Thursday, December 17, 2009

Emigre at G16 in SF Chronicle

Don't miss: 'Emigre at Gallery 16'

Mary Eisenhart for SF Chronicle

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When Rudy VanderLans and Zuzana Licko launched Emigre, it was one of the first independent type foundries to take advantage of the Macintosh. Catching the creativity wave that ensued, the Berkeley house became a global leader in the design field, particularly with its self-titled magazine. This exhibition celebrates Emigre's 25th anniversary and the publication of a retrospective collection from the magazine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kenneth Baker reviews Tucker Nichols!

Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle Sat Nov. 21

Can art be as easy as Tucker Nichols makes it look?

Maybe, in his hands. But bear in mind when you see his enjoyable show at Gallery 16 how much he benefits by historical circumstances not made by him and not evident in the exhibition.

A long line of self-effacing, even self-abasing art gestures stretches from early Dada days through Fluxus to the contemporary prizing of the slight and ephemeral above the grand statement and heroic artistic ego. Nichols finds himself working close to the spearhead of this progression.

When he uses found stones and a salvaged wooden stool to produce a counterpart to Constantin Brancusi's "The Kiss," of which Brancusi (1876-1957) made many versions, Nichols banks on an audience well informed enough to get the joke and the quotients of homage and apology in it. He could not anticipate such reception had not reproductions of Brancusi's work flooded the world long before.

Perhaps Nichols had the 2000 Sol LeWitt retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in mind when he devised the very limited edition wallpaper showing at Gallery 16 for the first time.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) famously produced wallpaper blazoned with life-size fuchsia cows' heads on a mustard yellow ground. But Nichols' wallpaper - immensely magnified hand-brushed blue verticals, with drips, on a white ground - responds more directly to LeWitt's wall drawings.

LeWitt (1928-2007) took abstract drawing up to the scale of Jackson Pollock's paintings by doing it directly on the wall. But LeWitt deliberately downplayed touch and delegated to others the execution of most of his drawings.

Nichols' wallpaper magnifies his touch, which does not make it expressionistic, yet somehow produces an elevated feeling in the viewer. It is almost as if Nichols had unconsciously recollected Matisse's art at its most consoling through the screen of LeWitt's wall drawings.

The wallpaper offers the feeling of moving impossibly close to the relaxed caprices of the hand that Nichols' small paintings, drawings and inscriptions display.

Friday, October 30, 2009


November 6 - December 11, 2009

Opening reception on Friday November 6

from 6 - 9pm

We are really excited to present our second solo exhibition of artist Tucker Nichols. Tucker will be presenting new drawings, sculpture, text pieces, and his first line of experimental wallpaper.

"We each find our own strategies to cope with the growing deluge of information--I use drawing as a filter. This is the stuff that gets through, vague representations of items on display: buildings and found text and rocks and the like. It's therapeutic to picture a world where these are the things we leave behind."

San Francisco Chronicle critic Kenneth Baker wrote, "Nichols has made himself into a necessary visual poet of our tension-ridden moment."

San Francisco Examiner writer Tiffany Maleshefski wrote, "Simple, childlike, Nichols’ brand of drawing is the kind that causes critics of modern art to loathe the genre even more."

His work has been featured at the Drawing Center and John Connelly Presents in New York, and Rocket Gallery in Tokyo. His drawings have been published in McSweeney's, J&L Books, The Thing, and the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times. He was recently commissioned by the de Young Museum in San Francisco to be its first roving artist-in-residence.

Tucker is the creator of the Anonymous Postcard

Friday, October 16, 2009

PBS Documentary on Rex Ray

Please join us Friday evening, October 23rd, 6:30-9PM for a very special screening of the new PBS Documentary "How To Make A Rex Ray." The first screening will be at 7PM, and the second at 8PM.

No other contemporary artist has mastered the handcrafted aesthetic of fine art while pushing the limits of graphic design as Rex Ray. This celebrated artist takes us on a tour, from his hometown in Colorado Springs to his glorious live/work studio space in San Francisco, showing us the magic of his artistic process and everyday practice.

Whether he’s creating a painting or donating a graphic design for a Smart Car, Rex Ray is continually reinventing a language that speaks in both worlds of art and computer graphics. Cutting, pasting, gluing, painting, collaging, installing—not since The Mystery of Picasso has a documentary captured the grace and handiwork of an artist as casual and sophisticated as Rex Ray.

Raised in Colorado Springs, Rex Ray moved to San Francisco in 1981. He established himself as a premier graphic designer in the US with groundbreaking work on book covers, CD packages, and rock and roll posters. His work has been featured at SF MoMA, Gotham in London, University Art Museum at Berkeley, The Crocker Museum in Sacramento, Gallery 16 in San Francisco. His first major solo museum exhibition opened in 2009 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver.

Colorado Public Television - KBDI PBS presents "REX RAY: How To Make a Rex Ray." Producer/Director Joshua V. Hassel with Videographer/Editor Adam Reynolds /Acentric Video; Music Matmos, courtesy of Matador Records.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


On behalf of Tommy Guerrero, Marc Capelle, Griff Williams and the SF Food Bank, we would like to THANK EVERYONE for helping us realize the first quarterly music series inSan Francisco, designed to support some of our favorite local non-profits and their amazing work. Your attendance, energy
and enthusiasm made for a very special and fun evening!

Thanks to your very generous support and donations, the SOUL/FOOD! Music Spectacular, featuring live performances from Tommy Guerrero, Marc & The Casuals, Ron Silva & The Monarchs, and Special Guests, successfully raised 3K for the San Francisco Food Bank.

Very special thanks to all the incredible musicians and disc jockey Chas Gaudi; Stephen Parr of Oddball Film+Video for the rare film treasures; Owsley Brown + Josh Metz of the Magnanimus Wine Group and Bryan Whalen + Steve Nilsen of Pabst Blue Ribbon for their generous donations, and to all the Volunteers who helped make this event possible.

We are looking forward to round two, so stay tuned

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Tommy Guerrero, Marc Capelle and Griff Williams started kicking around the idea of creating a new quarterly music series in San Francisco, that would raise money for some of our favorite local charities. The result of these beer/brainstorming sessions is SOUL/FOOD! The first will be a Soul/R&B Music Spectacular featuring live performances from Tommy Guerrero, Marc & The Casuals, Ron Silva & The Monarchs, and Special Guests. The proceeds going to the San Francisco Food Bank.

Disk Jockey Chas Gaudi spinning 45s. We've also enlisted the help of Stephen Parr of Oddball films who will screen a treasure trove of rare 16mm films of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and many more. A special thank you to Mendocino Farms for helping making this event possible.

Friday, October 2, 2009 from 7-11pm. $10 donation at the door. Gallery 16, 501 Third St 415 626 7495.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jim Carroll August 1, 1950 – September 11, 2009

"When I say I "fucked up," what I mean is that I'm sitting here watching the NBA All-Star Game on TV and I'm watching guys I used to seriously abuse on the court scoring in double figures now against the best in the game. Ergo, I fucked it up. I should have stayed an athlete, body well-tuned, cruising around with my accountant in a Porsche, maroon and chrome. More important, with basketball there's always only one direction: to the cylinder on the fiberglass rectangle. And you don't have to aim. If you do, you're off.

Poetry has too many variations. Mr. Frost was right about one thing: there are always promises to keep, and variations on that theme. With basketball you can correct your own mistakes, immediately and beautifully, in midair.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oropallo Book Signing and Print Release

Please join Gallery 16 to celebrate the release of three new editions
by Deborah Oropallo as well as the release of Deborah's new book entitled POMP, published by Gallery 16 Editions. We will host a special release party and book signing with the artist on Thursday evening, September 24th from 6-8PM.

POMP is a survey of Oropallo's last two bodies of work. It includes the acclaimedGuise series of prints published by Gallery 16 Editions and premiered at the DeYoung Museum in 2007 as well as the most recent series, Wild Wild West.POMP contains 64 pages of beautiful color reproductions of Deborah's work along with an essay by Nick Stone and an interview with the artist. Nick Stone will also be in attendance for the book signing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

REX RAY at Gallery 16

Rex Ray at Gallery 16

September 11-October 31, 2009

Opening reception for the artist September 11 from 6-9 pm.

Gallery 16 is pleased to present its sixth solo exhibition with San Francisco luminary Rex Ray. As a fine artist, Rex Ray works in a wide range of media, including painting, collage, print and photography. His dynamic and immediately recognizable collages grew out of the simple pleasure of cutting shapes from magazine pages. His work has grown into an increasingly complex process involving printmaking, painting and collage in an inspired adaptation of twentieth-century Modernism.

Cydney Payton, former director of Denver's MCA, describes Ray’s work: "It exudes beauty with a subversive edge that stems from an attitude grounded in alternative subculture. He was an early admirer of punk and new wave music. Music holds a special place in his life. He has worked with leading contemporary musicians, contributing designs for many album covers and concert posters for artists such as Radiohead, Björk, Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie. Drawing inspiration from his acknowledged influences— organic and hard-edged abstraction, pattern and textile design, and Op Art—Ray playfully combines these formalist concepts, gracefully bridging the gap between fine and applied art..."

A new PBS documentary about the artist "How To Make A Rex Ray" will be premiered at Gallery 16 during the exhibition.

Rex Ray was born in Germany in 1956. He lives and works in San Francisco’s Mission District. His paintings, collages, and designs have been widely exhibited at galleries and museums internationally.

For additional information, please contact Vanessa at Gallery 16, 415.626.7495 or email

Monday, July 13, 2009

Deborah Oropallo's new book!

Gallery 16 has just finished production on a new book by Deborah Oropallo entitled "POMP". The book is a survey of Oropallo's last two bodies of work. It includes the acclaimed Guise series of prints published by Gallery 16 Editions and premiered at the DeYoung Museum in 2007. POMP contains 64 pages of beautiful color reproduction of Deborah's work along with essay by Nick Stone and an interview with the artist. To purchase copies of the book contact Gallery 16 415 626 7495 or

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bill by Bill Berkson and Colter Jacobsen

Review by
Jason Morris


BILL, a seemingly effortless collaboration between Bill Berkson and Colter Jacobsen, is profoundly strange each time you open it. Immediately it struck me as something that had resurfaced: its cover—a beaten-up manilla folder with the word "BILL" written casually and matter-of-factly in Sharpie, also bears a gorgeous and subtle drawing of an astronaut, or maybe a sailor. Some figure with a space helmet or a diving bell on, prepared to rediscover a lost place.

As both Berkson and Jacobsen explain in their afterwords, BILL was, in fact, lost for a long while. Sometime around 1980, Tom Veitch gave Berkson a young-adult detective novel called Bill, from which he then worked much of the dry, crackling language in the book Gallery 16 just released in a beautiful hardcover edition. For twenty some-odd years, the manuscript had just mellowed in a drawer. Colter writes, in his afterword, that Bill Berkson sent him the manuscript "out of the blue," after their mutual friend Mac McGinnes (to whom BILL is dedicated) suggested that Colter provide artwork to accompany the words.

Similarities between Jacobsen's artwork and Berkson's lines shift and resurface, too, as though the images had long ago accompanied the text; the pairings seem like they'd been lost, only now to be magically realigned. However the book coolly resists allowing the two elements—the verbal and the visual—to ever entirely cohere. The images float above the lines, inviting a correspondence that's consistently fresh with interference. Which is what makes the book so pleasantly weird each time you go through it. It's a mystery novel for kids that's been chopped up and lost, a book that's resurfaced bearing its erasures whole.

Jacobsen's artwork is taken, as he writes in his afterword, from a couple of collections of old postcards he then rendered, gorgeously, in graphite. The translation, from faded black and white photos to subtly realized pencil drawings, not only retains the old ghostliness of the originals, but also suggests that the earasures and blank spaces of the drawings are proper to the postcards themselves. Gorgeously detailed but mutely refusing to yield context, they're like elegant analog recordings of 78s, with all the tape hiss and ambient noise intact.

Initially, Jacobsen's work will amaze you with its sheer technical capacity. The drawings are assured and solid, somehow both meticulous and off-hand. When you look at them closely, a number of Colter's fascinations come through, too: symmetry and the pairing of twinned things, plus a casually sophisticated variation on composition (check out all the W's).

Bill Berkson's writing often takes its cues from artwork, so it's interesting to see the reverse, where drawings illuminate his words. In crisp, droll language unscrolling at the bottom of each page, we watch a hidden story take place. Doubly hidden, in a way, insofar as we're reading fragments of a detective story. It's sort of like a Hardy Boys installment guest-authored by Beckett. The good humor abides, clipped and terse, and the darker elements suggest a little nastiness to the Secret of the Old Mill or the Short-Wave Mystery. Pieces of language float up to the bottom of the page as if through a dream, buoyed by an outmoded familiarity: "Bill was feeling his biceps. 'Tomorrow we're going to have a life-and-death struggle!"' Below a drawing of trapeeze swingers extended out into the empty space of the page in a kind of V, the line, "Of course there were some risks involved, but a detective must take risks. If he didn't want to do that, he might just as well run a hot-dog stand." There's a musicality to a lot of the lines that's probably impossible for a poet as masterful as Bill Berkson to hide: "the door fell with a dull thud." Berkson's poetry fires its synapses just beneath the stock language of a kid's detective book, creating a disjointed narrative of surprise.

This is a gorgeous book—a beautiful, slim hardback replete with sophisticated graphite drawings and mysterious blips of otherworldly language. It emerges with its lost and found aura to take its place beside Ashbery and Brainard's Vermont Notebook and Brainard's collaboration with Kenward Elmslie, The Champ, among others. BILL is a nonchalant triumph, a fresh classic.

Monday, June 1, 2009

More Alice Shaw in the News

Artist as Subject, Curator, and Author
by Michelle Y. Hyun for ArtSlant

Gallery 16
501 3rd St., San Francisco, CA 94107
May 21, 2009 - June 27, 2009

Artist-curated exhibitions are a particularly interesting site of information and disinformation about the artist. Alice Shaw creates a prescribed path of viewing around the gallery in a trajectory that begins with what at first may appear to be a very self-indulgent series of work. It begins with a self-portrait, shot in a style similar to her previous identity-based work, and moves on to non-photographic work and documents created by others. Auto Portrait (2003) is followed by an exhibition statement, handwritten by the artist, hung in a diptych with a graphological (handwriting) analysis telling Shaw about her character and personality based on the lines, dots, and space in her writing. Consequently, these documents are followed by a handmade worksheet, Cursive Practice (2009), complete with dotted blue guidelines in which Shaw doesn’t quite fit the entire alphabet on one page.

The rest of the show follows in a humorous, associative manner, relying on wordplay and relating visual cues, making for a brief but fun exploration of Shaw’s conceived “autobiography.” A mysterious psychic reading appears to have been created on a typewriter and then redacted with black marker. This is followed by an astro-location reading, assessing the location of planets passing over the earth on the day of the Shaw’s birth and complete with suggestions by the astro-locationer of where Shaw would be most happy living. Following a list of disparate locations such as Hawaii, Sante Fe, Israel, and the western coasts of India and Australia, a diptych of Sea (2009) and Desert (2009) ties together the bisecting horizons of a blue ocean and brown desert in cyanotype and van dyke brown prints, respectively. Similarly, a block print palm reading filled with scrawled notes is followed by another diptych of “palm prints” of palm tree fronds in cyanotype and van dyke brown. To complete her series of call and response works, Shaw asked a synesthete to tell her what color he/she saw when hearing her name, “Alice.” The response to which is displayed in Colorfield #1 (2009), an 18 x 14 inch canvas painted over in dark gumball pink. Logically, or so thought in the artist’s mind, Colorfield #1 meets the Guessing Game (2009), a corner in which a gumball machine on a pedestal invites viewers to insert a penny and try to guess the color of their gumball before turning the knob. Although this author’s penny got stuck, one might hope that any or all the gumballs would come out pink – despite the rainbow variety seemingly possible inside the glass globe.

The next sequence of works appears to be a jocular pondering by the artist on her role as feminist or maybe just a female. Again, drawing upon puns and associations with femininity, Shaw shows us Colorfield #2 (a candid photo of the artist in a bright pink dress), Face Print of My Colors (2008) in makeup on paper, almost monochrome polaroids of the four seasons, a $10,000 envelope sealed with a kiss, Lacquer Painting (2009) made entirely with fingernail polish, and a photo of grocery store aisle sign listing off “Hosiery, Feminine Needs, Facial Tissue, Shampoo, Hair Care, Stationary, Magazines” in Feminine Needs (1997/2009).

The exploratory journey takes an interesting leap from here, though relating back to the colorfields, gumball machine, and monochrome prints. In A Portrait of the Artist at Work – 18% Grey, Shaw reminds us that she is a photographer. As only the third self-portrait in this autobiographical show, the artist is seen standing in a corner. In the photo, Shaw points at the intersection of two walls, one painted white and the other in 18% grey – a standard reference value against which photo light meters are calibrated. This is then followed by a sequence of “rainbows,” spray painted in black and white, depicted in as a water color palette, and then in makeup palettes staged along with q-tips and brushes on a wooden chair.

After rounding this second corner, (Auto)Biography leans again in the direction of the occult and mysticism. Premonition (2009) appears to be a rubbing of a headstone for “Alice Shaw,” which is then followed by an interesting group of works on three mini-shelves. The remnants of a tea leaf reading and a cigarette butt in a ceramic teacup on one shelf are flanked by two “daguerrotypes.” The Artist as Medium is an actual daguerrotype self-portrait, and Daguerrotype is an archival pigment print self-portrait. In both photos, Shaw wears a costume, of a gypsy and 19th century gentlewoman respectively, and both photos are presented preciously in book frames. One could spend several minutes creating multiple narratives about these two women and a tea leaf reading.

What follows thereafter seems to trail off and away from the artist as subject. Another series of diptychs play on words, media, and the word “medium.” Viewers who expected a truly autobiographical exhibition or deep insight into the artist may feel disappointed. Nevertheless, Shaw allays such concerns and wins us over with her light-hearted humor in a final sequence of works that seem to say “to be continued…” In What My Show Probably Should Have Looked Like (2009), Shaw depicts in graphite and collage the exact same corner of gallery space hung with two large “commercial fine art photographs.” Shaw then predicts the future in a crystal ball showing herself standing next to a shiny white truck parked in front of a stately white mansion in Prediction (2009). Her methods are never the stuff of magic tricks, as the crystal ball is simply just a photograph resting in between a glass ball and a red velveteen beanbag. Fittingly, (Auto)Biography concludes with six drawings from the Magic Tricks series, each of which reference Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.” See Alice cut into three parts. See Alice in a mirror floating in midair. See Alice watch Mr. Rabbit disappear with a poof. See Mr. Rabbit reappear from the magic hat.

There is not any real conclusion when it comes to Alice Shaw’s (Auto)biography. Nor does the viewer come away with any better understanding of Shaw as a person. However, as an artist, Shaw has revealed a thought process, meandering through personal and universal associations, visual symbols, and the use of verbal puns, in a playful and interesting way. Shaw may have yet more to reveal through a post-medium practice, yet still as a photographer.

- Michelle Y. Hyun


Installation View
Show Statement, 2009, 8.5 x 11 inches
Handwriting Analysis, 2009, 8.5 x 11 inches

Installation View
Palm Reading, 2009, block printing ink on paper, 8.5 x 7
Palm Print – Cyanotype / Palm Print-Van Dyke, 2009, Spray paint on paper, 22 x 15 inches

Installation View
Color Field #1, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 14 inches
Guessing Game, 2009, gumball machine and gumballs, 12 x 7 x 7 inches
Color Field #2, 2009, 1 of 3, archival pigment print in plexi, 4.5 x 7 inches

Alice Shaw, Prediction, 2009, archival pigment print, bean bag, and glass ball, 9 x 9 x 5 inches.

All images courtesy of Gallery 16, San Francisco

Posted by Michelle Y. Hyun on 5/31 | tags: figurative abstract lan

Friday, May 22, 2009

Alice Shaw in the news

Alice Shaw's new show (Auto) Biography was on the cover of the
SF Chronicles 96 Hours section on Thursday. Here is the story about
Alices project as it appeared.

'(Auto)Biography': The delicate art of identity

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Palm readers and makeup artists, style-hopping dilettantes and spiritual mediums - San Francisco artist Alice Shaw is interested in constructing an identity from the information these know-it-all strangers have to offer in her new show at Gallery 16, "(Auto)Biography."

She's hired a handwriting analyst to dissect her show statement and then commented on that analysis with a work of her own. She's gotten a makeover and then made an imprint of this painted face. And she's had her name taken apart by a synesthete before photographing herself in her moniker's hot pink hues. In the process, last week, the Mission District denizen appeared to be putting together the perfectly imperfect portrait of an artist as a skeptic - unwilling to settle on a medium or any one medium's intuitive/off-the-cuff interpretation.

"This is something I've had in my head for a long time," Shaw, 43, said. She was still putting together the pieces for the upcoming show. Works-in-progress were gathered on a small card table and settees around her Victorian parlor, which was also strewn with antiques and stuffed animals. "Showing with (gallery owner) Griff (Williams) at Gallery 16 is great because he gives you complete freedom - he doesn't know what I'm going to be doing at all! That's the best way."

Shaw appreciates this creative freedom. Coming from a family of artists - her father and mother are ceramicist Richard Shaw and painter-printmaker Martha Shaw, her grandfather was a Disney cartoonist, and her brother is singer-songwriter Virgil Shaw - she's a maker who has "dabbled in a lot of different things."

Wordplay and teasing out the real from the unreal are factors she's toying with, as well as ideas revolving around doubled or mirrored selves - notions that popped up in her book, "People Who Look Like Me," and her 2007 solo exhibit, "Alice Shaw: A Group Show," also at Gallery 16.

The San Francisco Art Institute instructor was also provoked by those complicated yet all-too-easy fabrications facilitated by digital media. "I think a lot about how digital photography has created this society of skeptics," Shaw observed, "because you look at things and think, 'Well, I don't know if that's been changed or not.' " But rather than bemoaning the switch, the artist is taking notes from digital media's fake-book, making, say, faux salt prints and punning on the form visually by depicting "positive" and "negative" salt shaker images. "Sometimes," she said with a chortle, "I take things way too literally."

Reception today. Through July 3. Gallery 16, 501 Third St., S.F. (415) 626-7495. - Kimberly Chun,

This article appeared on page F - 12 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Monday, May 18, 2009

Alice Shaw at G16

Opening Reception before Memorial Day Weekend.
MUSIC by Joel Murach

Gallery 16 is pleased to welcome back Alice Shaw for her third solo exhibition at the gallery.

Alice Shaw is back at G16 for her third solo show at the gallery! As anyone familiar with Alice's work can attest, she never disappoints.

In her upcoming exhibition entitled (Auto)biography, Alice Shaw has employed others, such as a handwriting analyst and a psychic, to tell her information about herself that she may not have been aware of. She has taken what she has learned from these sessions and made artwork in response to this new knowledge.

For this show, Shaw, primarily known as a photographer, has also used painting, printmaking, drawing, and other media to illustrate her responses. Shaw looks at the theory that 'digital photography is more closely akin to painting than traditional photographic techniques because of its malleability.' She also believes that the digital arts has created a 'society of skeptics.' Auto(biography) sets out to satisfy these skeptics, and suggests 'we should not always believe what we see.'

As many already know, G16 is in love the whole Shaw clan. Alice is the daughter of renown bay area sculptor Richard Shaw and brother to musician Virgil Shaw. If you don't own a copy of Virgil's "Still Falling", go buy it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baker vs. Killian

One of my favorite aspects of artmaking is the discourse that inevitably follows the artworks completion. Yes, I know that much of what gets created never makes so much as a ripple of critical attention. But, Bruno Fazzolari's recent show at Gallery 16 yielded two very different view points. The first was the noted SF Chronicle critic Kenneth Baker's review in the Saturday May 2 edition of the newspaper. The other was penned for SFMOMA's Open Space blog by Kevin Killian, noted playwright and novelist. While these two reviews are very different in intent and tone, it started me longing for more real-time battles of opinion in art criticism.

Here's to hoping for more art critical lucha libre!
The two reviews for your indulgence.

Kenneth Baker (courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle),

Fazzolari at 16: Bruno Fazzolari's paintings and drawings at Gallery 16 present connected problems that I do not encounter often. His work leaves me equally unsure of how seriously to take it and of how to take it seriously.

Consider the painting "Griefly Thurible" (2009). Should we regard it as unfinished or as effectively unbegun? The forms and gestures in it seem both rehearsed and relaxed to the point of abandonment from lassitude. What might count as allusions - to Philip Guston's late manner, for instance - never quite congeal.

Yet nearly every piece on view evokes volleys of inner disputation that conclude with manifest decisions unintelligible to anyone else. Only a symptomatic trail of ambivalence remains.

To learn that Fazzolari has adapted certain forms and marks from comics and other vernacular illustration only makes us wonder whether we have mistaken his report of a cultural condition for peculiarities of his own temperament.

Fazzolari has given his ongoing series of ink drawings the title "Six Realms." It echoes the Buddhist notion of the six realms of being into which karma may cause a soul to be reborn, but even the Buddhist spiritual vision takes on a comic-book bizarreness from the perspective of contemporary pop culture's cynical materialism.

Fazzolari's work exemplifies the surprising and not necessarily likable forms that sophistication takes in contemporary art.

Opening and Closing by Kevin Killian

Over the weekend I finally got over to Gallery 16 to see the last week of Bruno Fazzolari’s exhibition Cold Turkey, a selection of drawings broken up by six recent paintings. This is the last week you can see it, so get down there if you can. As you probably know, the Gallery is only a few blocks from SF MOMA, at Bryant and Third, and if you haven’t been there it is one of the pleasantest places I know with always plenty to see. This time around Fazzolari‘s show is a winner indeed.

The drawings come from a series called “Six Realms” on which the artist has been working for many years; apparently there are dozens of them. I took the traditional gallery walk, with a map in my hand of what I was seeing, and proceeded from left to right, an arrangement that usually adds no meaning, only the comfort of habit. This time around however, I convinced myself I was catching something happening in those drawings, that I was seeing them progress from simple gestures towards more complex renditions of the social world. From the self — even the self of the young child — to perhaps the loss of that self within the increasingly organized and globalized state. I looked again — made the circle one more time — and by George, I was so pleased with myself!

Nowhere did I manage to agree with even a single word of Kenneth Baker’s review — but wait. I can imagine a few of my readers don’t know who Baker is, but he is the highly respected art writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. He’s been at his post so long that when I first came to San Francisco and I was gullible, someone told me, and I believed it for a time, that he was the man they named the phrase “a baker’s dozen” after. (Boy did I feel like a fool when I told someone that, and they proved that the phrase was established in, I don’t know, the era of Chaucer!) Cold Turkey seems to have flickered simultaneous off and on switches in Ken Baker. Like Gerald Manley Hopkins or someone, Baker is nearly impossible to summarize, but you can read for yourself the review that made me so curious. The particular picture that gives KB so much trouble, “Griefly Thurible” (2009) is, for my money, utterly convincing and never brought late Guston to my mind, but to get there I would really have to have more art training I suppose. If the work in the show is guilty of too much “sophistication,” I, suspiciously, tend to embrace it.

What does the title mean? I asked Fazzolari. “Cold Turkey,” he explains, “is a phrase which has been on my mind for awhile–I like phrases which slip away from their literal referents, but double back on them. Several other reasons why: It refers back to my food work (which I don’t do anymore); to the free-fall of the economy; to the fact that it’s my first show in 8 years; to a state of naked awareness–bracing perception without crutches–before you recognize/decide what you’re seeing. Then I asked him if he had heard about the new movie coming out by the makers of Borat. It’s called Bruno, and I suggested it would give his name new currency. His face grew dark with fear, then he lightened up. “Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, with a name like Bruno was a challenge,” he laughed. “And just when I’d outgrown the taunts now here comes Sacha Baron Cohen to finish me off.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rex Ray at MCA Denver

A new video prepared by the MCA Denver of his
current solo show! Watch out for the upcoming
PBS Documentary about Rex's work!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Darren Waterston + Silversun Pickups

The new Silversun Pickups album "Swoon" features the prints from
Darren Waterston/Gallery16 Editions portfolio "The Flowering".
The Silversun Pickups are currently on tour.

Darren Waterston in SF Chronicle

Waterston's Big Artistic Gamble Pays off

Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The art public has accepted installation too uncritically as an open-form mode of invention. Masterly examples by artists such as Dan Flavin (1933-96), Joseph Beuys (1921-86), Jannis Kounellis and Barry Le Va have unintentionally paved the way for all sorts of slack, self-indulgent production by others.

So San Francisco painter Darren Waterston risked a lot when he set out to create at Stanford's Cantor Center his own version of a Victorian "mourning parlor."

In it, he daringly mingles his own paintings and watercolors with relics of the university and of its founding family. Any note of flippancy or false feeling might have poisoned the whole affair.

Extremes meet here: the Victorian obsession with remembrance of the dead, with its class-conditioned overt display of grief, and contemporary culture's instructions to "get over it" and indulge our instinctive wish to deny mortality.

When 15-year-old Leland Stanford Jr. died of typhoid fever in Florence, Italy, his parents embarked on an eight-month procession of mourning that made headlines and culminated in the founding of Stanford University in the boy's memory.

Of course, we continue to profess and feel sympathy for anyone whose children die, especially when they die young. But we regard as pathological the immersion in grief expected of privileged Victorians, particularly women.

Waterston does not take sides. He merely sets up the polarity of attitudes, challenging us to position ourselves within it, hence the aptness of the installation mode, which makes positioning an issue on one or more levels.

Some visitors may accuse Waterston of morbidity or disrespect for including the plaster death mask of young Leland. But the object paradoxically reanimates a representational literalism that to us seems artistically bankrupt. Perhaps postmodernism's ironic and embittered treatment of representation in art disguises unarticulated fears of its magic.

Waterston has designed his own woodblock-printed black-on-brown wallpaper, incorporating butterflies and an owl motif based on a taxidermied owl in the Stanford family collection. Like a spreading stain, some 3,000 synthetic black morphos butterflies adorn the ceiling above a circular padded bench.

Yielding to the cushioned bench's implicit invitation to sit and contemplate Leland Jr.'s exemplary death proves surprisingly hard to do.

Placing his own plainly anachronistic oil paintings in this environment must have given Waterston pause. For years, his paintings have evoked something of the strange unease that comes of recognizing oneself as a conscious organism. The setting of "Splendid Grief" heightens the paintings' reminiscence of the Victorian vogue for seances and belief in the individual's spirit as "ectoplasm" that might extrude itself from the body and even survive it.

Such notions lay closer to the historical origins of abstract painting in Europe than the Constructivist tradition acknowledges.

On an unpapered wall, Waterston has scattered family memorabilia, including contemporary and posthumous portraits of the deceased Leland Jr. He has interspersed these in the salon-style hanging with his own watercolors and ink drawings of motifs, invented and borrowed, evoking omens of death and dreams of its transcendence.

Waterston's Haines Gallery show in San Francisco contains new paintings and works on paper suffused with moods and aesthetic effects similar to those he orchestrates in "Splendid Grief." His mastery of fluid media is apparent in both shows, particularly in the haunting watercolors at Stanford and in grand paintings on panel at Haines, such as "Assumption" (2008).

We see too seldom the alignment of artistic difficulty with difficult issues and feelings that Waterston achieves in these concurrent shows. People who genuinely enter into them will not soon forget them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bruno Fazzolari Cold Turkey at Gallery 16

Gallery 16 is pleased to announce Cold Turkey, an exhibition of new work by Bruno Fazzolari.

Bruno Fazzolari's work reflects a keen interest in the uncanny, humorous and awkward features of vernacular and popular expression. His cross disciplinary practice has included sculpture, sound, performance and painting. Between 2004 and 2008 he produced Six Realms, a very large and diverse body of brush and ink drawings. The project explores and explodes the formal intersection of mark-making, gesture, abstraction and illusion through the conceits and tropes of comics, horror movies and graphic art. A selection of these drawings appeared in a book published by Feature, Inc. in 2007.

Cold Turkey will present a selection from Six Realms as well as several recent paintings.

He has shown with Feature, Inc., Gallery Paule Anglim, and Michael Kohn Gallery, and has been included in shows at the M.H. De Young Museum and the Katonah Museum of Art. His work has received attention in Artforum, Art in America, the New Yorker, Art Papers, the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. In 2001 he received a grant from the Art Council (now Artadia) in support of his studio practice.

He earned an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1996 after graduating from U.C. Berkeley's Comparative Literature department with a focus on critical studies, French and Ancient Greek.

For additional information please contact Vanessa Blaikie at 415.626.7495 or

Friday, March 20, 2009

Futurefarmers Victory Garden 2008+ in the news!

Marcia Tanner has written a synopsis of Futurefarmers Victory Garden project in the March issue of Art Ltd. The article can be viewed here:

The article about the project in TIME magazine can be viewed here:,9171,1826271,00.html

Amy Franceschini's book Victory Gardens 2007+ published by
Gallery 16 Editions can be purchased here:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Amy Franceschini's Futurefarmers at Contemporary Museum Baltimore!

Gallery 16 is pleased to announce Amy Franceschini's Futurefarmers solo show at the Contemporary Museum Baltimore March 26- August 2009. Congrats Amy!!

This Spring, the Contemporary Museum is proud to present Futurefarmers’ new project, The Reverse Ark: In the Wake, an exhibition that is part art installation, part community project, part learning platform developed around the concept of an “ark” as a site for preserving, exploring, and learning.

For the occasion of The Reverse Ark, the Contemporary will become stage for thought and action–a learning journey. An inventory of recycled materials will inhabit the gallery. Taken out of the waste stream, these limited resources will be the material from which a living laboratory will emerge – a vessel for inquiry and improvisation including workshops, lectures, video screenings and frameworks for reflection. Together we will build The Reverse Ark.

In the tradition of free schools, The Reverse Ark will invite us all to be students and teachers alike within a place of shared inquiry. Individuals must generate their own most vital questions and program their own education – an education that aims at generality rather than specialization.

With limited resources we will build together
We are all pupils
Let's dialate our senses and calibrate our knowledge
to be cast widely
awakening the tools of a public
The search and journey from peer to pier,
in the wake of history and the currents of future
discoveries we will ignite a learning curve
out to sea
come see!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Elliot Anderson "Equivalents"

"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."
Oscar Wilde

March will find a new body of work by Elliot Anderson at Gallery 16. “Equivalents.” is a new series of images that follows the direction set by Anderson’s “Averaged Landscapes,” shown at the deYoung Museum in 2007.

In this new work, Anderson questions the modernist notions set forth by Alfred Stieglitz in his seminal 1921 “Equivalents” series. By emphasizing abstract fields of light and clouds, Stieglitz evoked equivalents of subjective thoughts and emotions. Andy Grundberg said “The Equivalents" remain photography's most radical demonstration of faith in the existence of a reality behind and beyond that offered by the world of appearances.”

Anderson uses the Internet, the current repository for all digital snapshots, as his source material. “Inspired by Stieglitz’ work I began collecting snapshots of clouds and skies gathered from the web-searches on the Internet. Using software I designed I averaged together a selection of these images." Averaging is an algorithmic process that merges a series of images into one, creating a final image that is a composite of all those submitted to the software. Elliot's version of the Equivalents recast the meaning from the lone artists search for reality beyond appearances, to everyones search for it. His web searches use each anonymous photographers images to merge with the next creating a singular work from hundreds of sources. Anderson uses the formal subject of the sky, as Stieglitz did, but upsets the modernist vocabulary to grapple with the nature of Stieglitz's presumptions. By exploiting the increasingly communal aspects of technology, Anderson uses a modernist form to a conceptual end.

Another influence on this work is the aesthetic of the sky from Hudson River School paintings. The Hudson River School was a loosely affiliated group of 19th century painters who lived and worked in the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York. These artists were the first to truly represent the American Landscape. The vocabulary of their work included luminous and at time ominous skies through which they sought to evoke an emotional response to an idealized American wilderness.”

Rex Ray: I'm Done!

On the evening of February 12th, we held an opening to congratulate Rex Ray on his upcoming solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Visitors to Gallery 16 were treated to a special treat as Rex used the opportunity to complete paintings for the MCA in the gallery! Folks were able to witness the process Rex has developed to compose his unrelenting abstractions. He layers hand painted papers and cuts the biomorphic shapes freehand with an xacto blade. Most artists would balk at the idea of producing work in such a public setting, not Rex. He was relaxed conversational and gave the crowd a lesson in the power of saying yes! A video of the evening is below.

Rex Ray at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Curated by Cydney Payton

For Rex Ray, the joy of making and viewing art is his continuing motivation. Drawing inspiration from his acknowledged influences—the Arts and Crafts Movement, Abstract Expressionism, organic and hard-edged abstraction, pattern and textile design, and Op Art—Ray playfully combines these formalist concepts with decorators’ tips gleaned from lowbrow publications and sources of popular culture in his pursuit to create beautiful things. Gracefully bridging the gap between fine and applied art, he distinguishes himself in each realm.

As a fine artist, Rex Ray works in a wide range of media, including painting, collage, print works, and photography. His collages grew out of the simple pleasure of cutting shapes from magazine pages, assembling and gluing them to paper to create visually pleasing works that have since developed into sophisticated resin-covered panels. In his large-scale canvas paintings, like the one on view at MCA DENVER, he conceives abstracted landscapes from biomorphic shapes and distinct color combinations as a fresh adaptation of an aesthetic that sympathizes with twentieth-century Modernism.

Ray’s work exudes beauty with a subversive edge that stems from an attitude grounded in alternative subculture. He was an early admirer of punk and new wave music. Music holds a special place in his life. A former record store employee and devoted collector, he has worked with leading contemporary musicians, contributing designs for many album covers and concert posters for artists such as Radiohead, Björk, Nine Inch Nails, Deee-Lite, and David Bowie.

Rex Ray was born in Germany in 1956. He lives and works in San Francisco’s Mission District. Before moving to California in 1981, he was a longtime resident of Colorado Springs and he still maintains his connection to Colorado. In 1988, he received a BFA from San Francisco Art Institute, CA. His paintings, collages, and designs have been widely exhibited at galleries and museums, including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, San Jose Museum of Modern Art, CA, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA. He is an accomplished graphic designer with a client list that includes Apple, Sony Music, and The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rex Ray: It's finished when I'm done!

For anyone who has followed Rex Ray's career and has been curious as to how these inspired abstractions are created, come watch him do it!

Rex is preparing for a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which opens in March. He is currently in the studio finishing the artwork to be presented in the MCA show, including the largest painting of his career, an epic 9 x 25 foot canvas.

Gallery 16 has always been a place were artwork is not only exhibited, but created. Equal parts studio and gallery. So, in this spirit we asked Rex to finish the work for the MCA show at Gallery 16. We will host a very special event Thursday, February 12, 6-9 pm where guests will be able to enjoy music and cocktails and watch Rex work on the final stages of the 9x25 foot painting throughout the evening. Please RSVP to be part of this unique opportunity.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Presidential Inauguration

Griff and his oldest son Keelan (13) traveled to Washington D.C. to be part of the inauguration of President Obama. It was one of the first times Griff has been back in D.C. since his father, Pat Williams, retired from Congress. Despite the massive crowds, the mood was exhilarating, supportive and thankful to be witness to a historic moment.

The security lines began queuing up at 5 am in 27 degree temperature. Keelan is pictured outside the Rayburn House Office Building preparing for the 5 hour wait.

Darren Waterston's The Flowering

Gallery 16 is thrilled to present the culmination of a year's work. Since early 2007, Gallery 16 has worked with San Francisco artist Darren Waterston, to produce The Flowering (The Fourfold Sense), a portfolio of thirteen original prints by Waterston, with original texts by writer and literary critic Tyrus Miller. The beautiful compositions employ traditional and contemporary print forms including relief printing, letterpress and digital pigment printing, as well as hand coloring by the artist. The title of the portfolio, The Flowering, alludes to the Fioretti, (The Little Flowers), a medieval anthology of stories about Saint Francis of Assisi and his followers, which emphasizes the fantastic, the miraculous, and the sensational aspects of the saint's life. The portfolio of prints and letterpress broadsides by Tyrus Miller feature vividly sensuous descriptions of Franciscan ordeals and miraculous cures.

In addition to the portfolio, five new original prints are presented. Each print is 40.5" x 28.5" and published in a signed and numbered edition of 20.

Waterston's paintings, watercolors and murals have been exhibited internationally and are included in many permanent collections, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the UCLA Hammer Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Berkeley Art Museum, as well as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The complete portfolio can be viewed at