The Hayes Valley Market is a gigantic, temporary gallery. It'll soon be reduced to a pile of rubble but, for now, it's an enormous art space that's difficult to contend with. As an individual artist, you'd be overwhelmed by the space, unless you happen to have several elephant-sized sculptures or an installation the size of a football field in the works. This is why most of the shows in the Market have been group shows like this month's Off the Point, the first annual Holiday Show featuring artists with studios in the Hunter's Point Shipyard.
The show's featured works are those of poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and mixed media artist, JoeSam. Ferlinghetti's fiery Elegy for the Iraqi People is on display, along with a photo print of the artist with a mannequin wearing nothing but shoes sitting on his lap. JoeSam has wall sculptures in two areas of the gallery made of things like wood, metal, handcuffs, a boxing glove, and a wheel that actually turns (don't ask me how I figured out that last part).
There are countless artists represented in the show, and their work will seem familiar if you've visited the Shipyard during Open Studios weekend. It's a Holiday show because of the gift-y items on display -- jewelry, scarves, glass vases, paintings of puppies, and so on. If I had to include some of the items on my wish list, I'd probably choose Paul Gibson's painting of a robot or Ivy Jacobsen's tree-filled landscapes. Audrey Welch's decorative tiles made of paper, spray paint, and resin would make a nice gift and so would Scott Velardo's paintings on the covers of small books. For those hard-to-shop-for folks, check out Jane Wolverton's vividly painted, woven six-pack rings -- they look like a found-artist's interpretation of a crazy party, and they'd be perfect with one of those funny Holiday cards that says, "Happy Birthday Jesus."
If you're shopping for someone who hasn't been good this year, forgo the lump of coal and splurge on Maria Forman's Puppy Present a small but shocking painting of a dog doing his business. For the nautical types, pick up one of David Dion's laminated poplar sculptures -- some of them look like sinking ships. And lastly, if you're having a difficult time choosing a gift for your Goth niece or nephew who scowls at everything, there's a dark metal sculpture of a tarantula woman walking her pet monkey that's sure to make any black-eyeliner-wearing, Morrissey-loving kid smile for once.
In the spirit of giving, support your local artists -- skip the mall this year and head to the Market for all of your unique Holiday shopping needs.
Off the Point runs through December 29, 2007.