Michael Light: Planetary Landscape June 17-August 27, 2017 Opening Celebration: Friday, June 16, 7-10 p.m. Artist talk: Sunday, June 25, 3-4:30 p.m.
Mile-Wide, 200' Deep 1952 MIKE Crater, 10.4 Megatons, Elugelab Island, Enewetak Atoll; 2003
Geological time is measured by the growth or diminishment of mountains—in millennia, not years. Many scientists now acknowledge humankind’s impact on the planet and have chosen to call this the Anthropocene era, or the “new era of man”. Whether initiated at the onset of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s, or during the atomic testing of the 1950s, humans are leaving a permanent mark on the planet.
The theme of human intervention in natural processes connects all of Light’s varied bodies of work. They offer a glimpse into the hubris of mankind; we leave footprints on the moon, plant green lawns in the desert, level mountains, and create our own suns through atomic energy.
Some of Light’s images are ghostly while others are blinding in their brilliance. It is often difficult to tell if you are looking at the moon or the bottom of the sea, at a crater left by a meteor or one made by the explosion of a bomb. This ambiguity is as critical to these works as is their beauty and their sense of the sublime, beguiling and seducing the viewer into looking more deeply.
Light’s artistic practice often extends beyond the use of what we consider the traditional tools of the visual arts. He pilots a small, 600 lb aircraft to scout and image his own aerial locations. Scuba diving allows him to explore, similarly in three dimensions, the still-radioactive results of our prolific atomic tests in the South Pacific. Coupling digital technologies more frequently used in the production of cinema with a taste for putting his body at risk more akin to performance art, Light uses whatever means are necessary to create a document of our constantly evolving–and constantly altered– “planetary landscape.”
This exhibition is guest curated by Sharon Bliss.
Michael Light is a San Francisco-based photographer. He has exhibited globally, and his work has been collected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Getty Research Institute, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, among many others.
Kija Lucas: Collections from Sundown May 27 - July 9, 2017
In Collections from Sundown, local photographer Kija Lucas uses notes written by her mother and grandmother to share an intimate portrait of Alzheimer’s disease. Sundown refers to Sundowners Syndrome, a set of symptoms common in Alzheimer’s patients that often get worse after the sun goes down. These symptoms include increased confusion, and, in the case of Lucas’ grandmother, the collecting and packing of belongings in preparation for a perceived trip.
Kija Lucas is an artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She uses photography to explore ideas of home, heritage, and inheritance. Lucas received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2006 and her MFA from Mills College in 2010. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Bay Area as well as in Los Angeles, Italy, and Mexico. She has participated in Artist-in-Residence programs at Montalvo Center for the Arts, Grin City Collective, and the Wassaic Project.
Play! September 16 - December 30, 2017 Opening celebration: Friday, September 15
“The ability to play is critical not only to being happy but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person.” –Stuart Brown
The concept of play is undergoing a renaissance. Whereas once it may have been applied to immature behavior, or used to describe the wasting of time, now it is recognized as an essential form of intellectual work for both children and adults, as well as a path to creative productivity and social wellbeing.
Animals, including humans, play under the most adverse of circumstances; it is irrepressible. And research shows that consistent playtime fosters empathy, makes us smarter and more adaptable, and builds a framework for complex social behavior.
Each of the artists in Play! is vigorously engaged in the practice of play, and together they illustrate the myriad of ways this can be done. Andy Warhol and Billy Kluver’s immersive Silver Clouds and William T. Wiley’s Punball machine were imagined as instruments of play. Berlin-based artist Hans Hemmert uses balloons, a material we all recognize as a play object, to build a slowly deflating castle barely contained by the walls of the gallery. Dana Hemenway and Terry Berlier turn everyday objects into the stuff of play, while painter Robert Burden and installation artist Nils Volker use familiar imagery to recover the wonder they experienced as children.
Each of these artists believe what more and more researchers, educators, and creatives are upholding as truth — that play is integral to the psychological wellbeing of each of us as individuals, as well as to the health of our families and communities.