"Dolleyjames Madison" by Julie Sutherland (Art Explosion, 744 Alabama)

SF Open Studios kicked off Friday night with a string of exhibitions and pre-parties. Highlights included free drinks, cool people, and a ton of great (and not so great) art. Below is a short list of Mission Loc@l’s picks from the evening – works of art that stood out among the rest on opening night. Use it as guide for your studio tour this weekend, but don’t forget to check out the rest of the studios/artists featured on this detailed list. There’s plenty to see and we couldn’t get to everything on the first night. We’ll be out again Saturday.

Highlights From SF Open Studios Opening Night
Highlights From SF Open Studios Opening Night

1. “Good Morning Lil’ Schoolgirl, 2008” by Tanya Wilkinson (1890 Bryant Street Studios). Tanya Wilkinson’s “Good Morning Lil Schoolgirl” is a mixed media painting made primarily out of escort adds from the San Francisco Bay Guardian. “It’s ironic,” said Wilkinson. “It’s this beautiful little sundress with pearls and rosettes, and the frame is sonnets by Rossetti, and then the body is made our of some of the nastiest stuff you can find in a public paper.”

2. “Unnamed” by Casey Koerner (Art Explosion, 744 Alabama). Casey Koerner uses a combination of charcoal, acrylic paint and spray paint to bring to life abstract images of faces and animals. “Sometimes I can paint something in an hour,” said Koerner, adding that other pieces take him much longer. His website includes paintings, drawings, concepts, sketches and designs.

3. “San Francisco in Jell-O” by Liz Hickock (1890 Bryant Street Studios). Liz Hickock is a San Francisco-based artist working in photography, video, sculpture, installation, and currently, Jell-O.

4. “Grace” by Sandra Frank (1890 Bryant Street Studios). This is a raku ceramic bust of “a gal named Caitlain,” said Frank. “Raku is a firing technique where you heat the piece up, super super hot, and then put it in a trash can full of newspapers.”

5. “Faerie Grotto” by Elsa Murray (1890 Bryant Street Studios). Elsa Murray is exhibiting a huge line of faerie-themed paintings as well as a collection of portraits, one of which is of herself clutching her hair and gritting her teeth. “I was having a bad day,” she said. Murray is in the beginning stages of illustrating a new book.

6. “Flying With the Trees or Float” by Cynthia Tom (1890 Bryant Street Studios). Cynthia Tom’s “Flying With the Trees or Float” was a mystery when she first painted is two years ago, but it’s recently taken on a new meaning in her life. “At first, I didn’t know what it was, but when I got laid-off at my job as a pharmaceutical rep this year, I decided that it means I need to be floating higher.” Tom plans on taking the next few months off to focus on her painting.

7. Kristin Fialco and Juliana Pinto: a.k.a. The Crow and the Wolf (Art Explosion, 744 Alabama). Kristin Fialco and Juliana Pinto (a.k.a. The Crow and the Wolf) have an ambitious idea. They are currently building a house, which can be deconstructed and transported. “We’ll be traveling around the United States and visiting places that don’t necessarily have a distinguished communities of artists.” There they hope that by building a creative space they will inspire emerging artists.

8. From the “Wing” series by Lee Cline (1890 Bryant Street Studios). Lee Cline’s “Wing” series features a multitude of different types of birds, mostly held by the feet by an outstretched hand. “I’ve always been a bit of a bird nerd,” said Cline, whose background is in English literature. Other series in her ink and watercolor collection include, “Hoof,” “Leaf” and “Eye.”

9. “Dee’s Dream” by Gabrielle Gamboa (Art Explosion, 744 Alabama). Gabrielle Gamboa’s work employs a personal lexicon of symbolism pulled from family history, rock and roll memorabilia, catholic iconography, and underground comic books to explore issues of cultural and ethnic identity. Her vampire drawings are awesome.

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Justin Juul is a freelance writer based in San Francisco's Mission District. He covers culture, arts, entertainment, and city living.

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1 Comment

  1. “Dee’s Dream,” a painting of a stuffed refrigerator, seems to speak to me the most. A practical image with references to the 50’s or retro art and colors just makes sense to me given the illustration of anything else. Being an artist has become a personal joke, where the truth is that even basic needs are not being met.

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