Curatorial Projects > Motion Graphics: In and Beyond the Street (2012)

Motion Graphics: In and Beyond the Street

June 13 – August 25, 2012
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA

A group exhibition featuring work by Evan Bissell, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Chad Hasegawa, Ricardo Richey, Favianna Rodriguez, and Eric Staller

This exhibition looks at a diverse range of street art and the practice underlying social engagement and artistic work in the public sphere. The six artists included in the exhibition – muralist and painter Ricardo Richey, painter and educator Evan Bissell, painter and performer Ana Teresa Fernandez, muralist and painter Chad Hasegawa, graphic artist and printmaker Favianna Rodriguez, and kinetic and interactive sculptor Eric Staller – have all created work in and for public interaction, yet maintain a broad range of practices that transcend popular notions of what has come to be defined as street art.

Initially inspired by the publication of Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo (Abrams, 2009), this exhibition celebrates an ever-evolving artform — a growing interconnected global network of artists manifesting a vibrant form of social and political activism and powerful aesthetic innovation that continually challenges boundaries of ownership, space, and social agency. Indebted to but not constrained by the terrain carved out by the pioneering artistic forms of graffiti and street art, this exhibition features work by artists who have worked both in and beyond the street.

About the participating artists’ work in Motion Graphics: In and Beyond the Street:

Ricardo Richey, known as "Apex" to the graffiti world, has been a staple of the street art scene nationwide since he was a teenager, and is widely regarded as one the creative mainstays in San Francisco’s fertile street art community. He has worked with many graffiti and street art legends (including Vulcan, Twist, and Neon) and continues to collaborate with and mentor younger artists both in galleries and on the streets. Having explored abstract letter-forms for close to two decades, his painting style embodies and exudes architectural three-dimensional qualities, a methodology he has consistently employed. The canvases he works on (in the studio and on the streets) transcend their conceptual typographical bases by transforming flat surfaces into visual portals that extend beyond the physical plane of the painted surface. Richey presents new work that manifest these ideas into sculptural form, demonstrating his diverse talents in working with material beyond paint in transforming letter-forms beyond two dimensions.

Evan Bissell is an educator and painter who has successfully completed a number of ambitious community based public art projects. Earlier this year, he worked with Larkin Street Youth Services (LSYS) over several months to define and investigate the nature and limitations of compassion, resulting in the creation of youth participant created symbols of compassion: bold medallion-like paintings installed in public in the Tenderloin. Using these paintings as a framing device for his work, he created a rotating set of ephemeral portraits in chalk pastel that depicted LSYS staff and youth clients interacting with themselves in a self-chosen compassionate gesture. Inspired in part by the practice of Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas, the portraits were left untreated and washed away each week before the following portrait was created. Bissell presents a time lapse video of these portraits created earlier this year, the only documentation of a process conceptually designed to be ephemeral and fleeting.

Ana Teresa Fernandez, well-known for her majestic, hyper-realistic oil paintings that confront gender and labor issues, presents two video pieces documenting recent performances in public. Borrando la Frontera: Erasing the Border is documentation of a one-day performance by Fernandez at the border wall separating Playas de Tijuana, Mexico from Border Field State Park in San Diego that runs along the beach straight into the Pacific Ocean. Using an extremely tall ladder, a generator, and spray gun, and dressed in her performance outfit consisting of a black cocktail dress and black pumps, she painted the metal bars of the border wall a pale blue, mirroring the color of the sky. From a distance, it looks as if an entire section of the wall had been removed. Ice Queen is documentation of a 45-minute performance by Fernandez on the streets of West Oakland wearing a pair of stilettos cast entirely out of ice, standing on top of a sewer grate as the shoes gradually start to melt and break apart.

Chad Hasegawa has created a large body of work both in galleries and on the streets as murals, including on The Luggage Store Gallery’s roll-down door and on the renowned block of Clarion Alley. Growing up in Hawaii, he developed his technique within the graffiti world. He came to San Francisco to study design at the Academy of Art University and went on to intern at a number of top advertising agencies. His energetic painting style now relies on manipulating large amounts of mistinted latex paint to create portraits of bears. In addition to their reputation of being fiercely protective of their young, bears are highly respected in many cultures and are considered to be ancestral spirits. They have played a prominent role in the arts and mythologies of numerous cultures, ranging from Russia, China, Finland, Scotland, Korea, and the U.S. Many of his bear portraits throughout the city are intended to be protective figures in the neighborhoods they inhabit. He presents a new oversized site-specific mural in the gallery,

Favianna Rodriguez is a celebrated printmaker and artist who was named as one of 50 Visionaries who are changing the world by the UTNE Reader. Renowned for her vibrant posters dealing with issues such as war, immigration, globalization, and social movements that have been wheatpasted in the streets, she has lectured widely on the use of art in civic engagement. She presents two new large format prints that look at the recent rise of deportations of non-citizen parents of children born in the U.S. Between January and June of 2011, the U.S. government carried out more than 46,000 deportations of the parents of U.S.-citizen children, impacting an entire young generation. Over 5,000 children are now in foster care facing tough barriers to family reunification because their mother or father is detained or deported. Street art has historically given voice to the voiceless and this new work brings attention to this issue.

Eric Staller has produced a large body of work spanning sculpture, photography, and modified vehicles that have been seen internationally, both inside galleries and museums and on the streets. He recently moved to San Francisco after living abroad in Amsterdam for 15 years. He presents a series of long time-exposure photographs he created in the late 1970s when we was living and working in New York City, seminal early examples of contemporary light painting photography. He worked on the streets of the city in the middle of the night, inventing and staging choreographies to create fantastical architectures of volume and light with 4th of July sparklers and movement. Bursting with frenetic energy, the photographs capture these fleeting late night street performances where Staller activated the concrete and asphalt urban fabric with gesture and composition.

- Kevin B. Chen