Making the quotidian look strange and familiar was Henry Wessel’s specialty. His New Topographics cohorts recorded the bald facts of our surroundings and elevated their impact through repetition. Wessel didn’t need to. His photos are self-contained stories.
David M. Roth
Before museums we had cabinets of curiosities: rooms that housed natural history, ethnographic artifacts and archeological remains. Twenty-one Bay Area artists explore those traditions.
Tired of big, banal theory-driven photos? A quiet counterinsurgency is gathering force. It’s composed of artists who are turning antiquated photographic methods to contemporary ends. Meet the antiquarian avant-garde.
Ever since Robert Rauschenberg built his legendary “combines” from cast-off junk sculptors have relied increasingly on found objects and industrial materials. Repurposed, they convey new meanings that go beyond associations we normally affix to them.
Contrary to Bay Area opinion, which holds that Sacramento is a backwater, “Flatlanders” stands as a smart rebuke. It not only serves as a showcase for emerging artists, but also spotlights artists who long ago established international reputations.
Katherine Sherwood, Robert Brady, Jim Melchert, Squeak Carnwath, Livia Stein and Gale Wagner would seem, at least on the surface, to have little in common. Look deeper are you find that each, in their own way, is committed to plumbing life’s mysteries.
American history is filled with foreigners who have come to these shores and revealed truths that made us squirm. Enrique Chagoya did exactly that.