Sunday, January 15, 2012
Form/Space Atelier Program For February 2012
Exhibit Title: "9 Lives Of Karen Elson: A Feminist Eclat No. 9"
Exhibit Duration: February 1-March 3, 2012
Vernissage: 1st Wednesday, February 1, 6PM, Because First
Wednesday Is One Day Better Than First Thursday.
Last summer, while a scale model of Form/Space Atelier was installed in another art gallery enabling me to take my first vacation in five years; having been occupied with affairs operating an art gallery, I visited friends and colleagues in the Bay Area for two weeks. While there I was invited to visit SFMOMA with a Form/Space Atelier
represented artist by the name of Joanna Salska, who goes by Uba Owl. While having dinner in the massive old Victorian home she shares with her partner, archivist George McNeil, we made plans for the museum visit and watched the wildlife of Berkeley pass by across the backyards of the neighborhood. I returned to my friend's home in Rio
Vista, on the Sacramento River via BART, and entered the arms of Morpheus lulled by a choir of crickets. The next morning, I reversed my journey via BART and knocked on Joanna's always open door at the appointed hour. I tried several more times, semaphoring a rhythm eventually, to no avail. Hailing my cellular phone from my trousers, I called Joanna, and she informed me I had misunderstood, we were to
have met at the BART station. Sinking feeling had no time to take hold, she said it didn't matter, she would drive the short distance from the BART station and pick me up for the drive to San Francisco and the museum. When Joanna arrived, I settled in and we began our trip to the city. Before five minutes had elapsed, Joanna stated we
would be taking a slight detour on our way to the museum. She informed me we would be dropping off a painting, and pointed to the back of the car where the painting, wrapped in brown paper, was waiting for delivery. When we had gone a little further, I became curious and asked her precisely where the painting was to be delivered. Joanna said the painting was a portrait of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr, and we would be personally delivering the portrait to the Chief's office. I outwardly stifled my considerable incredulity at this revelation, and soon had adopted Joanna's WTF attitude regarding the thrilling stunt of intervention of the most formidable of authoritarian spaces. In the city, a small bit of street theatre involved parking Joanna's Volvo seven blocks from the Police Headquarters, and hand-carrying the five-foot-square brown paper package across the sunny sidewalks of San Francisco; my
six-foot-three frame in front, Joanna's small Polish frame carrying the back. A spectacle for even San Francisco, certainly. Once at the station, I drew a deep breath, mounted the stairs and entered the bastion of bristling Law Enforcement. Immediately, we were directed away from the security checkpoint to a special area to await further instruction, and presumably, from there out of the HQ without making
the delivery to the Chief. Joanna wondered aloud why we had been ushered away, and I, feeling more than a little freaked out to be holding a mysterious large object in a Police Headquarters, could offer no explanation. With that, Joanna told me to hold the painting, she was going to get to the bottom of this situation, and, with her
familiar Polish directness, approached the checkpoint perhaps fifty feet from where I was standing. I couldn't hear what she was saying, but could see her talking with her hands, pointing to the painting, and before I knew it, she had returned to the spot where I was. She said we were in. We were now held in esteem and honor, the seas
parted and we found ourselves chatting amicably to the staff in the Chief's Office momentarily. We left the painting having never met the Chief, he was very busy dealing with a public relations issue, but victory was certainly ours and the journey was indeed it's own reward. Joanna said this was an aspect of her work, and had done the same thing with a portrait of Gloria Steinem, and, significantly for the
exhibit at Form/Space Atelier February 2012, she had also delivered, in person, an uncommissioned work of Karen Elson, perhaps known more for her marriage to musician Jack White. We decided we would exhibit Ms. Elson's portraits at that time, and this exhibit is the result of those exhibit proposal dialogues. -Paul Kuniholm Pauper, Curator, Form/Space Atelier
Uba Owl is a founding member of a new interdisciplinary art movement, Alterrealism. Passionate about political and social issues, she often touches these subjects in her art. Uba Owl's paintings' remarkable achievement, realized through her talent with color and line, is the creation of a sustained emotional effect despite multiple narrative tensions. There is a sense of quiet power, of emergence and beginnings, of wisdom against an anticipated struggle. This is a bold departure from much male-dominated Western art, which often chooses a concrete narrative image while creating sub-surface ambiguities of emotion. It is a painting of intuition itself, succeeding in the far more difficult and demanding task of capturing a way of feeling.
Uba Owl is one of 14 US artists chosen for the 4th Beijing International Art Biennale, 2010, taking place at the Beijing National Art Museum. She has exhibited widely in galleries and museums and throughout US, Europe and Asia. -Joanna Salska, as Uba Owl
Posted by Paul Kuniholm Pauper at 8:40 PM