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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Artists Write a Visual Love Letter to That Big Metal Workhorse: The Bay Bridge

Posted By on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Original Bridge (2011) - HUGHEN/STARKWEATHER
  • Hughen/Starkweather
  • Original Bridge (2011)

The Golden Gate Bridge might be the more iconic span, but there's a special place in our jaded hearts for its argent-hued counterpart to the east. That said, the Bay Bridge isn't widely considered a fount of artistic inspiration (although it does have an often-amusing Twitter account that we've written about.)

In "Approach, Transition, Touchdown: The Bay Bridge Project," however, Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather turn their pens and pigments to San Francisco's less-celebrated platform. Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the bridge's opening, "Approach, Transition, Touchdown" includes prints and drawings that represent the structure in imaginatively discursive ways. The exhibit's opening reception is Friday evening at Electric Works.

Path (2011) - HUGHEN/STARKWEATHER
  • Hughen/Starkweather
  • Path (2011)

Given uncommon access to original architectural plans, maps, archival photos - and the bridge itself -- Hughen and Starkweather have created a collection that simultaneously abstracts, re-envisions, and reconstructs the Bay Bridge. There is nothing strictly documentary here -- the viewer will strain to discern the familiar trestles that undergird the oblique angles, abstractly clustered shapes, and sweeping pen flourishes. But by deconstructing the bridge's form, Hughen and Starkweather rediscover and reveal the arresting power of a structure that blended into the city's skyline long ago.

The opening reception for "Approach, Transition, Touchdown: the Bay Bridge Project" starts at 6 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 21) -- and the exhibit runs through Nov. 23 -- at Electric Works, 130 Eighth St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free.

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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Paul M. Davis

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