Notes from the Field: SF Fine Art Fair, May 21-23

ICA Board Member and cub reporter, Kathy Rosner-Galitz filed this report from last week’s Fair.

What do you say about a homecoming?  It was a relief to have the SF Fine Art Fair back in Fort Mason after a multi-year hiatus.  With nearly 80 exhibitors mainly from Northern California, the well-attended event felt familiar because so many of them were showing works by artists that have previously graced the walls of the ICA. And of course, everybody knew (ICA ED) Cathy Kimball.

On the way in, Ray Beldner’s ethereal “Pope” was visible in the entry way which had been “arted” by Catharine Clark Gallery.  Her booth in the center of the exhibition space also showed Sandow Birk, intriguing oils by Chester Arnold and thought-provoking sculptures by Al Farrow (a menorah and a mosque) made entirely of firearms and ammunition (a “fav” of mine).

I saw several pieces from Manuel Neri and Frank Lobdell in the Hackett/Mill booth, new mixed media work from Hung Liu at Nancy Hoffman Gallery (NYC), and the embroidered newspaper front pages by Lauren DiCiccio at Jack Fisher Gallery (which just had an opening for Heather Wilcoxen’s new works).

Other friends included the folks at Traywick Contemporary who showed Amy Kaufman and lyrical foliage-inspired vinyl work by Benicia Gantner.  Dolby Chadwick Gallery featured Louise LeBourgeois’s oils but had a Doug Glovaski or two tucked in the back.  Ernie Chagoya’s “Slippery When Wet” was presented by Gallery Paule Anglim along with Deborah Butterfield’s bronze horse sculpture that looked like driftwood.

Also notable among the works shown were the Madonna of woven newsprint and magazine paper by Gugger Petter (Andrea Schwartz Gallery, SF) and the hyper-lifelike sculptures of swimmers by Carole Feuerman (Sculpturesite Gallery, SF).  Comic relief was provided by Steve Lambert’s lit signage “Money Laundered” and  Lizabeth Eva Rossof’s Terra Cotta Army with the faces of Bart Simpson and Shrek (Charlie James Gallery, LA).

The fair featured informative panel discussions like the one on collecting prints with Renee Bott (Paulson Bott Press) and William Van Straaten (Riverhouse-VanStraaten) moderated by David Roth of SquareCylinder.com.  Key take-aways were:  1) the technical execution of the print is an important part of its value; 2) know your publishers and printmakers (not all are created equal);  3) understand archival issues; and 4) buy what you love.

Last but not least was our very own ICA Print Center booth showing prints from our Artist In Residence Program (Sintamarian, Glovaski, Meyers, Varnay-Jones, Best, Dillbohner, Diaz and Covarrubias).  It was our first fine art fair, but we caught up with old friends and made some new ones… just like any good reunion.