Please note: the gallery will be closed July 2 through July 5.
To introduce our summer exhibitions, the Rena Bransten Gallery will present large scale sculptures selected to delight viewers with their impressive mass, sense of tension, and proof of daring engineering bravado. Works by artists J.B. Blunk, Viola Frey, Dennis Gallagher, Jun Kaneko, Sam Perry, Robb Putnam, and Desi Santiago will form a wondrous maze directing foot traffic as well as gazes throughout the gallery space.
J. B. Blunk’s (1926-2002) sculpture process involved evoking a form from the organic material itself. He sculpted mostly from centuries-old cypress and redwood with stumps often larger than twenty feet in diameter. Blunk would study the grain or burl of a wood piece for days or weeks and then, without the use of sketches or maquettes, work reductively on the form. His signature style, using various chainsaws and hand tools, has been greatly influential in contemporary sculpture and woodworking.
Viola Frey’s (1933 - 2004 ) reclining nude woman reveals her impressive engineering savvy as well as her penchant for using brilliant color to transform how one reads surface and volume. Throughout her long career, Frey pushed the limits of clay as a building material; inventing techniques to extend both height and mass. With her technical problems solved, she was free to experiment with color, line, and scale to further manipulate her forms.
Dennis Gallagher’s (1952 – 2009) horizontal ceramic sculpture will feature modular geometric forms that contain and extend the surrounding space - like Stonehenge but gallery-size. The broken circle can read as a vortex in a well or as natural stone-like garden seating – interpretation is open.
Jun Kaneko’s smooth ceramic monolith radiates power like an icy totem of undetermined spiritual significance. The stele-like forms coupled with the graphic strength of the black and white surface suggest a primitive beacon of unknown intent and origin.
Sam Perry’s abstract sculpture reveals the natural twisting and branching of the wood medium that’s been transformed into a seamless new form – one that resembles a monster knot moving on its long-leggy ends from its burl-like center.
Robb Putnam’s enormous stray dog is a true orphan – no recorded birth-parent or rights – rather, a creature made entirely of detritus like cast-off or lost items one might find in a gutter or alley awaiting trash pick-up. Backpacks, shoes, carpeting, string, socks, and rags perfectly articulate not only the form but also the content of this poor dog’s day.
Desi Santiago’s large-scale black vinyl head is reminiscent of a giant Buddha temple sculpture but with smooth stylized facial features and a powerful presence that seems to float above the floor.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:30 to 5:30, Saturdays 11 to 5. For more information, please visit our website at www.renabranstengallery.com or contact the gallery directly at (415) 982-3292.