Valentine's Day can be a kind of non-holiday, like a party gone wrong, where the highest offerings are heart-shaped-nothings, flowers, and the dinner-movie date. Fortunately February's smattering of art exhibitions affords something for everyone, so whether you're looking for a destination that will heat up a first date, open a door with your longtime partner, or to simply get away from all this love and affection here is KQED's guide to spending your V-Day out.
At Catharine Clark Gallery Kambui Olujimi's mixed media sculptures tantalize the gallery's open front room. In a gesture as tender and effortless as Picasso's "Bull's Head," each of Olujimi's sculptures pair the same two objects -- handcuffs and jewels -- with slight changes in patina and form. Each hangs off of two nails, the baubles appearing to crystallize off the cuff's chain, rough and delicate in even measures. The gallery also presents drawings by Jonathan Solo that make smooth transitions between coy magazine cut-outs and charged, erotic bodies.
Recommended to the piquant and the sado-elegant.
Meet your date at Pro Arts in Oakland, where two young artists, Chris Fraser and Weston Teruya (see Danielle Sommer's review of Teruya's show), are using their bodies and materials like it's 1969 all over again. Fraser's organically abstract videos bring swaying refractions of light through crevices in womb-like darkness, while Teruya's cautiously constructed paper replicas of industrial detritus bring love to cinder blocks, desk clamps, and barren girders. Both employ an intimate, qualified technique.
For smart, punctilious art-lovers.
"Flux #89," Dianne Romaine, 2006.
Head over to Chandra Cerrito Contemporary where two artists working in painting and sculpture host a more subtle conversation. Dianne Romaine has worked for several years within the strictest of formal constraints in a series called "Flux". Romaine paints woody-hued circles on wet canvas that soften at their edges and maintain boundaries like blood cells. The rear gallery features several sculptures of string by Sabine Reckewell, whose minimalist preparatory ink drawings impress the same alterations in space that her sculptures achieve. Both artists find warmth through calculated processes.
For the science-oriented looking for a hushed, pitch-perfect tête-à-tête
"All the Good Ones Get Away," Kenneth Lo, 2010.
Misery would like some company at Kenneth Lo's exhibition at SOEX. Lo has filled the space with tombstones and memorials, decorated with icons and text that take time to sink in. On the floor a grid of cement blocks are decorated with engraved panels that perfectly replicate Lo's formerly transient Facebook Wall posts, replete with friend's responses. But you'll want to spend time with "All the Good Ones Get Away" (2010), an engraving on marble, from memory, of everyone that has ever rejected Lo's romantic advances, and where they were at the time. This includes the same person at multiple locations, as well as a girl in high school whom he accidentally hit with a baseball bat ("[she] inexplicably lost interest in me") and while at a cousin's wedding both a girl ("a great dancer") and her mother ("also a great dancer. If I ever see her, or Irene, again I'll need to apologize.") His recollections are forthright and honest -- several names bare asterisks for "the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, at that time" -- but sad and severe for the same reasons. Is there any number of rejections that will stop us from pursuing the one we consider the most beautiful?
Recommended to the recently dumped. This exhibition will definitely make you laugh. Bonus: Shotwell's Bar is 2 blocks east on 20th.
If you're doing the dumping, you better pick another day for it. Instead take your date for a stroll in the Sculpture Garden at Recology San Francisco, the world's "only art park located at a garbage company." Situated atop a hill in a grove of trees, the garden is tranquil and fanciful. Artists in Residence at the SF dump have long been transforming the city's waste into sculptures that belie their material origin. Permanent works by Colette Crutcher, Rick Carpenter, and Marilyn Kuksht are graceful and calming.
Recommended to those who need to turn things around.
Finally, if you're the stay-at-home type, Google just made it one step easier. Applying Streetview technology to some of the world's greatest art museums, including the MoMA, the Tate, and the Met, the Google Art Project allows you to navigate through galleries, zooming closer into masterworks than any real-life guard would permit, and view information and videos about the work in the quick, clean layout that one would expect from this company.
Recommended to homebodies everywhere -- bring your own blanket.
PLEASE NOTE: Most art galleries are open Tuesday through Saturday, so you might have to get your Valentine's Day gallery crawl on a little early if you want to catch most of these shows with a date. But why not start the weekend off right? Kambui Olujimi is at Catharine Clark Gallery through February 19, 2011. Chris Fraser and Weston Teruya at Pro Arts Gallery through February 25, 2011. Sabine Reckewell and Dianne Romaine at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary through March 19, 2011. Kenneth Lo atSouthern Exposure through February 19, 2011. Recology Sculpture Garden ongoing. Google Art Project ongoing.
Olujimi image courtesy the artist and Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco. Romaine image courtesy the artist and Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland. Lo image courtesy the artist and Southern Exposure, San Francisco.