Through daily ritualistic stacking, assembling and rearranging of hundreds of wheel-thrown ceramic sculptures, artist Julie Cloutier used the storefront gallery at Irving Street Projects as a testing ground for various groupings and realignments of her works. Useful Irrationalities questioned the boundaries of utility within the domestic environment, exploring the relationship between labor and value and fine and applied art.
Cloutier’s stoneware vessels evoke both an ancient and modernist aesthetic and technique. Her works highlight the natural beauty of the dense, rock-like nature of her material when it is fired to its maturation temperature, through a process that historically dates back thousands of years. For this project Cloutier has developed a specific language of wheel-thrown shapes and characters according to the naturally occurring variance of color and texture of various clay bodies. Each work in the installation is ever-so-slightly non-functional; cups with rounded bottoms, concentric and exact clay circles, hourglass shapes that could never hold sand.
A series of limited edition prints made by Cloutier in collaboration with The Aesthetic Union accompanied the exhibition, along with a limited edition handmade folded screenprint documenting one day of arrangements printed by Matt Katsaros.
Inspired by Julie's work and its relationship to craft, we held a panel discussion about how overlapping interests in art, craft and design relate to issues of accessibility, personal agency, independence, and economic pressure. You can listen to it here:
Julie Cloutier is an artist living and working in the Outer Sunset district of San Francisco. Her ceramic work focuses on handheld sculptures, functional wares and everyday objects. She draws upon her architectural background to inform her minimalist lines and quotidien investigations. She holds a Masters in Architecture from California College of the Arts and a Bachelor in Environmental Design from University of Colorado at Boulder. She has exhibited her work at The Lab (SF), Jancar Jones Gallery (SF), Chandran Gallery (SF), POP Gallery (Culver City) and Little Paper Planes (SF).
Through her eclectic style of painting, sculpture and wall drawing, San Francisco-based artist Carey Lin built a responsive, immersive installation at ISP by culling patterns from community participants, friends, acquaintances, and her day-to-day life. In this evolving environment, Lin asked questions about visual hierarchies, patterns of attraction, and the potential of the creative process to transform seemingly mundane objects into meaningful experience.
To build the installation, Lin invited the public to bring items to be photographed and small objects to be traced for inclusion in the installation. Contributors shared imagery on Instagram using the hashtag #nobodysaidnotto. Lin rendered those elements and combined them with imagery selected from her daily life: patterns from the closets and homes of friends and acquaintances, objects found on neighborhood walks, images from store windows, posts on her social media feed, etc. Lin’s receptive installation reflected the different, highly variable visual interests of community participants, the artist’s social circle and the artist herself.
Throughout its run, Nobody Said Not To served as a platform for thinking about artistic intention, hierarchies of visual culture, and in the most basic terms, why we make art. Lin’s playful, obsessive, energetic studio practice stems from a critical investigation of the creative impulse.
Kate Haug | News Today
News Today: A History of the Poor People's Campaign in Real Time
Using news photographs, memorabilia, reconstructed objects, documentary fragments, and original documents, contemporary artist Kate Haug re-told the story of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last monumental social protest prior to his assassination. The exhibition featured images and objects culled from Haug’s extensive research in the archives of the Associated Press and the Library of Congress, which have not been seen together before, bringing to life the complex ambition of King’s vision.
King began organizing the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) in 1967 to unify America’s poor across class rather than racial lines, believing that economic parity was key to African American equality within the United States. The PPC culminated with a 3,000 person shanty town named Resurrection City, constructed on the National Mall in Washington DC. Resurrection City drew people from all over the country, was the nineteen sixties version of the 1932 Bonus March and a predecessor to “Occupy”. The exhibition time frame for this show mirrors many of the actual dates of the campaign, tracing the Resurrection City’s opening day to its final destruction.
The PPC echoes aspects of current social movements such as Black Lives Matter, Fight for Fifteen, and Our Walmart. In San Francisco, a city with one the highest rates of income inequality in the United States, King’s work asks pointed questions about the contemporary social contract and the democratic promise of America.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Kate Haug is a San Francisco-based artist, filmmaker, and writer. Her short films have been screened internationally at festivals including MOMA’s New Directors/New Films, the London International Film Festival, and the Sao Paolo International Short Film Festival. Haug holds an MFA from UC San Diego in critical theory and experimental film. She was curatorial fellow at the Whitney Independent Study program where she co-curated, “Dirt and Domesticity: Constructions of the Feminine” at the Whitney’s Philip Morris Branch in New York City. For several years, she taught in the Bay Area at University of San Francisco, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State, and the College of San Mateo.
While at Irving Street Projects, Teschner used the storefront at ISP as both a workshop and exhibition space, creating a progressive series of large architecturally-inspired textile works exploring the natural and man-made forces that gradually transform and erode our environment.
Teschner's project was both research-based and intuitive, and centering around processes of building and decomposition. She wrote, “The governing idea is that the city, like a mountain range, erodes gradually to become the grains of sand that line the ocean floor.” Her project also considered concrete as the inverse of that erosion, a liquid composed of fragments of stone. Teschner used fabric, ink washes, and paper to emulate the nature of concrete and explore its formation and decay.
During the month of December 2015, Alexis Petty and Lana Porcello installed large scale hand-dyed canvases in the windows of Irving Street Projects. Each day they cut designs in the canvases and illuminated them from the gallery so that every evening for the remainder of 2015, passers by could see their evolving light show.
Lisa Solomon | The Keepsake Project
Lisa Solomon's studio practice revolves thematically around domesticity, gender roles, and the pursuit of art as research, incorporating materials that intentionally question the line between art and craft.
During the course of her three-month residency at ISP, Solomon documented keepsakes, those cherished objects that we hold on to for a variety of sentimental reasons. She invited the public to participate by either booking an appointment to have a keepsake photographed and drawn at the gallery, or by sending an image of their chosen object via email. The documentation progressively filled the walls with nostalgic mementos culminating in an exhibition, a website, and now a correlating book.
By the time she completed the residency, 65 keepsakes were documented through photography, drawing, and transcribed personal accounts of the objects’ significance to their owners. Solomon’s documentation of pieces of clothing, bric a brac, stuffed animals, jewelry, tools, handwritten notes, toys, and other ephemera paid tribute to these odd knick-knacks that often carry a huge amount of emotional weight, and can sometimes hold cultural significance as well.
As the documentation accumulated, we noticed threads of commonality in the stories: the love of a grandparent or close relative, a physical connection to childhood, the honor of a cherished family member’s skill, memories of significant moments in life. It became clear that these objects function as portals to parts of our human experience we can’t fully access without a trigger. So many of life’s details and emotions fade with age – thankfully - but these objects somehow carry the emotional weight that dissipates with time. Though the transfer of emotion to inanimate objects can get out of hand and become overwhelming, some things are worth holding onto and contemplating.
What Solomon has begun to create is a type of alternative museum. While a traditional museum seeks the “best” examples of cultural production to showcase to the public, we rarely get to know the stories behind these objects, their acquisition, or their emotional significance. These aspects are virtually erased and replaced by origin stories and explanations of why a particular object is deemed the best, most significant, most valuable example of its kind. The Keepsake Project is the antithesis of that format, a place to celebrate the distinct yet fleeting moments in life that shape our respective paths and help narrate our personal definition of our place in the world.
Mary Anne Kluth's work explores representations of nature through drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, and installation. Kluth grew up participating in many geologic field trips and camping trips all over the United States but over time became obsessed with theatrical representations of the land that both evoke and subvert cultural notions of the sublime and national pride.
Expanding on her collection of Theme Park Collages, Kluth transformed ISP’s storefront windows into one luminous diorama. During her two-month residency, Kluth painted a mural and arranged two and three-dimensional works that drew inspiration from John Wesley Powell’s journals chronicling his 1869 exploration of the Grand Canyon and landscape paintings from that era by Thomas “Yellowstone” Moran, but were instead compiled from her replications of theme park landscape elements.
Kluth's work draws an interesting contrast between the use of color and composition in romantic landscape painting of the 1860s to emphasize magnificence and power and our more modern tendency to infantilize the landscape.
During her residency, Kluth taught a diorama workshop and the public was invited to opening and closing receptions. A limited edition zine cataloging the source photographs for The Escape is available at Irving Street Projects. If you look closely you might recognize rocks from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or clouds from Hello Kitty Land.
Leah Rosenberg's work spans painting, sculpture, installation and pastry exploring the ways color, form, flavor, and arrangements affect human emotion.
For her residency at ISP, Rosenberg painted the gallery a different hue selected from the surrounding neighborhood for fifty days. Each day she marked off a width of tape to preserve a stripe of the previous days’ color, gradually creating a low relief site-specific striped mural.
Each day’s color was announced by Leah on her instagram account along with its source photo. The public was also invited to attend a sunset happy hour, join in a color walk, witness the stripe reveal and attend a talk about the project. In the end, Leah served striped cake and the fifty layers of paint peeled right off the walls (with a cake server).
To commemorate the project, Leah made a limited edition poster documenting each day's color. Posters are available at ISP and through Leah's website: