CAKE by Camille Holvoet, 2008.
The recent opening of a gallery exhibition at Creativity Explored in the Mission District was a reminder of just how much San Franciscans love their food. The exhibit, entitled Tasty, highlighted the work of local artists who had explored the shape and color of eating in a variety of media. During the reception, both the small gallery up front and the large studio space in back were packed wall to wall with friends, donors and hungry viewers. It was the most crowded I’d ever seen their gallery. Attach the word "food" to any event here in Northern California, especially if your normal operations have nothing to do with anything edible, and you can expect to sell out.
In this month’s noise of food and more food, though, the art on the walls at Creativity Explored reminded me of two vital gifts, the same forces that pushed me into my own work and that inspire me still after all these years. One, the power of unleashed creativity and uncensored expression to reveal who we are as individuals. And two, the power of people coming together to support each other and help each other thrive.
Camille Holvoet, one of the studio artists at Creativity Explored, is known for her rich, lush oil pastels of cakes, pies and pastries.
If you haven’t visited the exhibit yet, please try to carve some time out of these waning weeks of summer to stop by and see the works. Be sure to linger at Steven Greeter’s Popsicles, Kevin Roach’s interpretation of meat in Pork Cut Chart, the vivid montage of green in Peter Cordova’s papier mache Vegetable Bowl, John Patrick McKenzie’s hand-lettered Tablecloth, Betty Benard’s Watermelon collage, and Camille Holvoet’s many cupcakes. They are truly stunning, and while I may be biased about the provocative images (yes, a few of those red dots marking sold paintings and sculptures are mine), I also believe Creatively Explored to be one of the most important nonprofits in the Bay Area. Their mission, to support the creative efforts of developmentally disabled adults, has been realized through an ambitious vision pushed forward with much hard work. In addition to offering a safe studio space and workshops for their artists, they promote their artists’ works at their Valencia Street gallery and in museum exhibits around the world. Like many mainstream, for-profit galleries, half of the money received from buyers goes directly to the artist.