Arts & Events

5 Bay Area Artists at the Berkeley Arts Festival

By Bob Brokl
Monday April 23, 2012 - 04:00:00 PM

The Berkeley Arts Festival continues at the historic Acheson Building, 2133 University Ave., in Downtown Berkeley, with a new group of artists, though Labor Day. 

The artists in the exhibit are Mark Bulwinkle, Art Hazelwood, Roberta Loach, Mari Marks, and Robert Brokl, who organized the show along with Alfred P. Crofts. 

Work runs the gamut from politically-themed prints to luminous encaustic paintings; exquisite, miniature etchings, to raucous metal screens. What the artists have in common is a mastery of their craft. 

Mark Bulwinkle’s large screens occupy the store front windows. His work is playful and antic, with serious undercurrents. The boldness of the imagery and repetition of motifs perhaps connect him to outsider art, but his “Weeping Woman” and “Horse” head also evoke Picasso and Guernica. Bulwinkle’s most viewed work must be the large reliefs at the East Bay Bridge shopping center on the Emeryville/Oakland border, and other public installations such as the Art Holladay Park Light Rail Station in Portland and the Crow Canyon Shopping Center in Danville. He also has appeared in numerous gallery and museum shows across the country. 

Art Hazelwood is a “printmaker with a focus on political and satirical art who has worked in a range of forms from screen print posters to fine press artist books. His prints are in several collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, and regularly appears in several west coast street papers. 

Hazelwood divides his time between wearing hats as artist, impresario, and instigator. He has put together retrospectives of several artists, organized nationwide political art shows, and curated several museum shows including the traveling show, Hobos to Street People: Arts’ Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present.” 

Hazelwood is showing prints from three series at the BAF, as well as two oversized linocuts. 

Roberta Loach< is a well-known Bay Area painter and printmaker, currently the subject of a survey exhibition of acrylics, gouaches, and etchings of work from 1998-2007 at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, through July 8. She specializes in social commentary and satire. Her etchings in the BAF reference the history of art, and are, on a technical level, exceedingly accomplished, involving multiple plates and layers of color. In the digital age, with prints often produced by others in “professional” print shops, her etchings that involve acid baths, multiple plates with perfect registration, and hand-printing are a rarity. 

Mari Marks’ encaustic paintings eschew subject matter for subtle color and depth and variations of surface texture, from ropey raised relief to matte surfaces evoking Chinese celadon porcelain. She is showing one of her early encaustics, a gestural painting almost Abstract Expressionist in intensity and feeling, contrasting with later serene, quietly meditative paintings. Some of these burnished paintings have graphite rubbed into tiny veins, others are repetitions of fingerprints, rendered mysterious under layers of wax like fog. She is also showing pieces from her well-known Gingko series. 

Robert Brokl is showing work running the gamut from oversized paintings and a three-panel, double-sided, freestanding screen to prints. His largest (7’X8’) painting to date, based upon trips “home” to the Midwest, channels Edward Hopper with a lighthouse and an empty schoolhouse awaiting demolition. The screen, a Russian River swimming trip painting, and several prints (hand-colored plexicuts and a monotype) star Pugsley, a Jack Russell. Brokl considers himself firmly within the Bay Area Figurative tradition. He was awarded a Gottlieb Foundation grant in 2006. 

The exhibit will be on display through Labor Day, on view during performances (see www.berkeleyartsfestival for up-to-the-minute listings of events) and by arrangement. Pianist Jerry Kuderna performs most Fridays at noon. 

A reception for the artists will be held Sunday, May 20, from 4-6 in the afternoon. Light refreshments, hosted bar, free to the public.