Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stretch and Expose at City Hall

The dreary basement of City Hall hosts some of the best art exhibits in San Francisco, but nobody seems to pay any attention to them as they are walking down the halls.

The current show is called Stretch and Expose, a catch-all title for contemporary screen-prints by local artists such as Angus Haller above.

The lead curator for this San Francisco Art Commission funded show is Bert Bergen, who is about to make the big leap to the center of arts commerce and distribution, New York City. Above is one of the many prints he created for the show in collaboration with other local artists, in this case Andy Vogt.

Part of what makes the exhibit so interesting is how varied the close to two dozen artists deal with the medium, such as Mark Taylor above.

The exhibit website explains:
"Today, screen printing by hand is considered obsolete for large-scale industrial printing runs, but is still utilized in the production of small run posters and t-shirts. When developing the concept for this exhibition the curatorial team considered featuring the history of Bay Area music posters, or activist posters, however in the end we decided to focus on something much more curious – fine art screen printing."
The above is printed on brass by Jonathan Runcio.

The site continues:
"Why would artists still choose to screen print when the prevalent method for printing has become digital? When the curators posed the question to the participating artists, each answer was different, however there seemed to be common ground rooted in both the desire to control the work through a particular physical process, and also enjoying the random inconsistencies the process produces. Additionally, screen printing is an economical way to produce duplicates, and it allows for a myriad of experimental possibilities."
Above is one of an amusing series of prints involving the same comic character by Gina M. Contreras.

One of my favorite pieces was Camo Yeti above and below by Aaron Terry.

It's funny and spooky at the same time.

The most amusing title and execution of concept was Waiting in Line for Dim Sum by Chelsea Wong above. It reminded me of the Act I Banquet Scene in Nixon in China across the street at the Opera House.

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