Over the past few years Greg Lind has quietly built up a terrific group of San Francisco artists. He has also been known to let them take risks in his gallery space. In the artworld, risk means that a gallery might sometimes show work that is hard to sell because it is good art.
Lind's current show is a group of paintings and installations by Oakland-based artist Chris Duncan. Duncan is known for his rather complex geometrical installations of colored string and his cosmological motifs. For this show he has presented viewers with a decidedly aniconic group of works that are rather metaphysical in their nature.
His two wall installations, for example, one blue, the other pinkish-red have string radiating out from a central point to their edges. The colored backgrounds have little, painted star-like dots that give the viewer a heads-up that the works are not decorative but instead are addressing some kind of phenomenological moment.
Could that moment be the birth, or death of a star? A galactic explosion? The beginning of the universe? Or the end? Well whatever is being expressed -- the way it is presented invites wonder and conjecture. Refreshingly, Duncan is not trying to convince us of anything and allows his works to be beautiful without irony.
My favorite work hangs discreetly in the back room alcove. It is a kind of pointalistic portrait. Pretty amorphous as portraits go, it is an implied face composed entirely of little colored bits of paint. Mirrored eyes stare out from under the blanket of little colored specks of matter and energy.
As an aside, the band Pale Hoarse, played at the opening. Artist/musician Kyle Ranson and local ingénue Kim Pierce are a great duo whose simple, haunting ballads always create a hush in crowded rooms. Their performance was a perfect counterpoint to Duncan's show.
The Beginning. The Middle. The End. is at Gregory Lind Gallery through October 13, 2007.