San Francisco Bay Area

Millennial Abstractions, curated by Patricia Watts

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

cfcc502033163d0af0b78e1d6777e1b9“Abstractions are seductive and evocative and invite contemplation and reverie. In the liminal space of an abstract work of art, our perceptions are free flowing and transitional. We know the world is changing and growing rapidly, with seven billion people and counting. How we respond to these changes and cope with them can be supported by art that makes room for our deepest cultural and personal concerns.” Patricia Watts

In 2011, I began researching artists who were doing abstract paintings, mainly in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. It was my suspicion that what might be happening with this new vibrant and energetic work was a response to extreme weather events or climate change, if not explicitly, subliminally. I wasn’t sure if my hunch was right, but eventually found a few artists painting fragmented landscapes that evoke our most pressing environmental issues. Of course, the outcome was a much broader representation for an exhibition titled Millennial Abstractions including 22 artists and over 90 paintings (a few sculpture) presented at the Marin Community Foundation in Hamilton Field, Novato, California (Feb. 15 – May, 31, 2013).


Artists such as Marie Thiebault, Samantha Fields, Gina Stepaniuk, and Judith Belzer (from top to bottom, left to right, above) each have been very outspoken about how our changing climate influences their work. And, each has captured the intensity and dynamism of the flux we find ourselves in–working through whose to blame, whose responsible, and how can we hold on to what we have before it becomes indistinguishable. For example, Thiebault with her series on the devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; Fields will her blurred windshields with pounding weather events; Stepaniuk with her satellite perspective of a fragmented planet; and Belzer with her topographical lands eroding off in the distance.

Although not all the artists in the show felt that their works were identifiably related to events of the new millenia–9/11, the Iraq War, or climate change–they are each a part of what appears to be a revival in painting that hasn’t been seen since the 1980s.

Artists from Los Angeles and the Bay Area included: Kim Anno, Judith Belzer, Val Britton, Chris Duncan, Samantha Fields, Sherie Franssen, Justine Frishmann, Benicia Gantner, Christopher Kuhn, David McDonald, Yvette Molina, Ali Smith, April Street, Julia Schwartz, Blandine Saint-Oyant, Gina Stepaniuk, Sylvia Tidwell, Catherine Tirr, Marie Thibeault, Cassandra Tondro, Ruth Trotter, and Adam Wolpert.

ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

Powered by WPeMatico

Kathryn Spence: short sharp notes, rolling or churring whistles, clear phrases » Mills College Art Museum

KATHRYN SPENCE Untitled (Western Screech Owls), 2009 Coats, pants, stuffed animals, sand, string, thread, wire, pins

The exhibition Kathryn Spence: short sharp notes, rolling or churring whistles, clear phrases will feature new work by the San Francisco Bay Area artist. Spence’s sculptural objects are inspired by birds and the natural world but are composed from the discarded materials of the human world.

Accumulated bits of fabric, thread, paper, and cardboard take on species-specific characteristics and inhabit space as they might in the wild.

KATHRYN SPENCE Untitled (Coyotes), 2009 Sweaters, shirts, towels, stuffed animals, wood, pins, colored paper

Her work demonstrates an uncanny ability to capture the essence of animals without masking her found materials, applying a naturalist’s methods to urban detritus. Spence’s objects emulate the living animals and other items and elements she observes in nature, and explore the disparity between the culture of the artificial and the existence of the untamed natural world that surrounds us. Spence’s works on paper take on sculptural qualities as well, often lying on bases instead of hanging on the wall and incorporating some of the same materials found in her sculpture. Her exhibition at the Mills College Art Museum will include a combination of new two-dimensional and three-dimensional works.

Kathryn Spence received her MFA from Mills College in 1993. She lives and works in San Francisco, California. Kathryn Spence: short sharp notes, rolling or churring whistles, clear phrases is curated by Stephanie Hanor.

via Current Exhibitions » Mills College Art Museum.

Bay Area is Fertile Ground for Sprouting Green Theaters

Reprinted from SF Performing Arts Examiner: “East Bay Theatre Goes Green” by Dyane Hendricks, October 3, 2009 Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley was certified on September 29 by the Alameda County Green Business and the Bay Area Green Business programs as the first certified “green” professional residential theater company in the San Francisco Bay Area. Aurora Theatre Company Technical Director and Production Coordinator Chris Killion, spearheaded the company’s efforts to go green, Aurora made the decision to go green because “the staff and administration felt it was the right thing to do. There were also systems in place, like the Bay Area Green Business Association, that enabled us and helped us meet that goal.” Other certified green performing art centers in the Bay Area include the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek and Lincoln Theater in Yountville. Both venues play host to a variety of performances and companies throughout the year. In San Francisco, Eth-No-Tec is a green-certified business, but does not have a regular theater performance venue. Aurora Theatre Company is a green-certified business that also has a resident theater. In order to meet qualifications to be green-certified, Aurora Theatre Company set up in-house recycling and composting. The company also began utilizing paper that contained as much post-consumer content as possible, changed all cleaning products used in the facility to biodegradable, less harmful green cleaners and soaps, installed restrictions of water flow on all faucets, and reduced gallons per flush in restrooms. All facility lighting meets Title 24 standards and all exit signs are now LED lights; there is a time-of-use meter on Aurora’s electrical service. Certified green materials were also used in the construction of the company’s recently-opened Nell and Jules Dashow wing. As a result of Aurora’s greening efforts, the company has significantly reduced its carbon footprint and is generating significantly less trash. Additionally, Aurora’s decision to go green provides an opportunity for audiences visiting the theater to participate in being environmentally friendly. Aurora Theatre Company continues its 18th season in October with Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig, and will stage The Coverlettes Christmas in December, The First Grade in conjunction with the GAP new works festival in January, and John Gabriel Borkman in April. Closing the season in June is the Bay Area premiere of the comedy Speech & Debate. For more information about Aurora Theatre Company or for tickets call 510. 843.4822 or visit


Go to the Green Theater Initiative

San Francisco Bay Area Exhibitions and Happenings

There’s been a buzz of eco-art activity out here in the SF Bay Area that I’ve been meaning to shout-out, Matt Merkel-Hess-style. It’s good work, and yes. Here we go.

First off: the amazing ladies at ecoartspace put together an inaugural exhibit for Art at the Cheese Factory, Terrior: A sense of place. Curated by Patricia Watts, the exhibit includes photos, paintings, installations and performances by a breathtaking array of environmental artists. That’s Emily Payne above installing in a lake. Yes. The exhibit continues until June 21st for those of you in the Marin area. Check out the website for a nice cranial buzz.

In San Francisco, New Langton Arts just opened an exhibition from Pae White called In Between the Outside-In. The central piece is a trapezoidal greenhouse/room framing a video screen. The projected image is a series of curling lines and unfolding patterns based on three-dimensional scans of an oak tree, a wild raspberry bush, and a manzanita grove. Those guys were all outside of Nevada City in California. White’s all about blurring the lines between site and non-site, I hear. The exhibit is up until the 18th of July.

Lastly: the Brower Center just opened. It’s a new center for environmental action with its own exhibition space in Berkeley, CA. Currently they’re running a series of photos by Sebastiao Salgado entitled Then and Now. They are big and black and white and stunning. They are people in environments. Upstairs in the space is an exhibit about activist David Brower, the building’s namesake: it’s what’s Sam Bower has been spending most of his time on these days.

Go to the Green Museum