Sunday, November 23, 2003
choose your style: neoclassical | blue | modern | nouveau

Gallery Hopping

In San Francisco, I spent a few hours wandering through galleries. If you don't visit galleries when you travel, you should. Galleries like to have visitors, even those who aren't likely to buy anything, because visitors bring more visitors. And, artists love an audience.

The art world of galleries is not the art world of museums. It's often newer, of course, but also broader. It's much like the book world; there's plenty that's worth reading that, for one reason or another, isn't on a syllabus at your local Literature department.

At Jenkins Johnson, they've got some stunning, huge figure work by Wade Reynolds, paired with extremely nice colored-pencil studies.

Gallery Hopping

These are interesting, too, in the way they combine a formal problem -- composing a figure in the horizontal, landscape frame -- with hints of narrative -- why are all these women lying, in these particular ways, on the floor? The interiors are very plain but also, clearly, luxurious, with simple walls and simple carpeting that speak of expensive taste and frequent redecorating. It's our old, old friend, the genre painting, come to visit the nicer sections of Manhattan, the girl with the pearl earring, a trust account, and plenty of troubles.

There's no narrative at all, on the other hand, in Jay Kelley's misty, vellum gems -- a show aptly titled 2.5 x 2.5 inches. These, I think, are the old-media equivalent of the Cool Flash Site: Kelly takes an odd medium and an odd requirement -- tiny pastels on vellum, of all things -- and does more with it than you would expect.