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Visual Arts Picks

[whitespace] Picks by Christine Brenneman

Eye Candy

Eye Candy
Thru Aug 21; Tue-Fri 10:30am-5pm, Sat 11am-5pm; Rena Bransten Gallery, 77 Geary; 415.982.3292.

"Eye Candy" celebrates art so visually delightful it seems edible or at the very least touchable. Whether it's sculpture, painting or photography, this show engages the viewer on a sensual level, reveling in juicy hues, ripe shapes and slick surfaces. Frankie Woodruff--who recently received his M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute--shows his ample ability to create uncomplicated beauty in Form Prong Nagual (1999). In this large-format, vertically oriented painting, Woodruff uses an impossibly smooth silver vinyl background on which he drips deep purple squiggles. Blobby orange lines run up and down the work providing a screaming chromatic counterpoint to the cool purple and silver. Likewise, Peter Hopkins' Capital Project: Covered Site, ARCO #1 (1999) evokes a color-drenched acid trip. This unusual combination of fluids, fabric and holographic foils ends up creating a oceanic piece with 3-D circles floating among vibrant blue and green liquidity.


Gwynn Murrill

Gwynn Murrill
Thru Sep 3; Mon-Fri 9:30am-5:30pm, Sat 10:30am-5pm; John Berggruen Gallery, 228 Grant Ave; 415.781.4629.

Southern California sculptor Gwynn Murrill adores animals of all kinds, as her current solo show attests. She creates an entire menagerie of stylized creatures cast in bronze: some languish about the gallery space as if alive while others stand on pedestals. Although Murrill seems most enamored of felines, the show also includes dogs, horses and birds. In Bronze Dog (1990), Murrill perfectly captures the form of a giant sleeping canine. It lies directly on the gallery floor, made of the smoothest black bronze, all details erased until it becomes the essence of everydog. Similarly, Burmese Cat (1998) presents the figure of an archetypal animal, vaguely Egyptian in style. The small silver-plated cat stands stick straight with an almost taxidermied stiffness. Once again, the particulars of the cat's appearance are left out in favor of a more streamlined shape. Out of this quotidian subject matter, Murrill extracts an elegant study in form and line.


Lou DiJoseph

Lou DiJoseph
Thru Aug 31; Tue & Thu 10am-10pm, Wed, Fri & Sun noon-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm; Focus Gallery, 2423 Polk; 415.567.9067.

San Francisco artist Lou DiJoseph brings the tradition of the still life roaring into the next century with his recent photographic work. Utilizing Polaroid emulsion transfers on watercolor paper and canvas, his montage pieces center on the loveliness of inanimate objects as varied as fruit, guns and neon signs. The work possesses a willowy and transitory quality with its uneven edges and thin, overlaid images. Neon depicts six or more different views of the same neon sign. DiJoseph assembles them in a vertical composition with overlapping crooked outlines forming one looping composition. The glowing ringlets of glass tubing become splashes of life in the dark night. They evoke the feeling of being on a long road trip and finally seeing a motel on the road ahead. His Fruit Montage shows ripe selections of strawberries, apples and peaches again lined up vertically, but this time DiJoseph adds his own watercolored versions.


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From the August 16, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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