'Shaw & Co' Maps a Bay Area Family's Artistic Influence

Have you ever met a family so full of talent it doesn’t quite seem fair?

My own grandfather was fond of saying, “Who ever told you life is fair?” It was a rhetorical question that put a stop to all whines, all claims of personal affront. With that scolding in mind, I don’t begrudge the Shaw family (parents Richard and Martha, daughters Alice and Whitney, and son Virgil), helmed by artists, surrounded by artists, their unfair share of artistic output.

Shaw & Co, opening Friday, Nov. 15 at San Francisco’s Gallery 16, collects a sampling of that work alongside art from their large milieu. The expanded family exhibition includes work by Rebeca Bollinger, Travis Collinson, Mike Henderson, Don Ed Hardy, Robert Hudson, Sahar Khoury, Alicia McCarthy, Jim Melchert, Cornelia Schulz, Sonny Smith, Ehren Tool and Wanxin Zhang.

Some of those names will be familiar to ceramics-loving audiences—Richard Shaw taught at SFAI for two decades and at UC Berkeley for nearly three. His own work is characterized by a delightful trompe l’oeil style that renders ordinary objects (books, playing cards, a shoe) in clay and glaze.

Martha paints and creates small-scale sculpture, Virgil is a singer/songwriter and painter. Alice’s work spans photography, sculpture, textile and public art (most recently, a gold-leaf-covered black and white photograph of redwoods for SFO). Which is all to say: Don’t expect a show unified by medium or formal elements, but by an affinity between the assembled artists.

While I’d ordinarily say skip the opening, you can’t see any of the art anyway, Gallery 16 can accommodate quite the crowd. And how could you miss this intergenerational family art reunion? –Sarah Hotchkiss

November 15, 2019

Gallery 16
501 3rd St., San Francisco

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