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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Off Shore: Gallery Installations for the Nautically Inclined

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Marie Lorenz
  • Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Marie Lorenz

If you've been following along with Southern Exposure's Off Shore, you're aware that the city has been taken over by large scale nautical-themed projects. Through the compilation of projects we've discovered secret waterways running throughout San Francisco, a queer performance on a temporary floating stage, unassuming treasure hunts in a handcrafted rowboat, and even the world's very first amphibious bicycle-powered ferris wheel.

Now that each of the participating artists has presented their large-scale off location performances, they take to the gallery to cap off the series.

Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Catherine McElhone
  • Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Catherine McElhone

For Constance Hockaday's All These Darlings and Now Us, the artist anchored four boats together in the bay for a floating peep-show starring artists from the defunct (and sorely missed) Lusty Lady and Esta Noche. By taking the cheeky performance to the water, and by reviving two iconic businesses that no longer have spaces in the city, Hockaday seemed to celebrate the freedom and flexibility that the water provides.

For her gallery installation Hockaday has constructed a video in two parts; a real-time world population counter layered over video of bubbles collecting in pools of water. The bubbles increase in number -- echoing figures on the population figures -- but (unlike humans, and San Francisco in particular) the bubbles seamlessly shift and adjust to accommodate new additions. This piece, as well as All These Darlings and Now Us play with the ideas of ownership and space -- and how water creates new possibilities for both.

Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Catherine McElhone
  • Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Catherine McElhone

Juxtaposing this idea of water as an safe house is Amy Balkin's A People's Archive of Sinking and Melting. A People's Archive is a group that has created an extensive collection of objects from parts of the globe most affected by the changing climate. The pieces exhibited are poignant in their ordinariness. Balkin's mission is simple: to form a catalog of everyday items from regions that -- in extreme circumstances -- face the danger of becoming obsolete.

Like Balkin, artist Marie Lorenz found a great deal of meaning in found objects. Her project, Drift Boat, took place during Lorenz's two-week residency with Southern Exposure, when she explored the bay in a handmade boat. And a deceptive little boat it was. At first glance it seems like a standard issue rowboat, but upon closer inspection viewers will notice that each wood piece is totally different than the rest -- and each chosen according to its uncommon shape. The boat's entire form is molded and adjusted around these irregularities. This idea of non-uniform pieces dictating construction guides Lorenz's installation. The boat will be on display alongside an eclectic assortment of found objects such as trash, debris, and sticks from San Francisco water -- woven into rope sculptures.

Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Marie Lorenz
  • Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Marie Lorenz

Also on view are mixed-media items by Chris Sollars. In Sollars' off-location piece, Water Shed, Sollars' crew and his audiences physically retraced hidden waterways in this city that at first doesn't really seem like it has any. For his gallery installation, he has produced a series of videos -- ranging anywhere from a minute and a half to fifteen minutes in length -- that document six different creeks that pass through San Francisco. Three of the creeks Sollars used in in interactive creek walks (Islais Creek, Mission Creek, and Yosemite Creek) are represented by three barnacle-covered traffic cones -- an example of nature and city intersecting. On view by the side of these cones are the Creek Walk crew member's life vests, rowboat, measuring rope, and the watershed that served as sleeping quarters, fishing station, and bar to the crew.

Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Catherine McElhone
  • Courtesy of Southern Exposure and Catherine McElhone

Southern Exposure presents Off Shore, on view through July 3 at Southern Exposure (3030 20th St.). Admission is free; call 863-2141 or visit soex.org for more information.

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

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Laura Jaye Cramer

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