An explosion of art in West Marin galleries

Heather Peters
ARTS: A print by Heather Peters using a technique called Chine-collé, which involves gluing Japanese paper to the etching, showed in the Dance Palace lobby this month. Ms. Peters is part of a separate show at Toby’s Gallery focused on wood—from wooden furniture to burnt-wood prints.
05/21/2015

West Marin exploded with flowers and art in April and May this year. Heather Peters showed charming Chine-collé and hand-painted etchings, with images of girls engaged in street games like hop-scotch and playing on teeter-totters, at the Dance Palace lobby through May 9. This was only one of several other interesting exhibitions in West Marin that opened in April and which are continuing through May.

Toby’s Gallery is presenting “Of Wood: Five Perspectives on Trees” through May 26. The striking simplicity of the black and white linocuts of Sirima Sataman are complimented by Ido Yoshimoto’s screen prints and his Monterey pine burnt-wood prints. At the gallery’s entrance there is a sequence of Heather Peters’s narrative images, aptly titled “Dendrochronology,” with scenes from girls’ lives painted in watercolor on small wood panels. Beautifully crafted chairs, tables and stools of local claro walnut and bay laurel by Stephen Horvat and Ben Martell complete this homage to trees. It is one of the most satisfying group shows I have seen this year. The works are different but compatible, and all show the mark of the hand and the process. The objects are a visible manifestation of the lifetime of trees and their human connections, an ever-more important reminder in our digital society. 

At the same time, the brilliant colors of Jessica Eastburn’s gouache paintings at Gallery Route One are a rare match to the profusion of wildflower color outside. Her fragmented images collide as aggressive bits that reflect the barrage of advertising that saturates media today. The exhibition reflects the artist’s interest in the way in which media shapes how we get information and how it colors our experience of the world. Media and digital technology have changed what we value. The artist makes a colorful puzzle from the visual noise that bombards us daily on television, radio, print and social media. She includes everything and makes it more appealing than a smart phone. The exhibition is a culmination of Eastburn’s tenure as the first Young Artist Fellow at Gallery Route One. 

In contrast, the photographs by Geraldine Liabraaten in the gallery’s Annex show buildings in Katmandu that were destroyed in last month’s earthquake. Funds from the sale of the photographs will be used to provide relief to the survivors. In the Project Space, devoted to environmental issues, Jon Kerpel shows “Majestic Nature.” His black-painted totems constructed of old display cases and other reused objects contain replicas of animals on the edge of extinction—polar bears, giraffes and penguins. It is a sad room with a funerary atmosphere. The Puffin Foundation funded his project, which shows with the others through June 7, with an artists’ salon and closing party that day.

“From Here,” an exhibit at the Bolinas Museum curated by Linda Samuels, brings home eight nationally known artists who started their careers in West Marin: David Korty (ceramic pitchers), Rubi Neri (figurative sculpture), William Ransom (wood sculpture), Noam Rappaport (a relief), Oona Ratcliffe (abstract paintings), Ivory Serra (photography), Shelter Serra (a donkey sculpture) and Ole Schell (excerpts from films). This mixed-media show also features seven local writers’ books—by Alica Gregory, Tofa Borreguard, Gail Carriger, Rebecca Wilson, Strawberry Saroyan, Stefano Resta and Lewis Samuels—in the vitrines. The stories about how growing up in coastal Marin influenced their lives and creativity are a unique and most enjoyable part of the exhibition. 

Designer Alethea Patton’s work is featured in the Coastal Marin Artists Gallery with designs for three local houses—the Mohn-Gale, the Bransten and the Nisbet-Sheils’ residences—and the downtown community park. She also shows early object designs from her apprenticeship with Art Carpenter. Dana Gluckstein’s powerful exhibition of photographs, “Dignity: Tribes in Transition,” fills the photography gallery with images of indigenous people around the globe whose way of life is threatened by modernization. Her photographs, and her work as the president of the Tribes in Transition Education Fund, raise awareness in support of the urgent need to implement the recently adopted United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These museum exhibitions show through June 14.  

Art by the Bay Weekend Gallery in Marshall features two local artists whose expressive art reflects inner and outer realities. It seems to me that Fariba Bogzaran works from the inside out. In “Matters of Mind,” mixed media on canvas, she laid on thick paint and drew into it with a palette knife. Mary Mountcastle Eubank’s “The Other Shore” is an acrylic-on-canvas painting with silk, ash, copper and other additions. She moves from materials to a kind of imaginary landscape. Her handmade book, “Seven Sensuous Rocks,” demonstrates her sensitivity to the local environment. Bogzaran and Eubank both share their interpretations of landscape with layered visions from their inner worlds through June 17.

 

Claudia Chapline, a Stinson Beach resident, has published in California arts publications since 1974 and in The West Marin Citizen for the past eight years. Please send information and comments about local artists and the arts at least two weeks in advance to info@cchapline.com with “Artswell” in the subject line.