Maria Porges

  • Adriane Colburn

    In her recent exhibition “Before the Rush,” Adriane Colburn reconstructed hidden histories through a kind of meditative cartography, focusing our attention on particular parts of the map. Colburn’s title refers to the nineteenth-century Gold Rush that transformed San Francisco from backwater to big city practically overnight. San Francisco Bay 1800/San Francisco Bay 2000, 2005, is a large cut-paper silhouette pinned directly to the wall that shows every detail of the bay’s complicated shape, including tributaries and creeks, as they existed at the two dates. The land that the water surrounds is

  • Jim Campbell

    Though much current art purports to confront the “liminal,” Jim Campbell’s wall-mounted electronic works successfully address this state in more ways than one. Campbell’s dual professions—computer-hardware engineer and internationally recognized artist—place him at the threshold (or limen) between two profoundly different worlds. Pursued from this unusual viewpoint, his continuing investigation of extremely low-resolution imagery functions as an exploration of the furthest margins of visual perception, revealing how much—or how little—information is required for comprehension.

    For several years,

  • Alice Shaw

    Whether by accident or some grand universal design, the invention of photography and the inception of psychology took place more or less simultaneously. According to Alice Shaw, the two have always had much in common as ways to see through new eyes. With an appealing honesty Shaw describes one of the driving forces behind her work as a kind of psychological state—a confusion that leads her to try to make sense of the world and its illusions through pictures, often of herself.

    In this exhibition three separate bodies of work all addressed issues of identity and selfhood. Shaw has clearly put a

  • Paul Kos

    Conceptual art seems to have acquired a reputation for humorless pedantics right from the start. Paul Kos’s retrospective, which will travel to several venues around the country (including the Grey Art Gallery at New York University), goes a long way toward dispelling this misperception. For more than thirty years, Kos has been making Conceptual work that often is as funny as it is smart and good-looking. The exhibition’s title, “Everything Matters,” is key to understanding the videos, sculpture, and installations on view. (It comes from an aphorism attributed to Vaclav Havel: In the West

  • Rick Arnitz

    In the tradition of eye-dazzling abstraction, there is something both satisfying and slightly mysterious about Rick Arnitz’s adroit manipulation of paint. In “Backdrops,” the artist’s most recent body of work, shimmying stripes or interwoven patterns of contrasting lines alternately pop forward and recede, lock in to a single plane, or jostle one another in an undefinable space. Although several canvases are essentially black-and-white, others feature brilliant, almost shocking reds, blues, or yellows. Color, however, isn’t really the key that reveals the meaning of these works. Instead, it is

  • Irene Pijoan

    In an era when the tyranny of “signature style” has meant that an artist’s production should be both consistent and readily attributable, Irene Pijoan has courageously embraced a wide range of media and modes of production. The objects and images presented in this midcareer survey of work from the past twenty years were so various that a first impression suggested a group exhibition rather than a solo show. Sculpture and painting—on canvas, wood, linen, plaster, and stone—explored both dark, expressive figuration and vivid, delicate abstraction; figures, landscapes, words, and shapes

  • John Cage

    DURING THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS OF HIS LIFE, avant-garde composer John Cage produced a substantial body of visual art, mainly in the form of prints. Beginning in 1978, he visited Crown Point Press for a week or two almost every year. There, working closely with the press's master printers, he made art using methods borrowed from his approach to musical composition. He allowed every aspect of a print to be determined by what he described as “chance operations” (reading from the I Ching, throwing dice, and so on). The complex notations that serve as a record of these operations, referred to by Cage

  • Anthony Discenza

    Video is the only visual medium with no artifact. Television isn't there in the set; it's just an invisible signal, broadcast over cables and through the air into bedrooms and bars, where—at the flick of a switch—its hungry ghosts are available around the clock. The average American viewer, in fact, watches TV for seven and a half hours a day.

    All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By, 2000, is a hypnotically lovely reminder of those annihilated evenings spent in front of the tube in the company of Friends. To make this piece, Anthony Discenza pointed a video camera at his television and

  • Michael O'Malley

    ONE OF LIFE'S MOST HUMBLING REVELATIONS is that we each carry our own mental landscape, our unique version of tunnel vision, wherever we go. As we move through the world, we're seeing it through the veil of our past experiences and present preoccupations. Though Michael O'Malley's recent installation “Top Heavy,” 1999–2000, may have served as a metaphor for this framing process, it also demonstrated the degree to which works of art can shape and determine our perceptions in subtle but important ways.

    In Southern Exposure's expansive main space, O'Malley built a maze-like network of interconnected

  • Sono Osato

    As much objects as images, Sono Osato’s thickly impastoed canvases have the physical presence of sculpture. In this small, elegantly composed six-painting installation titled “The Sound of Ku,” careful consideration was given to the position of each work and its relationship to the others. From a distance, the viewer’s impression of the larger canvases is of austere, monochromatic monoliths: serious-looking Minimalist slabs of paint that lean against or, in places, out from the wall on wires. Even the smaller pieces have a weighty presence, in part a result of the buildup of paint, wax, and

  • Marco Maggi

    Like a lot of good art, part of the reason Marco Maggi’s work is engaging is that it brings so many other things to mind. His inventions and ideas evoke a range of allusions—to the complexity of Mayan codices or the horror vacui of some outsider art; to the refinement of line in a Hans Bellmer drawing or the dreamy, visceral oddness of one of Matta’s floating abstractions—but such multiple references don’t make his work seem any less original. About half of the pieces in this show are pencil drawings on clay-coated board. Exquisite accumulations of faint, needle-thin lines form complicated yet

  • Fletcher + Rubin

    For the past five years, Harrell Fletcher and Jon Rubin have been making installations that bring new meaning to the term “site specific.” For each project they undertake, these two young artists research a particular locale for several weeks to several months, with the intent of eventually creating a body of work that reflects the particularity of the place and the people who live there. Since whatever they come up with is usually exhibited within the community that inspired it, their subjects are also their audience.

    “Wanderings and Observations in Walnut Creek,” the somewhat picaresque title