Jenkins Johnson Gallery is pleased to announce Fluid, a group exhibition in San Francisco running from September 5 through October 1, 2013. Inspired by America’s Cup, Fluid highlights a mixture of artistic approaches to figurative and concrete conceptions of water. The selected artists include Ben Aronson, Scott Fraser, Karen Gundverson, John Nava, Scott Prior, Skip Steinworth, Francesca Sundsten, and Nancy Switzer. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 5 from 5:30 to 7:30pm.
Scott Prior, Windsocks, 2013, oil on panel, 16 x 14 inches New York artist Karen Gunderson is attracted to the restlessness of nature, and is interested in nature, politics, and the variety and qualities of energy one finds in a work of art. The eerie blacks and silvers of Gunderson’s water pieces showcase the artist’s ability to connect technique with emotion and gripping tension. Gunderson captures the haunting waters in a moment of turmoil, enrapturing her audience with the power and chaos of the open sea. Gunderson’s water pieces build on the artist’s attention to instability as she respects the capriciousness of water, especially in a gathering storm. Sharing Gunderson’s approach, Francesca Sundsten is fascinated by water’s metaphorical and technical potential. The unique painter’s eye abstractly explores the spatial depth where “intangible and mysterious elements float by.” Sundsten’s works on water reflect experimentation with the human figure without direct representation. Sundsten works in a more fluid way as light, color, and boundaries become more malleable. Both Sundsten and Gunderson’s pieces make the viewer “conscious of this precious resource, the experience of looking at it and remembering the danger of it as well as the importance of it in our existence.”
Scott Fraser is a realist painter who works from observation to craft bold, resonant still-lifes. Fraser uses his own experiences to build his subject matter, working from his childhood in Chicago and homelife in Colorado. The luminosity of his work is reminiscent of his naturally lit home studio in Longmont, CO. Commonplace things inhabit Fraser’s pieces in new and unexpected ways, “creating the kind of art that lingers in the viewer’s mind.” Fraser’s still-lifes are reminiscent of the Old Masters, blending traditional and contemporary with his innovative and witty approach. The toy narwhals in Rub a Dub Dub speak to Fraser’s playful tone, and the reflections on the bowl are unique to Fraser’s style; the self-portrait inside is subtle and classic. Nancy Switzer also captures the beauty of everyday things. This abstract Denver artist selects her subjects based on the objects that interest her from a purely visual standpoint. Switzer often creates patterned compositions from basic shapes that lend a pointed look to pure color effects. This simplicity of shape opens space for repetition and augments “color fields that flow around the objects and enter into their space.” The texture of each work is marked with a deliberate and thick application of paint as Switzer carves ridges of paint that have an optical element of their own. The fluidity of Switzer’s sweeping strokes and directional dashes catch the light and fracture the painting into many abstract and translucent parts.
Location plays a large factor in the experiences of these artists. Southern California artist John Nava’s beach scenes grew from the Greek myth of Aphrodite Anadyomene, the goddess of love and beauty who is born and emerges fullygrown from the sea. Nava emphasizes the presence of the ocean by placing his subject at the edge of the shore and setting her on the precipice of land and sea. Where air meets water and water meets land are determined according to subdivisions of the Golden Section. Nava brings a solemn tone to his refined portraits. Nava’s work highlights the grace of his subjects and allows their youthfulness and innocence to pervade the entire canvas. Similarly, the waterfront landscapes of Scott Prior depict a rugged and stoic New England. “Windsocks,” captures a small cabin in Cape Cod, unchanged each time Prior returned through the years. As it stands alone on a bluff overlooking the ocean, this homey get-away is snuggled between beach grass and rugosa roses, painted with Prior’s careful eye. Meanwhile, Ben Aronson’s cityscapes and figurative work vary in magnitude and style, though all of his pieces attach space to emotion. Water has appeared in his work in many forms across the years. His San Francisco cityscapes feature the glistening bay while his still-lifes of flowers bring light to the water filled glass vases. Aronson’s meticulous use of light and technique emphasizes an emotional dimension in his work. Influenced by the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco, Aronson’s focus on water brings new possibilities to his established painterly style.