Saturday, March 8, 2008
the shock of the first year review is subsiding under a pile of woodcarving chips and the thick odor of oil. I spent some days under the sweatshirt hood, moping around. But I am ready to refuel. I went west for the Ann Gale opening at Hackett Freedman last week. After navigating SF traffic to retrieve my spouse, we parked in the rainbow-levelled parking lot, and elevatored up to a brightly lit gallery. Ann's work is intriguing on an lcd screen thumbnail, but captivating in-person. The varied marks are gestural, loose yet deliberate. Like giacometti's drawings & paintings, Ann seems to hone in on her sitter's face. As she approaches the head, brushstroke vary into delicate hatches or cuts, and a judicious application of stronger hue draws attention to an ear, neck, or chin. Up close, the faces are all texture, but from a step or two back, there is palpable presence. And I didn't tire of searching through the greys, blues and browns in the background. The tone of the paintings was sober (bordering on morbid) and beautiful. The interplay of these qualities left me sad, happy, and inspired to paint.