August 19th, 2011
"Crown" by Fan Lee Warren
The new show for Togonon Gallery will be Fan Lee Warren, a Bay Area Artist who is addressing the issues of technology, economy and art.
This body of work examines the reality of looking backward and being in the present at the same time.
June 24th, 2011
You may have missed the three art fairs last month, such a ArtPad SF, or Art Basel where many world renowned curators are returning from this week. This is your chance to view works by an international artist who has exhibited in Paris, Switzerland, Milan and Tokyo. Leonardo Pellegatta’s photography draws from his experience of shifting between two entirely separate environments, that of Italy (where he was born) and Tokyo (where he primarily works).
His upcoming exhibition of photographs, Indefinite Path, makes a seamless transition from our current exhibition, Crosscurrents, which has opened a discussion both of boundless international communication and the complex relationship of East and West. Pellegatta, uses photography to create images that, simultaneously recognizable and surreal, are expressive of his suspension between two worlds. This show, integrating influences of Milan and Tokyo into a Bay Area Gallery, is not to be missed!
Exhibition Dates: July 19, 2011 to August 19, 2011
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 21 5pm to 7pm
Curated by Fabiola Gironi and supported by the Italian Institute of Culture of San Francisco
"Hands Near the River" by Leonardo Pellegatta
"Rice Field" by Leonardo Pellegatta
June 3rd, 2011
Luis Gutierrez and friends
On Thursday, May 26 LAM hosted an event at Togonon gallery to honor Luis Gutierrez and his exhibition entitled “Emotion and Conviction.” LAM is a membership-based community that is committed to uniting Latino professionals in support of the arts, culture and education. LAM’s event at Togonon gallery provided members with the opportunity to view Luis Gutierrez’s works and to speak one on one with the artist about individual pieces, not to mention nibble on delicious appetizers and taste authentic Latin American Tequila and Rum. Towards the end of the night Gutierrez addressed the crowd with a speech, though it felt more like an intimate conversation. He spoke about his works in the show, which are as visually complex as some of the political and cultural aspects they grapple with. He noted that one particular painting took him fifty years to paint, that is, his entire artistic career worked as a learning experience that culminated in his final works. He also spoke about his personal journey in becoming an artist, and said that he was both humbled by the struggle it required and blessed by all of the help he had along the way.
Left to Right: Julina Togonon with Giovanni Gonzales and other members of LAM
Left to Right: Luis Gutierrez and Giovanni Gonzalez
May 21st, 2011
May 03 – Jun 11
by Allegra Fortunati
Educated in the United States and Mexico, Luis Gutierrez is touted as a Mexican-American artist. Nevertheless, his art is not hindered by the hyphenated tribalism of identity politics of the past few decades. His work includes no Virgins of Guadalupe, no bleeding hearts or other Mexican symbols; instead, it is dominated by abstraction and assemblage. According to the artist, he looks toward New York as a model of artistic value, but the high-quality expression of his art just might make Gutierrez an overlooked Bay Area treasure.
Despite the title of this exhibition, his earliest piece in the show is from 1967, a thickly impastoed, brilliantly colored work of oil on board titled Red Abstraction. (Disclaimer: I am a sucker for impasto.) Inspired by Robert Rauschenberg and Joseph Cornell, he constructs his assemblage pieces from small objects collected over a lifetime. The resulting compilations of Americana are an anthropologist’s dream. Of particular note is Panic Button (1985–2010). Begun in 1985 and only completed last year after Gutierrez cleaned out his studio, it is an intricate, untiring, and nostalgic work filled with, among other things, hardwood and plastic rulers; toys; colored pencils; seed packets and advertisements; and images of the artist, a dough-boy, Mickey Mouse, and an Aborigine.
His more recent assemblages are much simpler, but no less powerful. Where is My America? (2010) hints at the political passion underlying some of Gutierrez’ other artworks. It is a wooden box, attached to a twenty-by-twenty-four-inch board,
Panic Button, 1985-2010; assemblage, 30 x 36 in. Courtesy of Togonon Gallery, San Francisco.
covered by hard plastic and stuffed with an American flag. Over the flag, a large red weathervane arrow points down, surely a comment on America’s moral, political, and financial decline.
Gutierrez often works in series, and one of the most poignant of them in this exhibition includes his works on Hurricane Katrina. All acrylic on heavy paperboard, the series seems to start with New Orleans #1 (2007), an ordered abstraction done in colors repeated throughout: light gray, black, orange, turquoise, and dark greens, blues, and yellows. A stand-out, Katrina #1 (2007) is a cracked, light gray whirlpool of chaos over a predominately black background, suggesting the ordered city of New Orleans descending into the catastrophe of Katrina.
Conviction and Emotion: The Art of Luis Gutierrez from the 1970s to Now is on view at Togonon Gallery, in San Francisco, through June 11, 2011.
Allegra Fortunati holds graduate degrees in Political Science and Art History. She lives and works in San Francisco as a freelance writer for several publications, both local and national.
May 20th, 2011
We moved in! Suitcases full of paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, our drill in hand, nails and tape-measure. Who would have expected a hotel to be such a welcoming place for art? We checked in the Phoenix hotel Wednesday, along with another thirty or so galleries, and by Thursday night: transformation!
Art takes over. Excitement is in the air. We keep the bed, it becomes a platform for sculpture. We take out the bedside tables and the lamps. We bring our old floor lamps from the gallery; and two light boxes. Take down the curtain, let’s install a piece of sculpture. Connie Harris’ Counting Time is perfect. Connie’s intricate knitted copper wire creates a visually permeable barrier and invites people to look closer. The photography section, illuminated by Dean Dempsey’s light boxes strikes a careful balance between the older and the new, the teacher, Jack Fulton, and Dean and Lucia Zegada’s younger generation. Color and light, and subject matter: let’s propose some subtle political juxtapositions: Servando Garcia’s Untitled (drawing of three figures on a couch with their faces erased with bold heavy black strokes) and Connie Harris’s interwoven colorful letters in Glisten Like Wild Beasts – Homage to James Joyce. Hidden behind block eraser marks, or colorful phrases, or in illegible Farsi calligraphy (check out the Pantea Karimi’s Love Letters in the closet);or in the bathtub!
Dean Dempsey’s suspenseful Berries found a temporary home in the bathroom, which provided, interestingly enough, unique viewing conditions for the work that provoked some strong reactions. Unique conditions for art viewing: that’s ArtPad SF. For the opening night the motel transformed into an open and inviting neighborhood where art and music, and dance and all kinds of performance created a party atmosphere difficult to resist.
May 14th, 2011
WHAT: Togonon Gallery Show at ArtPadSF
WHEN: May 19 – 22, 2011
WHERE: The Phoenix Hotel
601 Eddy Street (at Larkin Street)
San Francisco, CA 94109
HOURS: Thursday: 7PM–12AM (VIP Preview & BRAF Benefit)
MORE INFO: www.artpadsf.com or call 415 364 5465 (SF)
TICKETS: $10 – General Admission
$50-$125 – VIP Preview Party (includes access to the Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
OPENING NIGHT TICKET INFORMATION:
Chambers Lounge and Poolside Soiree
$125 online presale; $150 at the door
7:00 pm – Midnight
Includes premiere opportunity to view and purchase art, evening performances, DJs, passed hors d’oeuvres, hosted bar, and exclusive access to the Chambers Lounge from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
(Includes access to the Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
Poolside Soiree Only
$50 online presale; $75 at the door
7:00 pm – Midnight
Includes preview access to purchase and view art, evening performances, DJs, hors d’oeuvres, and a complimentary cocktail beverage. (Includes access to the Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
April 15th, 2011
Togonon Gallery had the pleasure of introducing New York-based photographer Dean Dempsey at the opening reception last week. The exhibition featured photographs from his two series, Artifice and Fragmentations, which were provocative, challenging, and unfamiliar. Thursday night was filled with lots of high energy and enthusiasm for the artist’s first solo show at the gallery. Here is a glimpse of the successful turnout at Dean’s opening:
March 31st, 2011
Exhibition: Friday, July 19 to August 19
Opening Reception: July 21
Italian-born, Tokyo-based photographer Leonardo Pellegatta showcases his recent works. He explains: “I have always been interested in the way our memory is tied to the landscape we occupy-both habitually and only briefly, when we are moving through in-between places”. Pellegatta has exhibited in Paris, Switzerland, Milan and Tokyo.
March 10th, 2011
I had the pleasure of introducing long-time artist, Suzy Barnard to the guests of Togonon Gallery’s reception for the artist and her latest work in the exhibition “Atmospheres and Undercurrents”. She spoke of her focus upon this subject matter, which is one of the oldest classical subjects in painting other than archeological and portraiture. She also revealed that she does not use brushes but palette knives and other similar instruments to layer and scrape the surface in a process that is simultaneously additive and reductive.
Within days of this opening, collectors have claimed several of the paintings. Art critic Kenneth Baker met me at the gallery to view the show as he has viewed her work before and is diligent about following artists that interest him from year to year to evaluated and enjoy their development.
March 3rd, 2011
My studio work area is covered in a patina of greyish blue paint, from years of handling colors to do with a water and sky. I scrape and drag oil paint around with tools purchased from the hardware store: mud knives, used for mudding and taping sheetrock. I used to use brushes, and tried to find the largest sizes I could get my hands on, in order to make broad, uninterrupted sweeps across the panels, but discovered that it was much more efficient to use these flexible blades. Initially, it was a way to simply get the paint on in large areas before swooping the brush across. I soon found that these tools created effects that brushes were not capable of. When I am mixing colors, manipulating paint, smearing it around, simultaneously putting it on and taking it off, building up layers, scraping them back down, I am in my element. It’s physical and very messy, and I have to dress from head to toe in paint be-smirched garments.
I look out of my window at Pier 70′s Noonan Building, and scan the water. There may be many ships out there on any given day, but it’s only when the light and weather are aligned to make them resonate as possible paintings, then I get busy with my camera and document before they shift and the moment is gone. If I’m very lucky, I have a few hours of bliss while the ship stays still, the light stays just right, and I’m poised and ready to paint! Within moments, though, everything can transform into a completely different scene, simply by the movement of some clouds. Sometimes I am in a frenzy trying to capture a sequence of amazing changes all at once. That’s when things become very hectic and messy, and I’m in heaven! When the view isn’t calling to me, I have a treasure trove of photographs to refer to, which help me remember and conjure up bygone “ah-ha” moments.