Jill Dawsey

  • picks October 23, 2007

    Gina Osterloh

    Gina Osterloh’s serial performances, conducted in simply fabricated paper installations, are frequently staged for the camera. It is an accomplishment that the resultant images have imbued notions of the Surrealist uncanny—that sensation of familiarity mixed with total strangeness—with vigor and renewed creepiness. In this exhibition’s central, repeated image, Osterloh wears a turquoise sweater and jeans in a turquoise room. Posed on all fours, her hands and lower legs seem to sink into the paper floor, and all the while she vomits confetti squares and strips of denim. With her head bent forward

  • picks May 23, 2006

    Kathryn Spence

    Like the sculptures of urban birds (pigeons, sparrows, black birds) for which Kathryn Spence is best known, the owls on view in this exhibition seem to have been created using the very procedures—accumulating, attaching, layering, lining—by which these animals build up their own nests and shelters. Constructed from bits of fabric, string, and stuffed-animal fur, it is as if the owls had created startlingly animate, if scrappy, likenesses of themselves. Elsewhere in the show, Spence deploys accumulative procedures toward more formally abstract ends. Two impressive sculptures consist of

  • picks March 21, 2006

    Hank Willis Thomas

    In his 2004 series “Branded,” Hank Willis Thomas presented trenchant parodies of advertising images that operate by stereotyping—quite literally, branding—black bodies: One digitally altered photograph, for example, shows a black man’s muscular torso scarred with Nike swooshes. In this follow-up exhibition, “Unbranded,” Willis Thomas appropriates advertisements from the ’70s to the present, stripping them bare of all logos and text. Set free from the corporate sponsors that formerly held them hostage, some of the images appear cheerfully ambiguous, even innocent, like one of a black

  • picks February 20, 2006

    Donal Mosher

    Adobe Books, with its tiny back-room gallery, is one of San Francisco’s most beloved, if under-recognized art venues for local emerging talent. This month, a photo-text installation by Donal Mosher chronicles a ghost hunting expedition he undertook in upstate New York with his aunt Denise, a paranormal investigator, and her friend Peggy, “a convenience store worker, a demolition derby champ, and a ‘ghost magnet.’” Photography commonly documents the physical world, but the medium has also long been employed in attempts to capture manifestations of the metaphysical and the otherworldly. In Mosher’s