Overturn the Artifice

What: Overturn the Artifice exhibition
Where: SOMArts main gallery, 934 Brannan St. (between 8th and 9th) San Francisco
When: March 8–29, 2013. Open Tuesday–Friday, 12–7pm, and Saturday 12–5pm.
How much: The exhibition and all accompanying events are free to attend.

SOMArts Cultural Center presents Overturn the Artifice, a group exhibition March 8–29, 2013, curated by one of SOMArts’ 2012–13 Commons Curatorial Residency recipients, Jack Leamy. Locally, nationally and internationally-recognized fine artists working in painting, installation, time-based media and performance strive to re-enfranchise the individual—politically, economically and socially—while transcending and transforming historically brutal narratives of nationalism, racism, genocide, misogyny, capitalism and conformity.

“This cadre of artists selected by Jack Leamy utilizes masterful technical ability in tandem with unrivaled emotional sincerity in their relationship to the symbolic and their execution of
aesthetically powerful figurative and abstract paintings and installations,” – Justin Hoover, SOMArts Curator and Gallery Director.

The artworks in Overturn the Artifice are united by a shared vision in community healing and catharsis through art as well as an intensely personal and often spiritually-inspired vision. Paintings and drawings by participating artists Alex Chowaniec, Kristen Van Diggelen, Michele Foyer, Jack Leamy and Jeremy Morgan suggest worlds symbolic and embodied. The annex of the Main Gallery features videos by Jefferson Pinder that explore personal and cultural identity.

Also on display is a mural “Break” by Friendship House, Association of American Indians, Inc. Youth Program members. The installation forms a framework for rows of sculptures of children’s backpacks cast in sea salt by Leamy and Cathy Fairbanks.

Van Diggelen uses a Baroque painting language and traditional religious iconography to address contemporary gender hierarchies. Van Diggelen’s “Immaculate Conception,” for example, is a sculptural jewelry piece in the form of a Catholic prayer rosary created out of symbolic ready-made materials, including birth control pills, levonorgestrel pills, and copper sculpted to represent an intrauterine device.

Charcoal drawings by Alexandra Chowaniec consider simultaneous growth and decay in the natural world. The scale of the work encourages the viewer to perceive the organic forms in relation to their body and memory as extensions, and to consider humanity’s planetary impact.

Foyer’s abstractions offer realms of sensation and multiplicity. Morgan’s work contemplates the interaction between nature and human nature, elements and energies. His paintings mix compositional and rhythmic influences from historic Chinese landscape painting with the materials and abstract language of modern and contemporary abstract painting in the Western tradition. Leamy’s chromatic and colorful figurative paintings enact personal and poetic themes of symbolic archetypes including icons of the Madonna, Jesus and past United States presidents.

The opening reception on Friday, March 8, 6pm to 9pm includes performances by Bert Bergen, M. Ryan Noble and Krizstina Lazar. Video documentation of these performances will remain on view in the gallery throughout the exhibition.

The closing event on Friday, March 29, from 6pm to 9pm, features “Nationwide Meditation,” an open meditation led by transcendental meditation teacher and practitioner Paul Brown, from 6pm to 7pm, as well as free shoe shines by Rachel and Jack Leamy in a sculptural installation “Sweetheart Chair” from 7pm to 9pm. Within the framework of the exhibition the shoe shine is an act of respectful service, and is given by Leamy and Leamy as a transformative gift and a wish for well being. In unison and as a collaborative component with Overturn the Artifice, Kevin McCracken of Social Imprints will be hand screen-printing an original work by artist/curator Jack Leamy live in the gallery. Each piece will be hand numbered and signed by the artist as a gift to attendees.

Overturn the Artifice is one of four exhibition proposals selected to receive a 2012–13 Commons Curatorial Residency exhibition at SOMArts. Selected artists and curators receive curatorial stipends and a support package valued at over $20,000, as well as access to one of the largest and most beautiful gallery spaces in the heart of the city to expand their practice, engage the Bay Area’s cultural communities and turn vision into reality.

Participating artists include:
Tokala American Bear
Marciano Antone
Bert Bergen
Alex Chowaniec
Kristen Van Diggelen
Cathy Fairbanks
Michele Foyer
James Gault III
Ivonne Gonzalez
Krisztina Lazar
Jack Leamy
Rachel Leamy
Neil LeDoux
Jeremy Morgan
Lavinia (Star) Morris
M. Ryan Noble
Jefferson Pinder
Duane Potter
Michelle Rodriguez
Julian Trujillo

Please note, on  Thursday, March 21, 6pm to 9pm, a Native American Poetry Slam will be held in the gallery in partnership with The Friendship House has been cancelled.

Pictured above: Jack Leamy, 2 Abes, 83×103 inches, Acrylic, oil on nylon sailcloth, 2012