Nurturing and promoting artists is one of the many noble objectives of the art and entertainment organization, GenArt. Producing over one hundred events annually to foster emerging talent in visual art, film, music, and fashion, GenArt provides up-and-coming artists an outlet to exhibit their work at critically acclaimed venues. The Emerge Show in San Francisco, in their ninth year of exhibition, is a yearly event focusing on the realm of visual art from emerging Bay Area artists. This year, it was held at the Warfield building in San Francisco, and included an array of art forms from painting and sculpture to intricately done installations. The Warfield building, with its old, Victorian apartment-type feel, was an original place to highlight some of the finest emerging visual artists in the Bay Area. Reminiscent of viewing art in your own living room, it brings forth a refreshing, unpretentious feel that first-time gallery visitors and art critics alike will find to be an inviting and innovative experience.
I was impressed with many of the pieces I viewed while roaming the large multi-level gallery space. One of my most memorable was work by Seth Armstrong. His work consisted of oil paintings done in black and white, as well as some vivid and very life-like color schemes. They all evoked the feeling of photographic images and were beautifully rendered to reflect movement and human emotion. My favorite piece by him was one called Lady with “Boom,” which is an oil painting of a woman wearing an ethereal white dress sitting on a chair in a blandly colored dark room. Magnetic, brightly colored graffiti looms in the background spelling out the word “boom” outside her window. The intensely colored graffiti makes for an interesting contrast to the dark interior. The dichotomy of the gloomy inside to the intense and vivid colors of the outside world evokes thought and contemplation by the viewer. It’s hard to figure out whether the focal point is the woman with her face covered in darkness, or the vivid graffiti-covered building, yet perhaps that is what makes this piece so interesting. The focal point lies wherever your eyes take you, from the elaborately painted ruffles in her dress to the white letter “M” in the word “Boom.” The end result looks almost like a believable photographic with its lifelike shading and tender expression on the unknown woman’s face.
Another artist that I was very intrigued by was Argentinean artist Lucrecia Troncoso. Her work consisted of commonly discarded everyday objects such as paper towels, orange peels, and sponges transformed into whimsical and lovely objects. Her work also included small-scale shoes innovatively made from orange peels entitled, One Size Fits All, and a skillfully done miniature purse to match titled, One Size Fits All #3. They evoke memories of childhood and transform the viewer into another reality where garbage becomes fanciful works of art. Her cellulose sponges carved into green vines and orange flowers transformed something ordinary into something extraordinary, unusual, and beautiful.
I was extremely inspired by a piece named Oil Spill, which consisted of paper towels and paraffin wax converted into a forest of miniature white trees. The black foreground and dark room with small lights created a glowing, beautiful forest of baby trees complete with flowers. It transported me into an imaginary folktale similar to the likes of Never Never Land and Narnia. They reminded me of cherry blossoms in Japan and my childhood all in a second’s glance. Who knew paper towels and wax could evoke such sentiment and become something stunningly gorgeous?
Other emerging artists to watch out for are Alexis Amann, who did a number of acrylic gauche on paper paintings, featuring a childlike world of creatures and animals in vivid colors and interesting layers and shapes. Kimetha Vanderveen’s works are all small-scale monotypes on paper using a miniature press. The small abstract works of art done in schemes of grey, black, and white are reminiscent of architecture, different atmospheres, and landscapes. Appearing simply “done,” they leave much to contemplate and envision. Her work is a stimulating change to many of the overly intense and brilliantly colored pieces in the show that leave less to the imagination.
All in all, I was quite impressed with the work shown at the Emerge show and the depth of the show itself. It encompassed a wide range of art forms and beautifully done pieces that seem not only museum-friendly, but also home-friendly. I hope GenArt continues to foster the growth of brilliant emerging artists. I’m excited to see the continued work and success of new artists in the Bay Area.
Photo: art by Kimetha Vanderveen