Opening Saturday, October 26th at Steven Wolf Fine Art, San Francisco is “The Swimmer,” a solo exhibition by Chris Sollars. In the fall of 2011 Chris Sollars bottled a puddle in the mission and headed west on his bike for the Pacific. There, he emptied the jar and refilled it with water from the open sea. Back in the Mission, he closed the circle by draining the jar back in the puddle. The ceremonial gesture resulted in the neo-conceptual video Pacific/Puddle/Pedal, and led to “The Swimmer”, a new body of work where city and sea dissolve into a psychogeographic haze.
“The Swimmer” features photos, videos, and sculptures that intertwine street and sea through endurance actions and the transformation of objects. In a large-scale environmental drawing, Sollars traverses the coast of San Francisco, dragging behind a pointed staff that literally draws a line in the sand. In another epic work, he revisits John Cheever’s short story The Swimmer, navigating his way across the city through pools and fountains in a Speedo. Echoing the tradition of Venetian grotto furniture, Sollars created a waterfront studio in the Bayview and repurposed a series of barnacle-encrusted objects pulled in from the bay for use back in town.
Sollars has always made urban space the focus of his work. In 1996, he consciously moved his studio practice into the street to have a more direct and immediate interaction with a public audience. He has huddled by the curb disguised as a bag of garbage, made out with public sculptures, and publicly washed trash. He once used a soccer ball like a sonar probe to explore the geography of downtown, kicking down streets and alleys with reckless aplomb. Now, knee-deep in bay mud, he is interrogating a city that is being developed by the second, and ticking away like an ecological time bomb.
For more information on “The Swimmer” visit Steven Wolf Fine Art, San Francisco.