[Alyson Kuhn] At Felt & Wire, we do not use exclamation points lightly. Paper! Awesome! is the title of the extravaganza currently at Baer Ridgway Exhibitions in San Francisco … and this show definitely deserves a bonus exclamation point (as bestowed above). It’s a glorious group show and an homage to creativity on 8.5 x 11 paper.
Very late one recent afternoon, I had the incredible fortune to have the gallery to myself. Thus I could ogle from every angle Chris Duncan’s Everything All at Once (below). The print measures 60 x 60 in., intaglio and relief with collage. The “smudges” of color at the top make the image seem like it’s just stopped spinning. It is centrifugally sensational but not “oppy.” Delightfully dahlia-like. Twenty-five colors, 330 plates and yet another exclamation point.
The show (which gallery co-owners Kent Baer and Eli Ridgway abbreviate as P!A! — love it) is superbly documented online. At baerridgway.com you can see all 300-plus artworks by 100-plus artists, some well-known, others emerging and even a handful of first-time exhibitors. Read about artist-curator Brion Nuda Rosch’s vision for this third installment of P!A! (there were earlier iterations in 2003 and 2005).
Note Chris Sollars’ Self Portrait on notebook paper (above). Also note that you can even tour P!A! online, thanks to KQED’s fine video podcast.
Many pieces drew me right in … including a series of three oils by Danielle Mysliwiec (Middle Ground I, above). It’s not macramé, not string theory, not knots at all. Totally intriguing. And Thomas Bernard’s collages (Untitled I, below) almost effervesce. In fact, the entire show makes me feel as if I had champagne bubbles in my brain.
At Baer Ridgway, what looks like a stairway to heaven actually takes you to the gallery’s lower level, where the exhibition continues. Kirk Maxson’s Book Worm is a constellation of paper butterflies, hand-cut from book pages and covers, affixed to the walls with specimen pins. I just lust for these lepidoptera graphica.
The show will be up until March 27, and I hope to make it back next week for my second visit. Baer Ridgway Exhibitions, 172 Minna Street, San Francisco. Just across the street from SFMOMA. And there’s more: a companion show at Baer Ridgway, an incredible site-specific installation by Tucker Nichols. Temporary Storage Overflow Plan Option 3 is an imaginary expansion of the SFMOMA, rendered in tape and pencil right on the wall, all down the hall — which adjoins museum staff offices. What, oh what, will happen to it after March 27?!
Artists and artworks (top to bottom): Kelly Ording, Moths; Chris Duncan, Everything All at Once; Chris Sollars, Self Portrait; Danielle Mysliwiec, Middle Ground I; Thomas Bernard, Untitled 1; Kirk Maxson, Book Worm.
Alyson Kuhn would like to point out the kuhnceptual progression of artworks shown here. We have moths at the top, butterflies at the bottom. We say ’smarvelous, ’smetamorphosis!