ALAMEDA -- The popUp Gallery's new exhibit entitled, "Naturally," opened March 14 as part of the 2nd Friday Estuary Art Walk at Autobody Fine Art Gallery.
This latest exhibition from gallery directors Mi'Chelle Frederick and Gabriele Bungardt invites viewers to appreciate the beauty, diversity and interconnection people share with nature. Nine Bay Area artists explore the complex relationships and ask the audience to rethink the role as caretaker.
Mi'Chelle Frederick presents a series of mixed-media drawings done with sensitivity and careful thought. The artist works in graphite and watercolor, and adds one line of poetic text to each drawing. The combination of the visual drawing with the simple text asks the viewer to think deeply about the loss of species, and what this means for future generations.
"I would like us all to think about the short-term, quick-fix solutions to long-term problems. Nature is complex, deeply diverse and interconnected to all that we do," Frederick said.
In the drawing, "Tomorrow Totem," the artist depicts a woodland forest in watercolor on one side of the drawing, and creates a totem consisting of a wolf, an elk, a big horned mountain sheep and an eagle on the other side. The single line of text reads, "and when they saw what they had lost, it was too late."
In a drawing entitled, "The Last Flight of the Bumble Bee," Frederick uses primarily watercolor in bright colors to lovingly depict a lone bumblebee on its cone, dripping with honey juxtaposed over our earth, as it floats away in the background of space. The poetic text written on the drawing reads, "The world fell silent and ceased to spin as the last flight of the honey bee came to an end."
Ceramic artist Flavia Krasilchick is originally from Brazil, but has made Alameda home.
"I love the birds, and I am inspired by sandpipers, egrets, herons, and pelicans and spend hours watching them," she said. "I decided to create ceramic sculptures that represent goddesses with a bird's head and wings. All of my sculptures have breasts in order to honor women because it represents nurturing and caring, and the wings represent freedom.
"My favorite sculpture is entitled, "Madre Plaza de Mayo" which refers to the Argentinian mothers who are in mourning for their "disappeared" children. Every day, they meet in the square in Argentina to protest," Krasilchick said. Upon entering Autobody Gallery, one might be drawn to the bright colors and bold composition of Stephen Namara's paintings. The artist works in oil on canvas, and his large painting entitled "Flight Pattern" is stunning.
"My work is representational, as opposed to realistic," Namara said. "I prefer to work in large scales because when a painting is this large, the painting comes to you. When I paint on a smaller scale, I must go to the painting. I live in the Richmond district in San Francisco, and this is the view from my window. I can look out and see Point Reyes, birds, and the beauty and color of the sea. I paint scenes that allow the viewer to see whatever they want in my paintings, and everyone interprets it differently."
Artist Susan Rivier is a retired teacher who has been a painter and a printmaker. For this exhibit, she has sculpted human forms from manzanita branches from a storm in 2011.
"I couldn't bear to throw out these beautiful trees, native to California. The trunks are very fleshy, and remind me of the human form, so that is what they became. I don't lacquer them with anything, and I don't want to cut everything away from the branches themselves. I try to leave something to the viewer's imagination. My sculptures are completely green and eco-friendly," Rivier said.
Shari Arai DeBoer presents her etchings using aquatints. Each one of her prints are handmade, and she prints in different colors and on all types of paper. Her piece entitled "Roots; Fragility and Strength" is autobiographical and personal.
"My family owned a plant nursery and I grew up taking care of plants. It was quite a lot of work, but I love this subject matter," said Arai DeBoer.
Artist Marya Wintraub presents a series of graphite and charcoal drawings depicting her travels to the Galapagos Islands 10 years ago.
"I had always wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands and after returning, I wanted to create drawings that integrated my experiences there. The diversity of life is just so astounding on those islands. I am a figurative artist, so I decided to incorporate the human form with all the incredible animals I saw while there," Wintraub said. Photographer Pernilla Person said: "I am inspired by painters, so I work in the daylight with a 35 mm camera and a macro lens. I love abstract work with strong colors. I want the viewer to have a sensual experience of my photographs, to see and taste the images."
In the series, "String of Life," Person takes the viewer deep into the cellular level of leaves in a black-and-white depiction that reveals the delicate structure.
Artist Mark Taylor works in collage.
"I decided to do this series based on landscapes and create it from the cover art of popular science fiction paperbacks from the 1950s and 1960s. These books always had a post-apocalyptic theme on their covers, where the end is always near. Anyone familiar with them will recognize the very particular color scheme," he said. Taylor blends the bold colors of the sci-fi covers with recognizable urban landscapes.
Lisa Jacobs creates ceramic sculptured luminaries that are organic and textured. She works from her childhood memories of starfish, sea urchins and shells to create sculptures and pottery.
"Naturally" runs until April 11 at popUp Gallery, 1517 Park St., Alameda. For more information, go to www.popupautobodygallery.com.