Skot Olsen with Regino Gonzales, Dee Dee Cheriel & Henry Gunderson
Shooting Gallery and White Walls
December 13, 2008
Review and Photos by Joshua "Creep" G.
Better Than: Finding out they are going to remake "They Live." As if they could top that fight scene.
Elsewhere: See the rest of the show on Creep's Flickr Here.
The plan I have had for the past few weeks was to stay home, study and kick ass on all of my finals. But since I am an Art History major, dragging myself to San Francisco for a night filled with killer art was not only a great way to take a break from all the studying I was not doing, but also (as I rationalized it) necessary for my degree. That is, of course, if my degree actually gets me a job in the art field and not at a fast food joint...
So, in a rerun I've engaged in too many times to count, I made the four hour to-and-fro journey to the city to check out two of my favorite galleries in town: Shooting Gallery, and White Walls, which is conveniently right next door. The lighting at each one is killer, so I naturally have better pictures at these two places than most of the other galleries I go to. Shooting Gallery just keeps pummeling us with great artwork month after month, and Skot Olsen's new solo show (the night's main event) was no exception. White Walls had equally interesting fare with a three-person show featuring work by Regino Gonzales, Dee Dee Cheriel and Henry Gunderson.Being a big fan, I was really excited to see some new work from Skot. I was also pleased that he didn't let a tragedy that would have stalled other artists keep him down: Just last year, a fire at the Harold Golen Gallery consumed 20 of his paintings. I cannot not imagine what that must have felt like; to work that hard and have it all torched. But he's put that behind him and churned out one brilliant show. The theme of Saturday's exhibition was the sea, and we were treated to sea monsters and a good helping of giant squid. The paintings ranged in sizes from smaller 12" x 12" pieces to the monstrous "Poseidon" that you see above at 78" x 52". I had to take around eight shots of that one and hope that I would be able to assemble the chunks in photoshop with a little effort.
After absorbing all I could at Skot's show it was off to the next door gallery for some art that I haven't been exposed to yet; something I am always looking forward to. As you slip through the door into White Walls you are greeted with the work of Dee Dee Cheriel pretty much engulfing the far wall. She had so much work there it was staggering. I loved how all of the work was cohesive, that she has repeated imagery and characters as well as a unique color palette.
I was able to talk to Skot for a bit about his process of working. He basically does smaller sketches, thumbnails and then gets going on the canvas. While working he kind of finds his way around and lets the piece morph while he works. There wasn't any prints available at the show, but if you head over to Skot's homepage he does have a free hi-res image that you can download and then print. The print is "Only the Squid Die Young" and was featured in the "Weirdo Deluxe" guide to Lowbrow Art Book. You can grab it Here. Thanks Skot!
We talked a bit about her process, how she loves texture in her works, which you can see in every piece, subtle areas of texture like the works are worn with age. We also talked about bears, and how deer kill more people than bears have. Maybe she'll paint a deer mauling someone in some future work? Maybe I could just commission that? I also really liked that she used a stamp as her signature. The stamp had a portrait of her face, and you could see how the stamp degrading and came across differently on each surface. I think it's a great when artists add little extras like this to their style, it gives the work one more element that makes it all special.Working one's way down the trail of Dee Dee's work leads one to the back wall and some new work by up-and-comer Henry Gunderson. He recently had a mini-interview on FecalFace.com, and will have his first solo show at Fecal Face Gallery in July 2009. He is 18 and just starting college at the San Francisco Art Institute, what a way to get started huh? It will be great to see how his work progresses with college, and the shows that he will be participating in.
I was told that Henry popped his lip and teeth on a skateboard before the show, something I am sure he will feel the next day. But the high of the show, and a good amount of his work selling that night was surely enough to push the pain to the side, if there was any. I will be keeping an eye on this artist from now on, I really like how he deals with imagery and mixes rendered areas with flat graphic spaces. His work also fit in with this show perfectly. The three artists fit in very well, each one having their own strong voice and signature style.
The last artist in this perfectly curated show was Regino Gonzales. His work hung near the front of the gallery, so there was no way to make it out of the gallery without seeing these paintings. I loved all the work in the show, but Regino's hit me the hardest. I love the mixed media approach that he takes using acrylics and ink on paper that he then mounted onto wood panels. The way that he handles the materials as well was amazing, the perfectly rendered figures and the random explosions of dripping and staining. You can see in the piece shown here how the snake is broken up with the two areas where the paint was treated to basically do whatever it felt like. Regino is a a tattoo artist in NYC, and from what his webpage gives indication to he is a fan of artists like Jeff Soto and James Jean. I can see a little of the influence from both of those artists, but the stylized animals, color and way that he works really impressed me.
What a great night of art this was, and I really shouldn't be surprised as White Walls and the Shooting Gallery keep on giving us the best the art scene has to offer. I often feel a little disappointed when I see all of the shows going on in other parts of the country and world for that matter, but with these two galleries close by I know my art fix will always be satisfied.
Personal Bias: I was already a fan of Skot Olsen's and am always prepared to be amazed at what both of these galleries have to offer.
Random Detail: I spotted another up-and-coming SF artist, Gene Guynn at the show and learned of all the exhibitions he has in the next year. Such as a duo show with Jason Shawn Alexander at Strychin Gallery in Berlin.