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Monday, October 10, 2011

SF Open Studios: "Art Is Pointless" -- and Really Fun to See -- at Workspace Limited

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Useless stuff put to use. - JOHN ZAKLIKOWSKI
  • John Zaklikowski
  • Useless stuff put to use.

We're not quite halfway through ArtSpan's SF Open Studios, which continue through the last weekend in October, but we've seen some great work so far. The first weekend we went to Workspace Limited, a 37,000-square-foot converted industrial space where more than 40 artists set out the wine, hurriedly slapped labels on their work, and opened their doors.

Workspace Limited is glorious and though at night a gaze out the huge windows met pitch black, it was easy to imagine the pounding mission sun supplying ample natural light for those lucky to have scored an upstairs studio. The crowd was less than banal, the way Burning Man vehicles look after you've lived here for a while -- all flash and no substance. Thankfully, there was plenty of work to look at and a labyrinth of rooms to explore.

Most notable was the work of John Zaklikowski, whose room literally exploded with kinetic energy of dead technology. Motherboards and hard drives, CDs, and all the other stuff under the hood of your second self that when disassembled is just as useful as a brick.

JOHN ZAKLIKOWSKI
  • John Zaklikowski

Resembling the cubism of Georges Braque and the technology of John Chamberlain, Zaklikowski uses assemblage to back up his artist statement that "art is pointless." What's not to love?

ISABEL SANTIS
  • Isabel Santis

The pieces on view by Isabel Santos beautifully illustrated disease in all the right curves and colors. Through three-dimensional mixed media, the pieces simultaneously enabled awe and tragic reflection on our own susceptibility.

HADLEY NORTHROP
  • Hadley Northrop

Next consider the work of Hadley Northrop (polar bears) and Jennifer Berkovitz (family portrait). Sincere? Ironic? Paradoxical? Depends on your point of view and what you want to see.

JENNIFER BERKOVITZ
  • Jennifer Berkovitz

One artist commissions work to "paint your child's favorite toys." We wonder whether that's more for the kids or the parents -- and also whether it matters.

Memories for sale
  • Memories for sale

Daniel A. Diaz-Tai's studio provided the ideal scene where the work was interesting and the company even better. Reminiscent of Basquiat and informed by movement and calligraphy, the nonsensical black-and-white script draped the walls in a mood so subtle and yet more compelling than all the other rooms combined.

DANIEL A. DIAZ-TAI
  • Daniel A. Diaz-Tai

There was a clear theme of dueling forces: simplicity and complication, understanding and confusion, intention and spontaneity. He was also the only artist that introduced himself and chatted amicably about his work, the one thing you go to open studios hoping for -- to actually meet the artist and become a little more informed.

ArtSpan's SF Open Studios continues through Oct. 30.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Stephanie Echeveste

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