Monica Westin

  • Anouk Kruithof, Green Is More than Just a Color . . ., 2015, flatbed print on Plexiglas, print on PVC curtain, plastic pipe, 78 x 56 x 5".
    picks February 06, 2017

    Anouk Kruithof

    Anouk Kruithof’s first solo exhibition in the United States comprises a tongue-in-cheek body of work, ranging from photographic tableaux to blobby, photo-sculptural hybrids that complicate the relationship between form, content, and representation. When photography can be altered—to present “alternative facts,” for instance—the photograph’s ability to serve as proof becomes deeply problematic. Kruithof expands and exploits this now-perennial trope by turning the evidential weakness of images into a spatial, material problem.

    One of the artist’s tactics is to use an accumulation of screenshots,

  • Stefanie Victor, Sculptures for Margaret #26 (detail), 2016, brass and bronze with gold plating on dyed and bleached fabric on shelf, 38 x 13 x 3".
    picks September 26, 2016

    Stefanie Victor and Christopher Garrett

    Stefanie Victor and Christopher Garrett’s show comprises a study in restraint and bodily intimacy that is disarmingly delicate in physical scale. Using a shared language of personal ornamentation in their approaches to formal in-between states, the artists take on the aesthetics and concept of the fold as something that both covers and opens out onto something else.

    Victor’s metal sculptures, vaguely kinetic and often wall-mounted, are domestic in nature and size and also simultaneously intricate and borderline industrial. Both the metal pieces and her cloth sculptures, on which the metal structures

  • View of “Laura Owens,” 2016.
    picks June 13, 2016

    Laura Owens

    Categorizing the titular ten works of Laura Owens’s current exhibition is an exercise in frustration—intentionally so. Blurring the boundaries among installation, mural, and painting, Owens covers the gallery walls with nonrepeating handmade wallpaper, layered with painterly and nonpainterly gestures referencing everything from blown-up bitmaps to newsprint text, trompe l’oeil, and illusionistic space: in other words, a brief history of two-dimensional representation itself. What appear to be wooden beams creating boundaries between the gridded works are a trick of paint as well; what the final

  • View of “Pablo Dávila,” 2016.
    picks June 13, 2016

    Pablo Dávila

    Pablo Dávila investigates our perceptions of space and time by translating the form of musical phasing across media. Phasing in music, which occurs when two instruments are played together at different tempos and so shift in and out of sync, is particularly associated with the minimalism of Steve Reich, whose score for “Piano Phase” Dávila visualizes in Ad libitum (piano phase) (all works 2016), a triptych of light boxes in which the notation itself blurs into and out of view. Dávila relates the theme of things growing more or less in focus in focus to ways we experience the passage of time—as

  • View of “Anthony Discenza Presents a Novel: An Exhibition by Anthony Discenza,” 2016.
    picks March 24, 2016

    Anthony Discenza

    Anthony Discenza’s meta-exhibition takes up the literary trope of framing devices and translates it into a problem of material information. The conceit of the show is an artist named Anthony Discenza attempting to curate an exhibition based on an unrealized exhibition by another artist with the same name. To add an additional layer of complexity and uncanniness, the unrealized exhibition was, according to the catalogue essay, based on a novel called The Disappointments that does not in fact exist.

    The works in the show are suggestive of the documentation of an artistic practice as it stalls

  • Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle, Tituba Siphons Up Her Spectators in Order to Feed Her Young, 2013, india ink and compressed charcoal, 48 x 48". Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery and the artist.
    interviews November 19, 2015

    Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle

    Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle is an artist and currently a Fulbright fellow in Lagos, Nigeria, where she is working with students and faculty from the University of Lagos on her Kentifrica Project, 2010–, an ongoing piece about a hybrid, contested geography. Her latest exhibition, which features this work and two more projects (the “Tituba” series, 2013–, and the “Uninvited” series, 2008–), is titled “Who Among Us… The Art of Kenyatta A. C. Hinkle” and is on view at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco through April 3, 2016.

    I AM USING MY FIRST MONTHS IN NIGERIA to learn more about navigating

  • Sara Bright, Coi, 2015 fresco on panel, 12 1/4 x 9 1/4".
    picks October 01, 2015

    Sara Bright

    The playful, painterly gestures of Sara Bright’s small movable frescoes at George Lawson Gallery at first belie the artist’s rigorous, post-Minimalist attention to form. Beneath built-up layers of plaster on burlap and wood, the panels themselves are palpably sculptural. Viewed from the side as they hang on the gallery walls, where the edges of the paint extend just beyond the corners of the plaster, the works appear to float.

    The small window of time in which paint can be applied to wet plaster limits the ways in which it can be layered and otherwise incorporated into frescoes. Bright uses this

  • View of “Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces,” 2015
    picks July 22, 2015

    “Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces”

    Community-focused SOMArts Cultural Center’s comprehensive, museum-quality group show brings together installations and work from dozens of Bay Area artists and artist-run spaces, with archival material and ephemera from historical alternative art spaces past and present. Focused on the legacy of politically oriented independent spaces, with an emphasis on the social-justice movements that underpin and activate the work, curators Melorra Green, Sandra Ramirez, and Roula Seikaly strike a balance between activism and institutional histories, and between theoretical underpinnings and material

  • Brendan Fowler, Nancy Getting Birthday Cake with Empty Polka Dot Motif, Notebook and Sampler Piece Instructions, 2015, rayon, polyester, archival pigment print, acrylic, canvas, aluminum stretchers, 60 x 40 x 1 1/2".
    picks May 07, 2015

    Brendan Fowler

    The repeated circle patterns that top Brendan Fowler’s two large, layered wall pieces are made with an industrial embroidery machine—the kind that stitches logos onto sports jackets and baseball caps. This process translates the traditionally decorative craft associated with leisure and personalization into an automated, mass-market context. Though the wall pieces could technically be called photographs due to the blurry digital ink-jet prints that comprise the base layer of each, their disorienting stratification is demonstrated by the materials list: rayon and printable polyester on archival

  • Miriam Böhm, Mutual II, 2015, UV-digital print on glass, wood, 26 x 31 x 22".
    picks April 07, 2015

    Miriam Böhm

    Miriam Böhm’s elegant, nimble photographs are the result of a recursive process in which she modifies a print through some combination of folding and tilting, then documents the resulting shape. Böhm’s work operates through the tradition of still-life photography, but she raises art-historical questions that are crucial to painting as well, investigating how the illusion of space is created in a picture plane and how the position of the viewer affects the perception of this space. The photographs in this exhibition are presented in multiple series exploring permutations of objects, and they make

  • Petra Collins, I Hope This Helps You Sleep at Night 2, 2015, plush fleece, 58 x 80".
    picks March 30, 2015

    “Comforter”

    This group show curated by Petra Collins, explicitly organized around the theme of domestic transience, is perfectly sited in a new, raw project space. Juxtaposed with crude fiberboard floors, the work recalls first attempts at personalizing an adolescent bedroom. A large, white, fleece cotton sheet by Collins, bordered with cute stickers and filled with the text of letters written to the artist, I Hope This Helps You Sleep at Night 2, 2015, hangs loosely like a curtain next to another screen-printed sheet. Nearby, large C-prints by Nguan of young schoolgirls in uniform and unaccompanied children,

  • Matt Keegan, Crossed w/ Strips (Soft Pink), 2014, spray- finished laser-cut steel, pigmented silicon, 32 1/2 x 23”.
    picks February 05, 2015

    Matt Keegan

    The wall sculptures and photographs that comprise Matt Keegan’s “And” seem deceptively soft and disarmingly modest. Large C-prints of found machine-made shapes, such as a scrap of rusted and twisted industrial metal in Was (all works 2014) or the repeated squares of a car speaker in Speaker, are lit gently, creating velvety layers of shadows. The predominant steel wall sculptures, laser cut and modeled after paper cutouts, are painted in improbable pastels, sometimes powder-coated hues of blush and muted mauves and oranges. Several utilize the same shape repeated in different colors (as in the