose provocative questions about the limits of difference and our capacity to frame experience meaningfully. On the verge of sheer materiality, her works betray the barest echoes of formal intent, and thereby attune our awareness to the wonder of artistic possibility.

Lawrence R. Rinder is the Dean of the College at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Previously, he was the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Prior to the Whitney, Rinder was founding director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, in San Francisco, and served as Assistant Director and Curator for Twentieth-Century Art at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Among the many exhibitions he organized at these institutions are "Searchlight: Consciousness at the Millennium" (1999), "Knowledge of Higher Worlds: Rudolf Steiner's Blackboard Drawings" (1997), "Louise Bourgeois: Drawings" (1996), "In a Different Light" (1995) ""Felix Gonzalez-Torres" (1994), and "Where There Is Where There: The Prints of John Cage" (1989).

 


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