Susan Parker, “Recent Paintings.”
Ronald Chase, “New Painting.”
June 1 – July 20, 2013
Don Soker Gallery
80 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA
By John Held, Jr.
Slowly but surely and steadily, gallerist Don Soker has been creeping up on the title of “grand-old man” of the San Francisco gallery scene. He began his career with a gallery on Upper Grant in North Beach in 1971. After fifteen years he moved to 871 Folsom, a space he shared with venerable institutions Crown Point Press and 871 Fine Arts (both currently located in the Crown Point Press building at Howard and Hawthorne). After the 1989 earthquake, it was off to 251 Post for seven years and thence to 49 Geary for twelve. In 2009, he moved to his present location at 80 Sutter Street, a huge ground floor no nonsense space capable of housing large-scale paintings and sculpture. The rough-hewn concrete laden space is perfect for hosting minimalistic works, complementing the gallery’s sparse interior. A specialist in Japanese Art (he was a lender to the SFAI Gutai exhibition earlier this year), the space fittingly suits Soker’s temperament and tastes.
The current show ably reflects the gallery’s minimalist atmospheric conditions. Susan Parker’s works are based on a life spent on the water. Literally. She and her husband live on a San Francisco houseboat, and these works reflect rippling conditions daily observed. Each painting is built over time, layer by layer of acrylic paint, applied in such a way as to accumulate varying textures. It’s the type of work commenced with no foreknowledge of final result. It becomes what it is, much like changing weather conditions have on the shimmering and shifting surfaces of the Bay.
Associated with Don Soker for over twenty years, with three solo shows, Parker’s latest work, as quoted in the gallery’s press release, continues to “embody ideas that interest me: the land, water, the effects of light and shadow in response to the changing angle of light, organic form, and common directional patterns found in nature. My working process involves intuitive and formal decision, revision, and applying innumerable layers of translucent color to achieve a degree of luminosity. I try to make paintings that have a strong overall physical presence and convey a sense of intimacy and discovery upon closer viewing.”
Seventy-eight year old educator Ronald Chase, celebrates sixty years as an artist with this exhibition. For many years his paintings have been based on grid structures mutated by material and configuration over the years. The past decade has brought many of these diverse ideas into focus, and he now concentrates singularly on the decay of formal structures. Either on canvas or paper, within each square of the grid there is sameness and discrepancy, destruction and birth.
Sameness and discrepancy describe the two artists in the current show. Both have found comfortable structures providing a wealth of possibilities upon which to elaborate. The thinking stops and the process begins. With the tough choices of structure eliminated, intuition allows meditation providing ample space for discovery.
Chase is the subject of a short but descriptive film on his life and painting history. It’s very will put together, much in the spirit of KQED Spark profiles. It was shot earlier this year. A former dancer, currently educator of young people, Chase is eloquent in a straightforward and honest way. I’ve witnessed his opening reception gallery talk and this video, and I am impressed with the easy manner he equates the pitfalls and meaningful moments of a life in art.
Susan Parker is also represented in a group show at SFMOMA Artists Gallery at Fort Mason, entitled, “Lure: Bay Area Artists Explore the Sea,” running from June 15-August 15 with a reception Saturday, June 15th from 1-3 pm.
For more information visit here.