Embark Exhibition Catalogue

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The inaugural exhibition at Embark Gallery, located in Fort Mason in San Francisco, which shows the work of current MFA students from seven local accredited nonprofit universities. This show is around the theme "Embark."

Text of Embark Exhibition Catalogue

  • Paroxysm of meaning, 2014; acrylic and screen printing ink of muslin

    EMBARK EXHIBITION02.20.15-03.22.15

    g a l l e r y


    Bobby Anspach

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    Cover Image by Michelle Ott. From the series Antarctica With/Without, (cutout) 2013



    Bobby Anspach

    Jose Figueroa

    Matthew Goldberg

    Omar Mismar

    Jacqueline Norheim

    Michelle Ott

    Courtney Sennish

    Matt Smith Chavez

  • g a l l e r y

  • Angelica Jardini | GALLERY DIRECTOR

    Our inaugural exhibition Embark highlights the diversity of talent flourishing in Bay Area schools. The innovation from these programs is made possible in part by the collaborative exploration of ideas among peers. Our organizations goal is to facilitate similarly productive dialogues beyond isolated institutions, an objective the artists represented here have proved exceedingly worthwhile. The conceptual significance of each selected artwork was both strengthened and complicated by the others, resulting in a dynamic exchange.

    Following the theme of embarkation, perspectives on transition and transformation emerged. There is emotional resonance in Omar Mismars search for human connection within urban chaos. The synthetic recreation of an industrial landscape in work by Courtney Sennish suggests anxiety about our increasingly man-made surroundings. Likewise, Antarctica With/Without by Michelle Ott considers irreversible changes made on the path towards progress and in the name of commerce. Matt Goldberg playfully gives visibility to this unending cycle of consumption in Cadillac Treadmill, while Matt Smith Chavez conceals the course taken by the images in his digital paintings, leaving us to wonder how he got there.

    Though conceptual in approach, expressions of the personal are also present. Jose Figueroa explores the relationship between inner experience and outward identity. In a whimsical, self-reflexive installation that follows the narrative of a dream, Bobby Anspach describes an expedition to create new work. And Jacqueline Norheims photo collages seem to be as much about the discovery of personal limitations as they are unfamiliar landscapes.

    These are just a few of the similarities and differences that demonstrate the value in uniting these networks of creativity. But perhaps the most important commonality is a level of thoughtfulness and originality that inspires promise for the future of Bay Area art.

    On view from February 20 to March 22, 2015, the inaugural exhibition titled Embark relates to the physical location of the gallery. Housed in the historic Fort Mason Center, once called the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, the very architecture of the Embark gallery is imbued with the spirit of the 1.6 million passengers who came to Fort Mason to commence voyages into the unknown. Artists were asked to submit works of any media pertaining to the theme of embarkation: the inception of change, beginning anew, and journeys of any kind. Whether the understanding of Embark was narrative, philosophical, abstract or otherwise, artists were encouraged to provide innovative submissions with exploration and risk-taking in mind.


    Statement by the artist

    This Is a Fucking Joke follows the artists creative process in a uniquely self-referential narrative. The fourteen station installation uses hand written drawing and text pieces accompanied by various archival elements, which keeps the story floating in a space somewhere between the real and the imagined. Though dreamlike, the events detailed act as significant turning points, experiences that potentially signify the beginning of a critical responsibility felt by the artist as he moves forward with his work.

  • This is a Fucking Joke, 2014; Apple computer, paper, marker on paper, paper on paper, ink on paper on paper, tape, absent tape which unfortunately removed bits of paper from paper when removed from previously pristine paper***, image of floor on computer, wood, glue, wood glue, (carpet, rug, towels (from the home of Bobby Anspach)), childrens art kit, craft pom poms, love, tru-ray construction paper, hand blown glass vase, speakers, binaural beats, iPhone, light, this, floor, walls, space, person, tea bag label things, green, blue, yellow, red, purple, orange, cardboard, applesStatement by the artist

  • Untitled (The Perfect Way), installed in an old suitcase by a window with a view of the Golden Gate bridge, requires us to consider seemingly contradicting realities and suggests that our conception of mutually exclusive states of being is flawed.

    The illustrious bridge - in itself a symbol of embarkation, to the West and towards industrial progress - is prominently featured in the video. East and West, past and present, public and private. These are just some of the binaries probed in The Perfect Way. The video considers the contrast between the iconic bridge as a beacon of human achievement and the macabre reality that thousands of people have ended their lifes journey by jumping off of it into the bay. A suicide hotline holding message speaks to that tension, to the precarious stasis between expectation and reality, hope and despair, life and death.


    Jose Figueroa

  • Untitled (The Perfect Way), 2013; video-installation, variable dimensions

    Categorizations of sexuality and issues of visibility are addressed as sex is simulated by this figure and a male blow-up doll.

  • My aim is to rearrange reality through a process of equal parts creation and discovery. With a strong use of appropriationwhether its from canonical art history or the free section on CraigslistI am attempting to recreate the world from the world, resulting in new and unexpected contexts. The objects I make speak a specific language of mash-up and amalgamation. Its as if the world were a snow globe that was shaken up and put back down with everything slightly off.

    Cadillac Treadmill speaks to both the futility and possibilities inherent in our conception of progress. Goldberg considers the work to be an icon of the American dream. The treadmill of course goes nowhere, a symbol of monotony and fruitless labor that is emphasized by the hood ornament of a vintage Cadillac, a luxury vehicle now rendered useless in both function and value. On the other hand, the found objects begin a new life as part of the artwork, and as the perpetual motion of the treadmill strips away the paint applied to the tread, it creates a new image. Though, as the artist notes, The longer it runs, the more it destroys itself, leaving only its remnants be-hind.


    Matthew Goldberg

  • Cadillac Treadmill, 2014; treadmill, paint, faux marble, hood ornament

  • The Path of Love #03; 2014; performance, Grindr, neon. Manufactured by Shawna Peterson.


    For a period of 30 days, I took a walk every day, navigating through the city using Grindr, a geo-location gay mobile app that tells the users the vicinity of gay men around them. Each day I picked a man I desired, and tried to get as close as possible to him using the app. I kept a record of my routes and traced them into paths. Few of these paths became neon sculptures.

    How can we envision the physical paths we walk in an increasingly technological environment? Omar Mismars Path of Love project does just that. The realms of public and private are blurred as Mismar selects subjects from the app and attempts to make a real life connection. His sculptures are a concrete expression, a product of an emotional journey. Though the intense vibrating color of the bright red neon seems to reference seedy urban encounters, the detailed presentation of his search is quite intimate, even perhaps sentimental. A sad sentimentality, nostalgic as the hope for huma