June 2013's Fiction: 2nd Annual Portrait Invitational
YOU'VE READ THE BOOK, NOW SEE THE PAINTINGS
Like forensic artists sketching suspects from victims' statements, 29 painters hope to better capture the essence of literary characters from their author's descriptions in "Fiction: 2nd Annual Portrait Invitational." Taking artistic license, tattooist Terry Ribera's scarred but victorious Captain Ahab draws from a scrimshaw pipe, while Brianna Angelakis' dazed and dejected Alice trips under a mushroom, and Mr. Dark from Something Wicked This Way Comes reclines, his countenance nailed by Catherine Moore down to the pale face with its "sun-yellow" eyes set beneath "licorice black" eyebrows. This pantheon of canonical heroes and villains spans the ages, from Lucius of Apuleius' Latinate The Golden Ass, to Madison Spencer, the teenage heroine in Chuck Palahniuk's novel Damned, both struggling through the underworld, separated by nearly 2,000 years. Men, beasts, or a bit of both, they save the human race in a spacesuit, or take lives one at a time in a Hugo Boss overcoat.—By Michael Singman-Aste
September 2012's Blood & Marble: Bradley Platz Solo Show
August 2012's Dark Art: A Tribute to Metal Group Show
Interview: Kim Larson’s “Dark Art: A Tribute to Metal”
San Francisco artist Kim Larson co-opened her gallery, Modern Eden, with fellow artist Bradley Platz in 2010. Located on a quiet street just north of the city’s North Beach neighborhood, Modern Eden’s open, airy atmosphere doesn’t prepare you for the dark, twisted work featured in the gallery’s latest show.
“Dark Art: A Tribute to Metal” gathers paintings, sculptures, and more from 31 San Francisco Bay Area artists. The work ranges from psychedelic-hued skulls to thrones that look like they’ve been lacquered in blood.
Larson paints and creates jewelry inspired by octopuses and other sea creatures, while Platz’s work is simultaneously surreal, unnerving, and classical.
“We like strong, classical techniques but with an edge or twist that intrigue and get the viewer to think,” Larson says.
I interviewed Larson about “Dark Art” – how the show came to be, what inspired some of its most remarkable pieces, and the imagery many associate with metal culture. The show runs through September 9. Catch it if you can.
Though scientific discoveries and technology shape our perception and beliefs, Western society’s classical foundations have survived well into the Internet era. Archetypes from Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian mythology influence the kinds of stories we tell about ourselves and each other — both in interpersonal interactions and in the media. On July 14, Modern Eden in San Francisco will open “Myth,” an international group show at allows a diverse line-up of artists to interpret the myths of their choice. From Persephone to King Midas, both obscure and familiar mythological characters will be stylized according to each artist’s imagination.~Nastia Voynovskaya
June 2012's Notorious: Curated by Bradley Platz
'Notorious: Portraits of History's Most Infamous'
"Today's villains are sometimes tomorrow's heroes - and vice versa. And sometimes you get those people who aren't so easily defined, but have managed to become dicey cultural icons. This group exhibition of paintings by an international roster of artists is all about them, from Marie Antoinette to William Burroughs,John Brown to Sid Vicious. - Mary Eisenhart
History's Most Infamous Criminals "Hang" at Modern Eden's "Notorious"
It isn't too often that you find Sid Vicious, Napoleon, and Joan of Arc "hanging" in the same room, unless of course, you are at Modern Eden's latest exhibit: "Notorious: Portraits of History's Most Infamous"
The North Beach gallery was crowded with visitors Saturday night, anxious to see what Bradley Platz, co-owner of the gallery and a featured artist, called a "cohesive" exhibit.
"All the artists worked on these pieces for months and months. Sometimes with group shows, it's just kind of what everyone has at the time. But for this, everyone made a unique piece," Platz, who painted Marie Antoinette, said.
People walked around the gallery eagerly flipping through the price list that gave a brief history of each person portrayed -- and it was quite the cast of characters -- from bank robbers to poets, and journalists to mad scientists. Like the criminals themselves, the techniques used to create them were vast, including spray paint on street signs and oil on board.
But the crown jewel of the exhibit wasn't a top of King Philip IV's head, it was Laura Buss's oil painting portrait of Sid Vicious. How did she choose to paint Sid? "I used to be a crusty little punk rocker, so I have a deep love in my heart for Sid Vicious and he definitely fit the bill," said Buss, the San Francisco tattoo artist also known as "Tex." ~Matt Saincome
May 2012's Pagan Poetry: Tino Rodriguez & Virgo Paraiso Duo Show
Ethereal, Meet Earthly
If you have seen Antony & the Johnsons' video for the song "Epilepsy Is Dancing," you have already begun to glean the lush aesthetic of Mexico-born artists Tino Rodriguez and Virgo Paraiso: an opulent fantasy world filled with carnivorous flowers, dancing skeletons, shape-shifting animals, bedeviling twinkle lights, and the all-too-perceptive looking glass. And that's just their apartment. Give them canvas and paint, and their imaginations flee from the laws of physics and the rules of man. At ease in the lowbrow art world, where surrealists and symbolists seek pop metaphors, Rodriguez uses fairy tale, myth, and idolatry from Europe and the Americas as a springboard into gardens of gun-toting fairies, swan-hearted gangsters, and rocking-horse meteorites. Armed with the hand of a Dutch master and the heart of the alchemist, Paraiso explores the liberation and frustration of metamorphosis: Hummingbirds sip from the flowers of human tongues, nymphs bathe under the gaze of cats, mermaids are ravaged by octopuses, erections become crowns of glory, and babies get stuck in spider webs. Bring Paraiso and Rodriguez together and you have "Pagan Poetry," an unearthly visual romance somewhere between Frida Kahlo's diary and A Midsummer Night's Dream. While individually interesting, Rodriguez and Paraiso's collaborations are works of pure chemistry - passionate, dangerous, funny, and challenging. ~SILKE TUDOR