If you manage to escape the gravitational pull of hot butter smell emanating from Mr. Holmes bakeshop next door to R/SF projects, you’ll find yourself inside one of San Francisco’s newest artist-run galleries, a two-story storefront focused on “contemporary work, alternative projects and offbeat programming from the Bay Area’s emerging talent.”
The current exhibition, a solo show from San Francisco-based artist Hadar Kleiman, is a study in the display methods of luxury goods, appropriately titled Premium Emporium. The show’s centerpiece is Mall Wall, a viewing station, complete with a small bench, for an inset display of cast and found objects bounded by a faux-gold frame. Positioned diagonally in the gallery’s ground-floor space, Mall Wall makes its construction -- and artifice -- fully visible, with raw wood supports, clamps and lighting fully on view behind the laminated wall.
Premium Emporium is rife with clever thematic and material connections. In the mezzanine space overlooking the ground-floor gallery, a trio of wall-mounted terrazzo diamonds, made by the artist with skills gleaned from YouTube demos, connect back to the downstairs sculpture Lingam, a phallic ceramic piece supported by a pedestal wrapped in terrazzo-patterned adhesive film.
An outlier in the exhibition is If The Tooth Fits, a sculpture of strange aesthetic decisions. Like Mall Wall, it has two views. From the front, oversized yellow teeth set in lurid pink gums support a purple plywood roof. Viewed from behind, the roof contains a mirror and leaf-filled diorama, at the center of which sits a small cobra figurine. The entire sculpture rests atop a table that would fit neatly into the interior decorating scheme of a Mel’s Diner.
Though fake foliage and images of pyramids and snakes appear elsewhere in the show, If The Tooth Fits stands out as a singularly weird piece, a rare occurrence in the highly curated world of white cube spaces.
Amid the many textures, colors and material choices in Premium Emporium, Kleiman demonstrates an impressive facility with her chosen supplies, easily incorporating synthetic fur, gold leaf glass tiles and a Corkcomfort floating floor into her examination of visual decadence and its many approximations.
Bonus points: After a visit to R/SF, follow your nose to gustatory decadence and sample Mr. Holmes’ signature “cruffin,” a hybrid pastry covered in sugar and stuffed with a flavor-changing-daily creme.
Premium Emporium is on view at R/SF projects in San Francisco through Feb. 26, 2017. For more information visit rsfprojects.com.