Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stephen Galloway, Beth Moon at Corden Potts Gallery, SF

Works by Stephen Galloway. Photo from a previous exhibition at the Bolinas Museum.
Yesterday I was checking out the galleries at 49 Geary and noticed several shows focusing on nature and natural forms. The most striking of these was Roots, Shrubs and Moss, an exhibition of the photography of Stephen Galloway, artist and photography professor (Sonoma State) at Corden Potts Contemporary Photography (suite 410; up 9/6 - 10/27/2012).

Galloway's works show plant forms in loving detail, with every leaf, branch and root shown to its best advantage. They are life size or larger, with the plant element floating in clean white space. This gives the viewer an opportunity to luxuriate in the forms, textures and colors of the natural world.  The rich color and crisp detail of the c-prints, face-mounted to plexi, left me feeling that the plants had an live inner glow, yet they also seemed somewhat preserved/fossilized in the process. A review of a previous show in ArtWeek (Brenneman, 2006), explains that he arranges the materials on a light box, and then uses a mounted camera/scanner to photograph it.  Maybe it's the light and amount of information this process allows him to capture that gives his works such a luminous feeling.

Beth Moon. Odin's Cove series. Platinum/Palladium Print, 28x22" 2012.
The same gallery had a couple of photos up from the Odin's Cove series by Beth Moon, who recently exhibited there. The subjects of the photos are a pair of Ravens, which is a subject dear to my heart, and I am sorry I missed seeing more of her work. In her introductory notes, Moon explains the close relationship between the mated pair (they mate for life) and the dynamic that developed between herself and the birds.  I have the same relationship/experience with a pair of Ravens myself, who have adopted my ocean front balcony as part of their territory and come over everyday for some peanuts and a chat. By an odd coincidence, I recently connected with another artist named Kim Munson, who lives in the San Jose area and happens to draw and paint Ravens as well.

Other shows I noticed focused on natural forms were the works of Ryan Bush at Modernbook Gallery, and the works of Charles Burchfield and Ralph Eugene Meatyard at the Fraenkel Galley.