Daniel Gerwin

  • picks February 25, 2019

    Suzanne Jackson

    History reverberates throughout this small exhibition of Suzanne Jackson’s recent work. Jackson was born in Saint Louis in 1944, and, in 1953, her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska; in 1961, she began studying art and dance at San Francisco State University. The O-Town House gallery is on the second level of the Granada Buildings, just a few doors down from the erstwhile location of Gallery 32, which Jackson opened in the same building and ran from 1968­ to 1970. Having studied with Charles White at Otis Art Institute in the late 1960s, she took to heart his injunction that art be a vehicle for

  • picks February 19, 2018

    Yevgeniya Baras

    Yevgeniya Baras’s abstract paintings embody a beauty we don’t see much of these days: scummy, grubby, and gnarled. She has a knack for using colors that are somewhere between merely unappealing and utterly revolting: mustards, moldy grays, dirty peach putty, and bilious greens. Against these she sets forms in black, white, lavender, bright blues and greens, fluorescent orange, gold, copper, and silver. The result is not exactly luminous, but she makes her hues ignite like flint against steel. Baras pulls off a similar trick with the physical construction of her works: She sometimes paints on

  • picks January 23, 2018

    Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Rebecca Morris

    This exhibition, displaying two of Rebecca Morris’s paintings and four of Jessica Jackson Hutchins’s sculptures, feels perfectly tuned. Morris’s signature forms, such as steps reminiscent of a household staircase or front stoop along with blotchy patterning suggesting bacteria or leopard print, are deployed for Untitled (#09-17) (all works 2017), a large canvas glowing in soft salmon pink. The imagery here feels more biomorphic than usual for the artist. Her use of gauzy edges, staining, and pale hues paired with blacks and grays causes the painting to move in and out of focus, a wondrous effect

  • picks December 11, 2017

    Anastasia Douka and Shana Hoehn

    In Anastasia Douka and Shana Hoehn’s current two-person show, the past is pulled into the present while the present is pushed into antiquity. In The wife (Oz) 2017 (modified paper cast of “Aspasia” by Mara Karetsou, 1983), 2017, Douka recasts Karetsou’s bust of Pericles’s mistress from a public sculpture in Athens, adorning the figure’s head with a funnel. The work’s understatement pays homage to women who, despite their accomplishments, are known primarily for their associations with powerful men. Nearby, on a pedestal no more than two inches high, is Douka’s How to Hide, 2016, a collection of

  • picks October 16, 2017

    Ruth Root

    From a distance, Ruth Root’s shaped paintings appear tight and formal, but up close her hand is loose, almost sloppy. Their surfaces reveal the brush’s starts and stops, where paint pooled in lumpy relief. Alternating bands of color are often done freehand, in wavering lines. The overall impression is similar to that of approaching somebody standing stiffly in a three-piece suit, only to discover he is drunkenly slurring his words, and finding everything he says to be riveting.

    Every work in this show is on Plexiglas, with a fabric component attached. Root gives the lie to the old saw that

  • picks July 20, 2017

    Jim Shaw

    A visual maelstrom of black-and-white screen prints and paintings opens Jim Shaw’s exhibit: their marks swirl and overlap, subsuming figures distorted as if they were reflections in a fun-house mirror. Meticulously rendered paintings on segments of worn theatrical backdrops distill and clarify this initial chaotic imagery. Here, Shaw paints vignettes that mash up politics, religion, comic books, Masonic tradition, and art history: Donald Trump plays the role of Satan in an update of William Blake’s Lucifer and the Pope in Hell, ca. 1805; George Washington ascends to the heavens as Zeus; and in