Fine Arts

April 2, 2014

Life is art for these four college alumni
Former students offer an exciting look at  contemporary art
By Chandra Smith

“Beyond the Gate” ceramic, wire, and resin, by Evan Hobart.

“Beyond the Gate” ceramic, wire, and resin, by Evan Hobart.

The Gallery: Right on time. The art show known as “spring” is happening, and students can get a new perspective and free their minds at no cost, right here on campus.

A group of four artists, all previous students at College of Marin, and at different points in their respective careers, are exhibiting their work at the new art gallery in the Fine Arts Building.

Gallery director Chris West points out how each of these mediums, and the pieces they are in, intersect with each other. Himself a drawing instructor at COM, he uses the gallery as a classroom. In it, he works at orienting his students toward the hybridity of each piece of art. There is a synesthesia to it all.

“The commonality of the four artists is that their work challenges what it means for a painting to be a painting, a drawing to be a drawing, and a sculpture to be a sculpture,” West says. Walking around the gallery, it is easy to join that conversation.

Mary Hunstman: Huntsman’s sculptural work, against the white backdrop of the gallery wall, takes on the look of three-dimensional drawings. Her piece “Duet,” rendered from rebar, is a study in lines, relationships, and loneliness.

Her metal sculptures in the light and white of the gallery are elegant and deep. They are studies in color and texture, like living, breathing charcoal drawings. An award-winning artist, Huntsman holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from UC Berkeley, and it shows in her work.

“I try to choose a combination of material and method that will express my ideas which in recent years have concentrated on sanctuary, strength, fragility, and journeys,” Huntsman says.

“Duet,” rebar, by Mary Huntsman.

“Duet,” rebar, by Mary Huntsman.

Barbara Obata: Obata let’s you participate in a contemplative, interactive drawing exercise. Students and gallery attendants can become a part of the show, blurring the lines between artist and consumer.

Obata’s contribution to the show is arguably the most conceptual. About Obata’s work, West explains, “We wanted again to challenge what it means for something to be art. The work itself becomes an accumulation of participation, and really starts to push the boundaries of ‘where does she end and the participator begin?’”

From COM, Obata went on to earn degrees from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, and Mills College in Oakland, where she was granted an MFA. Her work is a hybrid of drawing and experimentation in the present moment, and her integrated approach often includes the “viewer.”

Obata says, “I find drawing is a gratifying way to roll around on the rind of the world – like the ecstasy of a dog rolling in something good and smelly,” and she wants you to join her.

She took something that is essentially performance, and as the artist, she herself curated it into a drawing exhibition of your work, so you better get down there.

DSC_0981

Evan Hobart: Hobart is hugely concerned with the unsustainability of modern life, and brings that concern into his sculptures. Through biomorphic art pieces, he combines his love of nature and his experience of living in large metropolitan areas into a careful sculptural observation of our society’s follies.

Hobart grew up in West Marin and received his Bachelor of Arts from Humboldt State.

“I draw inspiration for my artwork from the surrounding environment and from a desire to create narrative, thought-provoking works . . . Consumerism, capitalism, corporate greed, global climate change . . . are some of the topics that populate my artwork,” says Hobart.

His pieces are heavy, figuratively and literally, and bring up the question of how we relate to our day to day behavior as humans, and how it affects our planet.

“All That We Create is All That We Destroy,” ceramic, by Evan Hobart.

“All That We Create is All That We Destroy,” ceramic, by Evan Hobart.

Malena Lopez-Maggi: Lopez-Maggi is currently working towards her advanced degree in art at Mills College, where she was granted her bachelor’s degree in Studio Arts.

West points out the meditative qualities that Lopez-Maggi’s works have, and looking at them, one can hear the reflective praises they sing to that pesky human condition.

“Malina’s work is trying to challenge the notion of a photograph. When does it become a reflection?” Explains West. She uses a worshipful palette of colors, and means it to be a metaphor for the essence of life. It’s her language, and it’s clearly heard when you view her art.

“My work and life are guided by curiosity and a love of learning. To me, art is a vehicle for exploring a multiplicity of interests. I am most intrigued by the intersection of art with other disciplines, especially science,” Lopez-Maggi has said.

“36 Instances of Seeing the Light,” 10 archival inkjet prints, by Malena Lopez-Maggi.

“36 Instances of Seeing the Light,” 10 archival inkjet prints, by Malena Lopez-Maggi.

Be a part of it: When you go, take the time to appreciate each piece. “How do we begin to see drawing in a sculpture, where do we find notions of authorship in a drawing, or sculpture in a photograph?” West would have students ask themselves.

While writing is art, writing about art is like dancing about architecture, so please. Go to the gallery. Experience these works for yourself, and experienced you will be.

The exhibit runs through April 11, and is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


October 28, 2013

Diebenkorn gallery opening
By Shirley Beaman

The brand new College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery opened in grand style recently. The world premier exhibit of “The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949-1992,” showcases the early work of the world-renowned American painter and master artist, Richard Diebenkorn.

“College of Marin is extremely fortunate to host the world premiere of this exhibit,” said David Wain Coon, president of the college. “The exhibit is the highlight of the college’s Fall 2013 fine arts curriculum, allowing students and community members the opportunity to study up close the development of an internationally acclaimed artist.”

Opening night of the seven-week exhibit was kicked off on Monday, September 30. The black tie event drew at least 150 people, according to Gallery Assistant Victoria Maxon, who attended the festivities.

Live music, wine and hors d’oeuvres added to the ambiance of the opening night. The late artist’s wife, Phyllis Diebenkorn, was a special guest. Maxon noted that Mrs. Diebenkorn was pleased with the exhibit.

The Diebenkorn exhibit is a brand new collection of the artist’s early works, featuring 38 pieces of his work that have never been seen by the public. Of the 40 pieces on display, each was hand-selected by Chester Arnold, chair of the Fine Arts Department and curator of the exhibit.

“These works have a special importance to anyone studying art,” said Arnold. “They are small, remarkable and beautiful sketches. They reveal so much about his personality and the works that were being born in his studio. Each period of his work, Ocean Park, Berkeley, Healdsburg–all had highlights along the way and you can see them happening.  It is an exhilarating study depicting the development of an artist.”

One need not travel to the Guggenheim, SFMOMA, or the DeYoung museums to see this American Master’s work. Now through November 14, College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery has its very own exclusive exhibit of this intimate glimpse into the artistic process of an American Master and Winner of the 1991 National Medal of Arts.

Diebenkorn’s art exhibit program featured an untitled piece, circa 1957 – 1963.

September 20, 2013

Petaluma artists featured at Emeritus Center
By Chelsea Dederick

G.S. Rose, a paint & textiles Giclee print by Muriel Sutcher Knapp. Her paintings display the most saturated colors, depicting still life, abstract portraits, and conceptual images.

G.S. Rose, a paint & textiles Giclee print by Muriel Sutcher Knapp. Her paintings display the most saturated colors, depicting still life, abstract portraits, and conceptual images.

The Emeritus Center inside COM’s Student Services building hides a well-known secret. Tucked away inside room 146, out of the way from the usual hustle and bustle of the cafeteria dining area, is a treasure trove of artistic expression. This gallery has always been the place to see fascinating works of art by many diverse artists and painters, and the current exhibition, “Petaluma Artists Come to Marin,” is no exception. Until September 26, works by local artists Medley McClary and Muriel Sutcher Knapp will be featured.

Medley McClary, the daughter of a diplomat, loved pen-and-ink book illustrations as a child. Perhaps it was the skill and detail within that medium which inspired much of her portrait work, created using only pencil. McClary also has a history of creating leather clothing, jewelry, and sculptures. Her other works inside the Emeritus Center are created using oil on canvas. The two kinds of mediums contrast yet compliment each other well — There are warm, dream-like paintings of fields and faraway figures, next to the black and white, intimate pencil portraits. All show the artists’ ability to convey emotions through color and expression.

“When I draw a portrait, I search for that particular look or gesture that will give me a glimpse into the subject’s personality and which expresses their unique beauty and grace,” McClary states on her website. After 21 years of experience in pencil portraits, she’s clearly mastered that ability.

McClary’s pencil portraits display her ability to capture her subjects’ unique personality. She has been creating these kinds of drawings for 21 years now.

McClary’s pencil portraits display her ability to capture her subjects’ unique personality. She has been creating these kinds of drawings for 21 years now.

Muriel Sutcher Knapp’s paintings are the more colorful and textured of the two collections. They include the use of silk screen, felt, silk dyes, paint and textiles. Knapp’s portraits feature an abstract cast of characters as well as still life and conceptual paintings.

As a child she took art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. After graduating high school she attended the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, where she received her BFA degree in Industrial Design. Despite her art background, Knapp struggled as a female artist in a prejudiced commercial art world, and she ended up teaching for 21 years.

Now retired, Knapp is devoted to her work full-time. An accomplished artist, her work has been shown in San Francisco, Marin, Minneapolis, MN, Healdsburg, Petaluma Art Center, Sebastopol Art Center and the Pelican Gallery in Petaluma. Her involvement with the art world doesn’t stop with her personal work. She is also a founding member of the Petaluma Arts Council, and a member of the Sebastopol Center of the Arts as well as the Petaluma Arts Association, where she was chair person of the program committee for seven years.

The world of painting is summed up well in a quote by French artist Marc Chagall, words that McClary lives by: “Art must be an expression of love, or it is nothing.” The works displayed inside the Emeritus Center are a testament to the love and craft that both artists have dedicated their lives to pursuing.

“The Ocean That Separates Us,” by McClary.

“The Ocean That Separates Us,” by McClary.

“Portrait of a  Friend,”   by Muriel Sutcher Knapp.

“Portrait of a Friend,” by Muriel Sutcher Knapp.

September 20, 2013

Diebenkorn featured in intimate setting
Premiere of one of America’s greatest artists at the new Fine Arts Gallery
By David Lessin

World-renowned artist Richard Diebenkorn was a leading figurative painter in his time.

World-renowned artist Richard Diebenkorn was a leading figurative painter in his time.

The brand new College of Marin Fine Arts Gallery is set to open on Monday, September 30. The first show in the new Fine Arts Gallery will feature the world premiere of a new exhibit, The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949–1992.

This exhibit showcases the early work and evolution of world-renowned American painter and master artist Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1992). The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 10AM to 5PM and Thursdays until 8PM. This show runs through November 14 in the new Fine Arts Gallery in the Performing Arts building, located next to the box office and off the main lobby.

“College of Marin is extremely fortunate to host the world premier of this exhibit,” said Dr. David Wain Coon, superintendent/president of the College of Marin. “The exhibit will be the highlight of the college’s Fall 2013 fine arts curriculum allowing students and community members the opportunity to study up close the development of an internationally acclaimed artist. ”

Diebenkorn, artist, educator and UCLA professor, spent much of his life in California and each period of his work, the Ocean Park period, the Berkeley period and the Healdsburg period is heavily influenced by his California environs. Diebenkorn received the National Medal of Arts in 1991 and his work can be seen in some of the most prestigious museums in the world, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, the DeYoung Museum and SFMOMA.

Diebenkorn’s work was influenced by Abstract Expressionism and the Bay Area Figurative Movement and his best-known works are his Ocean Park paintings–which brought him worldwide recognition. His work from The Berkeley Years is now on display at the DeYoung Museum through September 29, but this new College of Marin exhibit offers a rare and intimate glimpse into his evolution as an artist.

The Intimate Diebenkorn: Works on Paper 1949–1992 is a brand new collection of the artist’s early works and features 38 pieces that have never been seen by the public. Each of the 40 pieces on display were hand selected by College of Marin’s own Chester Arnold, artist, painting instructor and the chair of the Fine Arts Department.

Arnold personally searched through hundreds of drawings, sketches and paintings at the Diebenkorn Foundation archives in Berkeley and selected these unseen works to encourage students in their own development as artists.

The exhibit features Diebenkorn’s work from 1949-1992 including pencil and ink drawings on paper, collages of torn paper and watercolors.

“These works have a special import to anyone studying art,” Arnold said. “They are small sketches, remarkable and beautiful. They reveal so much about his personality and the works that were being born in his studio. Each period of his work Ocean Park, Berkeley, Healdsburg — all had highlights along the way and you can see them happening. It is an exhilarating study depicting the development of an artist.”

“The virtuosity is stunning,” said Bart Schneider, publisher of several recent books on Diebenkorn. “some of what did he do with a single line… It is so much craft and instinct developed over a career.”

Richard Grant, Diebenkorn’s son-in-law and the executive director of the Diebenkorn Foundation offers his perspective of the College of Marin exhibit, “These are not the big blockbuster pieces or the very familiar and popular works. These show the artist’s technique.”

Chris West, the director of the new College of Marin Fine Arts gallery, drawing instructor and artist describes the College of Marin exhibit as “pulling back the curtain on a developing master. It provides an intimacy that will empower students.” West continues, “Here you have this paragon of the art world and you get to see the process. He’s using the same materials that our beginning students use. He’s using pen and ink. He’s using graphite. He’s using newsprint. In some ways it demystifies it. It becomes clear.”

Some of the works, in this exclusive College of Marin exhibit, show Diebenkorn re-using whatever materials he could get his hands on, such as the backs of old advertising posters for Penzzoil motor oil and Mother’s cookies.

This Diebenkorn exhibit is a must see right here on campus. It is open to the public and free of charge. Stop by between classes and be inspired by these private and intimate glimpses into the artistic processes of Richard Diebenkorn, the evolution of an American master. Never has the College of Marin hosted the works of such acclaimed and world-renowned painter—do not miss it.

This premiere exhibit runs from Monday September 30 through Thursday November 14, 2013. The Fine Arts Gallery is located on the College of Marin campus in the Performing Arts Building, adjacent to the Box Office and off the main lobby.

The gallery will be open Monday through Friday, 10AM to 5PM with special evening hours on Thursdays until 8PM. Everyone is welcome.

“Untitled (Spade),” left c. 1981 Gouache on paper 12 7/8 x 12 1/2 in. (32.7 x 31.8 cm)

“Untitled (Spade)”
c. 1981
Gouache on paper
12 7/8 x 12 1/2 in. (32.7 x 31.8 cm)

May 13, 2013

‘Private Road Paintings’ continues through June 28
By Jasmin Demil

Anna Ladyzhenskaya’s female figures are reminiscent of Gustav Klimt and the Austrian versions of Art Nouveau.

Anna Ladyzhenskaya’s female figures are reminiscent of Gustav Klimt and the Austrian versions of Art Nouveau.

Emeritus Students was created in 1974 at College of Marin for older adults. ES was selected as a national model by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The Emeritus  program at College of Marin offers  unique program designed to meet the needs of Marin County’s lifelong learners who already may have earned their degrees and who may be transitioning—or have already transitioned—into  retirement.

Beside offering programs and classes, members of the Senior Emeritus at COM also have special events four times a year. A perfect example for such an event is the “Private  Road  Paintings” exhibit by Anna Ladyzhenskaya.

Len Pullan, the chair of Emeritus College of Marin ( ESCOM) organized the event.

Internationally known artist Anna Ladyzhenskaya was born in Moldova, in   the former Soviet Union. She completed art school there, earning her credentials in both the practice and teaching of Art, before going on to get her Master’s degree in Architecture.

With over 30 years of experience in the art field, Anna works with all forms of media, from oils and pastels, to watercolor and colored pencils, to create works that are just as diverse as the materials she uses, ranging in areas of focus from landscape, to still life and portrait.

She is a resident and active member of the Bay Area art community. The work of internationally known artist Anna Ladyzhenskaya  is  on display from April 1 through June 30, with a public reception that was a full success according to Len Pullan.

The reception held place on April 24, and the music was delivered by guitar player Joao de Oliveira, who played his music quietly in the background. Anna and Len together created the transition from large colorful paintings to more clusters of landscapes.

Pullan said that when you enter the Emeritus Gallery, Anna’s self-portrait greets you, her head tilted towards her latest work of realism, classic portraits, and female figures reminiscent of Gustav Klimt and the Austrian versions of Art Nouveau.

“Spring”  and “Typhon,” two of the larger paintings in this highly decorative mythology series, contrast with clusters of smaller plain air oils of the live oaks of Atherton, with its idyllic fields of quiet contemplation and muted color.

Len said, “It helps to soften the transition between the various styles. The series of pictures ends with three pictures of bowls of fruit, recalling life in Moldova where Anna grew up.”

Len said that if you missed the reception on April 24, she still urges you to see this stunning show, open Monday through Friday until June 28.

One of the larger paintings features Typhon, who was described in Greek mythology as the largest and most fearsome of all creatures.

One of the larger paintings features Typhon, who was described in Greek mythology as the largest and most fearsome of all creatures.

Ladyzhenskaya’s work ranges from small muted pieces to brighter, large decorative paintings.

Ladyzhenskaya’s work ranges from small muted pieces to brighter, large decorative paintings.

April 16, 2014

Bolinas showcases creative, colorful murals
By Nicholas Bischoff

Many different styles of art can be found along Bolinas’ seawalls.

Many different styles of art can be found along Bolinas’ seawalls.

In unincorporated West Marin County, undetected by most travelers on Highway 1, one of Marin’s most lively public art canvases thrives. A stretch of unmarked road along a lagoon’s edge leads you to the town of Bolinas. ‘Entering socially acknowledged nature loving town’ is the only sign to greet you.  This socially aware, nature-loving town also happens to be an art-loving town where creativity can’t just be contained to picture frames and galleries. The creative spirit spills out on to the town streets, local businesses and on to the beach. Many paintings can be found along Bolinas Beach where opinions about the paintings vary just as much as the styles of paintings that cover the walls.

Murals give voice to ordinary people and can strengthen community pride and values. They are seen as a democratic form of art that reflects historical events, visions for the future, or even expresses personal experience. Susan Cervantes, of Precita Eyes Mural Arts of San Francisco,  explains on the Precita Eye’s website, “A mural is a bridge to the community. The artists communicate with the people; meetings are held to discuss the issues. The result is a reflection – a mirror of that community.”  This form of communication can have a big impact on the local community, and can beautify a neighborhood or start a dialogue on local issues.

The Bay Area is full of murals, including famous and historic pieces done by Diego Rivera and Coit Tower’s interior murals, to the more contemporary colorful work the Mission’s Balmy Alley, murals have brought life to Bay Area streets. Traditionally Mural spaces around the Bay Area are usually commissioned works or they must go through an approval process before you are allowed to paint. Bolinas’ walls allow for total freedom of expression allowing anyone to paint with no permission required. Today, having a free space to paint is hard to find, and the Bolinas mural walls reflect the openness of the Bolinas community.

Bolinas is a town with a rich history and it played an important role in building San Francisco. With West Marin’s abundance of trees, the lumber industry boomed with many mills just north of Bolinas in Dogtown. Schooners would carry the lumber from Bolinas to San Francisco supplying much of the city’s lumber. Bolinas also played a vital role in the transportation of dairy and meat that came from West Marin to San Francisco.  Over time as the automobile gained popularity and lumber could be shipped from other locations, the town’s economy shifted. Bolinas was transformed from a lumber town into a small rural beach side community and  eventually became a counter culture hub. Today it continues to be a unique creative community inspired by its beautiful natural settings.

A mural depicting a feathered serpent adorns a seawall along one of Bolinas’ beaches.

A mural depicting a feathered serpent adorns a seawall along one of Bolinas’ beaches.

Because of the town’s location right on the Pacific Ocean the Bolinas community has built seawalls to keep sand and structures intact. The earliest seawalls date back to the late 1800s but have been rebuilt because of wear over the years. Some of the older seawalls are wooden and some of the more recent walls are made of cement. These wooden and cement surfaces have created a one of a kind canvas for an ever changing public art wall, making it freely available to the entire Bolinas community and even those outside the community.

The beginnings of the paintings on the sea walls are not documented and, depending on whom you talk to, the origins of these murals can vary a lot. It is known that the first painting on the walls were focused on an area to the right of the Brighton Avenue beach entrance known as the Green Wall. Today the Green Wall is reserved for local’s work.

Front and center on the Green Wall are the words ‘Local Respect.’ These words take center stage on the walls but also seem to represent the philosophy behind this unique canvas. Respect is a key word repeated by locals about the murals. Most don’t have issues about them painting the walls. Some describe them as beautiful and adding to the community. Others say esthetically it’s not their style but don’t mind the work as long as they are respectful of the beach and community. Respect is the name of the game.

Not everyone is in agreement that people painting on the walls are respecting the community. Elia Haworth of the Bolinas Museum recognizes the importance of self-expression but she wonders why people come out to this beautiful natural setting to create their art by spraying toxic fumes into the air. She says it’s as not healthy for the individuals doing the work, people walking by or for the environment. She suspects that most of the spray painters are not locals. Ebba, from Berkeley likes the paintings, but sees it as disrespectful to tag the natural setting around the walls.

Some don’t respect the paintings as art and describe the work as “graffiti,” using it as a perjorative term for writing and imagery they believe don’t belong. Juliet, of Bobolicous Smoothie Lounge, described the work as graffiti but with a positive connotation, saying that graffiti is a form of art. She says she enjoys the paintings, pointing out a greeting card of an artists work on the wall that she sells in her shop. In recent years this form of art has gone from an underground sub-culture to becoming a respected form of art that has made it into galleries, museums, and private collections. Graffiti-style advertisements are featured in magazines, billboards, and store fronts, while famous street artist pieces are so sought over they have been cut out of buildings and sold in action houses. Graffiti and street art are seen as controversial art forms by most but it’s gaining respect outside of the underground scene.

One local artist, Schehera Van Dyk, is a strong believer in public space and public art. Van Dyk tries to bring beauty and color to the wall. Doing her first piece around 25 years ago, and many others since then, she has seen mural pieces come and go. She likes that the wall is ever changing. She loves the process of painting, saying, “Art is living… it’s not dead, it can continue to mature and develop a life of its own.” She sees the paintings on the walls as a positive and adds color and creativity to walls that can sometimes be over powered by simple bland tags. As long as the people painting do it with integrity and respect Van Dyk is open to people’s work knowing that nothing on the walls are permanent and will always change.

Even a simple phrase can stand out and make big statements. “Everything is Temporary,” stands out, bold in white over a red paint-tinted wall where past messages have washed out over time. Just as the ebb and flow of the tides change the environment around the town, pieces come and go leaving a lively conversation of local and international talent. Just as this was once an important resource transportation hub, time and culture has transformed this spot into a ‘socially acknowledged nature-loving town’ that has a very unique and creative identity and a free public canvas to express one’s self.

Bolinas mural pieces meld into natural settings.

Bolinas mural pieces meld into natural settings.

The juxtaposition of the public canvases and the natural setting don’t seem invasive, but appear as natural as the environment surrounding the town. Weathered over the years, the walls meld into its surroundings. From sculpture carved in natural sandstone to urban style ‘Wildbombs’, the array of style and creativity seems to be an extension of this social and ecologically conscious community. With its natural setting, the constant drone of breaking surf, and wild life mixed with beachgoers and surfers, this mix of nature and culture seems as natural as the towering hills surrounding the small community of Bolinas.

February 25, 2013

Student art show opens in San Rafael
Show attracts crowd of colorful characters
 By Nash Kurilko

Artist and COM student Ross Friedrich prices some of his art prior to the opening, February 1st.

Artist and COM student Ross Friedrich prices some of his art prior to the opening, February 1st.

College of Marin student artist Ross Friedrich is having his first solo art show at Backyard Boogie, a custom clothing store located at 1609 Fourth Street, San Rafael. Co-owner Nathan Bohart, 31, said he was happy to host him.

“We do art shows every one-to-two months, local artists usually, or at least [from] the Bay Area,” said Bohart. “We’ve been open for just under two years.” Bohart co-owns the store with his business partner Hayes Walsh, 29.

The show has been advertised by various taped-posters around the COM Kentfield campus that featured the date and location of the show, as well as an original hand-drawing by the artist. A keg of Lagunitas IPA was procured for the  February 1 evening opening. Mostly friends, family and acquaintances of the artist trickled in. They filled their cups and perused the art.

Josh Appleman, 23, is a COM student who takes several art classes with the featured artist. He often does projects with Friedrich and as such was personally invited to the show. “I’m very excited. Watching the whole creative process of [the art] and now seeing it shown, it’s been a long while,” he said while inspecting an upwards-angle painting of a tall Redwood tree. “It’s pretty good.”

“His natural pieces are very much more oriented towards the Redwoods, and I like that,” said Matthew Steinbrecher, 21, an economics major at CSU Northridge. “It brings a good Marin vibe.” He called it the art of Marin, “because a lot of people don’t get to see Marin. And especially seeing art of Redwoods, it’s a beautiful thing.”

Jacob Jensen, 19, is a cook at Woodlands Cafe and a full-time COM  student. He Studies sociology, human sexuality, Japanese and statistics.

Amongst Jensen’s favorite pieces were the drip paintings, which are  created by carefully and slowly pouring, or dripping, different colored paints on top of one another in a layering process. The canvas or surface can then be gently tilted in any direction, which causes the layers of color to slide and swirl into each other. Said Jensen, “I don’t know exactly what his motive is, but I can say it’s very trippy… and sexual.” He concluded the interview by saying he wouldn’t mind getting some of the art painted onto his car.

Nicole Askeland, 25, self-described “administrative assistant” at a film company and a film student, said of the same drip paintings, “I’ve seen work by other drip artists, but at the same time [Friedrich’s] is not derivative. I actually own one of his first drip pieces, and the way it devolves into circles is really interesting to watch.”

Friedrich, 21, described himself as a “working artist, studying art.” He was in good spirits that night. “The show’s a Watership Down [watershed] moment for me. …I haven’t read it, but I know about the rabbits.”  A short time later he clarified  by saying, “I’m feeling like it’s a stepping stone for my life. Hopefully, it’ll be one show after another after this.”

He describes Backyard Boogie as an ideal location. “Backyard Boogie is a great place. It’s a great place to buy T-shirts, I think they have good taste and I always enjoy the art there.” He said he would definitely put his art in most places, not all, and mostly depending on whether or not the “cut was too high.”

Money is a key issue. Friedrich does not see himself putting art up at any of the regional festivals, such as Sausalito or the Folsom Street fair. “I can’t afford to do any of that horsesh*t because just to buy a booth you need a couple grand.”

Later on into the night attendance swelled to upwards of 50 people. The keg was depleted by 11:25. The vibe was very casual, and a large party crowd formed up on the sidewalk outside Boogie. The crowd subsequently drew in more attendees.

COM Drama student Josh Attias, 21, was particularly enthused about the art. “You know, I really like it. It’s very interesting, I can really see into his perspective and point of view of how he views the world, in terms of what kind of art pieces he’s chosen, and the things he’s chosen to show on display, his blend of colors, the color choices he’s using, and I like how the theme, in my opinion, my theme is circles, I’ve chosen for him, see, because it all comes back to the circle of life,” said Attias, a theater student at COM. “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Kiran Wood, 19, is an “ex-Peet’s Coffee and Tea barista, a pimp, player, a certified Doja king,  man-about-town and just an all-around nice person.” He gave a shout out to Young Keen, the TFD Crew and various Git Nastee affiliates. Wood hails from Corte Madera. The ex-barista said he found the art on display that night very planetary.

“Know what I’m saying? Most of the art I’ve seen tonight kind of makes me think about the solar system and the universe. He has like that titty picture one. The titty picture is pretty dope, because he has all that other stuff up. Like the planets,” he said. They remind him of the universe, “and all that other good sh*t.”

Over the night, Friedrich’s art was reviewed as spiritual, naturalistic, abstract, psychedelic and even thematically transcendental, such as the before-quoted “circle of life”. Friedrich sold ten pieces that night. “I’m stoked that I sold ten, really. But I’m definitely looking for exposure,” he said, underlining that money was not the primary concern in his first solo show. “No matter who buys the piece, it’s going in their living room and they’ll talk about it, about the artist, and the people who are interested will look me up. You know?”

Backyard Boogie is open Monday to Saturday, 11am to 7pm, open late on event nights. Sunday hours are 12am to 6pm. Boogie can be found via use of Google. Friedrich’s art show is running until February 28.

A painting of a thick Redwood tree from the ground-up.

A painting of a thick Redwood tree from the ground-up.

February 1, 2013

The faces of our lives
“Making Faces” exhibiting at COM
By Kyle Dang

Kathleen Lack’s Making Faces portrait has set the name and the tone for her entire exhibition.  It depicts three stilt-walkers at the Marin Arts festival painting their faces in preparation for their performance.

Kathleen Lack’s Making Faces portrait has set the name and the tone for her entire exhibition. It depicts three stilt-walkers at the Marin Arts festival painting their faces in preparation for their performance.

Entitled “Making Faces”, a solo art exhibition has been on display at the College of Marin Emeritus Club since January 3, 2013.  The artist, College of Marin alumni Kathleen Lack, was welcomed by the club in a reception on Thursday the evening of January 24.  Lack greeted guests, and once she had a sufficient crowd, gave a brief description of a few of her paintings and what they meant to her.  Her audience consisted mainly of Emeritus Club members, and a few students drawn in by the large, handwritten “Art Show” sign outside the Emeritus Club room.

Len Pullan, chair of the Emeritus Club art exhibits, is allegedly responsible for Lack’s solo exhibition at the College.  “Len saw my first painting over there and really liked it, which was great.  He’s worked with me to build this show and he’s just been great,” said Lack.

“I was going in to the atrium at the Marin General Hospital, down near Bon Air Road. And what do you know but there’s an art show.  I remember looking at her [Lack’s] work and thinking it was really good.  That she was moving somewhere new. It was definitely intriguing, and they [the paintings] make you think,” said Pullan.  It was then that Pullan contacted Lack and began working with her to organize her COM exhibit.

The main piece of the exhibit is a painting entitled “Making Faces”.  A portrait in oil, it depicts three stilt-walkers as they apply makeup during the Marin Arts Festival. Lack, a student at COM for over seven years, said, “Most of my training was through this school, even though I pursued a classical degree at San Jose University. I took seven years [of art classes] at the Indian Valley Campus.”  On her life as an artist and a mother, Lack said, “There wasn’t really any time for me to be an artist when I was raising my kids.  I mean, I would draw or paint sometimes but I never studied it seriously.  Not until they were nearly all gone.  Now I paint or I teach painting or I draw, it’s all a big part of my life now.”

Providing music for the event was Lack’s granddaughter Elia Sovereign.  Playing the harp, 12 year-old Sovereign kept the mood of the show quiet and introspective, and closed out the evening with a quick recital that ended in boisterous applause.  Sovereign has been playing the harp since the fourth grade, and the piano for two more years before that.  Young Elia is the continuation of a strong artistic tradition in Lack’s family.

Mother to four children, and grandmother to seven, Lack’s oldest daughter Laura was present at the exhibit.

“This exhibit is great, a lot of the paintings are of my daughter or my son.  Elia seems like shes having fun.” Laura went on to say that while she was growing up her Mother didn’t paint much, but that now shes surrounded by it.  “My sister is a painter as well, and she paints big pictures, so I’m surrounded by art.”

In addition to her professional painting career, Lack also pursues a career in art instruction.  She teaches a class in oil portraiture at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Making Faces art exhibit is open to the public until March 28.  It is located in the College of Marin Emeritus center in the student services building.

Many of Lack’s paintings are snapshots of her life as a Mother and a Grandmother.  In this portrait, three of Lack’s seven grandchildren play.

Many of Lack’s paintings are snapshots of her life as a Mother and a Grandmother. In this portrait, three of Lack’s seven grandchildren play.

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