My Highlights from FOG Design+Art 2015

I like that many of the local galleries are highlighting works by artists from the area, and I found myself very drawn to those as a native San Franciscan. As well, as this is an art and design fair, I’m excited by the works that have objects and materiality at their core.

My Selection:

Amikam Toren, Of the Times - Thursday September 5 1991, 1991, at Jessica Silverman Gallery

Toren is an artist who has been making work for years but who I wasn’t aware of until recently. His paintings take the newspaper as a starting point, and when an entire day’s newsprint has been reduced to pulp, he uses it as his medium to create the paintings. What appear to be large abstractions are actually text—in this case, the letter ‘E’—and a visual diary for a specific date.

Takuro Kuwata, Untitled, 2014, at Salon 94

Kuwata is a young artist who is working with porcelain in fascinating new ways. The sculptures have unusual glazes and often appear broken or undone, but the final result is strangely joyful and visually compelling.  

Mitzi PedersonUntitled, 2014, at Ratio 3

Pederson’s work often combines materials that work in beautiful opposition to one another, such as thin thread or glitter with industrial cinderblocks, or in this case tulle with paint and wood. The results are ephemeral and minimal but powerful.  

Wendell CastleLow table, 1972, at R & Company 

Castle’s furniture has always resonated with me both formally and functionally. His works can exist as sculptures but invite everyday use that makes you stop and notice the way you interact with the objects that surround you. Living with one is not only fun but thought-provoking. His work is such a fantastic combination of art and design.  

Jay DeFeoUntitled, 1973, at Hosfelt Gallery

DeFeo was an artist, based in San Francisco, whose practice spanned a variety of media. She was best known for her masterpiece painting, The Rose (in the collection of the Whitney) but she also made beautiful photographs. Here we see one from the 1970s that highlights her interest in contrast, light, and the body.

John ChiaraThe Great Highway at Balboa, 2013, at Haines Gallery

Chiara creates unique photographs in hand-built cameras, without the use of film. His subject matter is most often the landscape around him—the Bay Area—and in this photograph, he captures Ocean Beach by burning and dodging the photograph to illuminate the sky, water, and sand. For me, his work always evokes powerful memories as though they are stills from a dream.

Robert AdamsNear Heber City, Utah, 1978, at Fraenkel Gallery

I love everything about Robert Adams’ photographs; the subject matter, the rich narrative behind his practice, and the beautiful prints themselves. He has spent 50 years chronicling the development of the West, and man's impact on nature. He defines how an artist can speak with the strongest voice but using the softest touch.

Robert BechtleAlameda Camaro, 1967, at Crown Point Press

Bechtle is another artist we are so proud to claim in the Bay Area. Crown Point Press, the incredible printing press, is also a local landmark. Bechtle made this work with them in 1967 and it embodies everything his practice has been about to this day—the vintage car, the domestic architecture, and the native plants, all casting the dramatic shadows he captures so well.  

Ron NagleBlunt Force Drama, 2011, at Rena Bransten Gallery

Nagle is a Bay Area treasure who has been making work for more than 50 years. His sculptures, usually ceramic, take many forms but always have a powerful presence. Often strange and with suggestive titles, the works invites you to engage with them both intellectually and physically. I always have to restrain myself from touching them.

Sara VanDerBeekChorrera, 2014, at Altman Siegel

VanDerBeek is an artist who makes photographs of sculptures she either finds or constructs herself. Whether printed small scale or quite large, the final work of art always explores color, form, and light in compelling and beautiful ways.  

Explore FOG Design+Art 2015 on Artsy.

Share article