Arts Listings

Celebrating California College of the Arts Centennial

By Robert McDonald, Special to the Planet
Tuesday July 24, 2007

Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco is celebrating the centennial of the founding of the California College of the Arts with a selection of paintings and sculptures by some of the institution’s faculty and student alumni whose works have appeared at the gallery during the past 30 years. No theme unites the works beyond the characteristics of vitality and grace. 

The first work that the visitor sees is internationally renowned conceptual artist David Ireland’s “Untitled (Capillary Action),” 1995, (78 inches in height) which sets a standard for inventiveness. The base is a rectangular, galvanized steel box whose bottom is covered by the crusty residue of evaporated water, salt and dye. A length of cheese cloth drapes from a wire hanger, which itself hangs from a vertical wire support, into the box whose evaporated contents have stained it dark to light ocher.  

Other works by Ireland located across the gallery include drawings and paintings on paper and principally a reclaimed glass cabinet, “Untitled (Cabinet),” 1989/2006, whose two shelves support objects of personal and professional significance to the artist, for example: a color-glazed, porcelain, Asian female figurine partially wrapped in cement; painted wood and cardboard forms; a framed photograph; a hand-formed wax object that resembles either a stunted phallus or a toadstool; and a jar of nails (finger and toe, not carpenter’s) accumulated by the artist while performing his daily hygiene. 

Nearby, John Roloff’s Planting Studies, 1998-2001, ink jet prints and Laura Dufort’s painting “Silver Mandalas .01” afford elegant respites for meditation, as do works by Sian Oblak and John Zurier elsewhere in the gallery. 

The juxtaposition of works by two masters of contemporary figuration permits visitors a rare opportunity to compare and contrast their visions, both of which convey, I feel, some of the psychovisual distress of the Iberian Peninsula. Judith Linhares is represented by two erotically charged paintings on paper. 

Works of Robert Bechtle restore visitors to a world they recognize. Known as a photorealist he is represented by two works in charcoal on paper which could, indeed, be mistaken for black-and-white photographs, in part because of his masterful use of the texture of the paper. Three small watercolors of Paros are as soft as melodies. 


Image: Robert Bechtle’s “Marpissa" part of his Paros watercolor series