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APRIL EXHIBITIONS: 4/2 – 4/27

Atelier

Martin Aguilar, The Space Between

Artist’s Reception: April 3rd, 5:00 – 8:00

Martin Aguilar, The Space Between

Placing shadowy figures in stark metaphorical settings, Martin Aguilar stays close to the center of the abstract/figurative spectrum, embracing the freedom of abstract painting while maintaining clearly representational subjects.  Moving beyond an earlier interest in landscapes, his debut solo exhibit “The Space Between” focuses on the abstract human figure. Aguilar’s starkly limited palette and contrasting textures move beyond mere description and into the realm of examination.

“Painting fills me with a sense of accomplishment and integrity,” explains Aguilar. “I approach abstract painting with spontaneity, balancing form, color, and composition in my work.” Seeking above all to convey a sense of calm, the artist employs his figures in unconventional ways. Coalesced from layers of colors and varied textures, the figures are developed rather than drawn. Gestures are reduced to inclinations and movement is minimized into direction; the silhouette shapes quietly assert their form and solidity. Aguilar’s figures command a substantial presence, existing rather than doing, occupying as well as inhabiting their space, and revealing a steadfast insistence in their own validity.

Growing up in New Mexico’s bright landscape, Martin Aguilar developed an appreciation for color and light at an early age. Upon visiting San Francisco and discovering the abstract works of Hans Hoffmann and Richard Diebenkorn, he knew at once that he had found his new home and artistic niche. Aguilar completed his BFA in Painting and Drawing from Academy of Art University in 2010, while exhibiting in numerous group shows and auctions. His debut solo exhibit is the latest in Academy of Art University’s Emerging Artist Series.

 

Cannery Suite 104

Whitney Lau, Simple Enjoyment

Artist’s Reception: April 3rd, 5:30 – 7:30

The title of Whitney Lau’s debut solo exhibition “Simple Enjoyment” provides the perfect approach to experiencing her artwork. Finding beauty and meaning in familiar, the people in her life and places she frequents, Lau reminds us that when we look too quickly we see to little. Whether they be children at play, boats at anchor, or waves on the beach, Lau’s subjects evoke a sense of unhurried calm, and invite us to take a break from the frenzy of modern city life.

Whitney Lau, Simple Enjoyment

“The figures that I painted are people that I am familiar with in my life,”  explains Lau. “They could be my friends, my students in my pre-school art class, and the particular homeless that I pass by on the street.” By taking a straightforward approach with semi-loose brushstrokes, Lau keeps the focus on light and color and allows the inner beauty of her subjects to fully reveal itself. “I believe simple enjoyment could happen anywhere, as long as you are willing to open your internal eyes and look for it.”

Whitney Lau displayed artistic talent at an early age, but it wasn’t until she took a visual art class at her Hong Kong middle school that she discovered her “seed of passion.” She minored in art while completing a BA in Management at University of California, Merced, where she realized that painting was her true passion. Lau received her MFA in Painting from Academy of Art University in 2013 and today lives and works in San Francisco as a painter and art teacher.

 

Cannery Suite 108

Nathan Nash, Neglected Spaces

Artist’s Reception: April 3rd, 5:30 – 7:30

Nathan Nash, Neglected Spaces

Having spent his early life in rural Alaska, Nathan Nash grew up with little exposure to urban architecture. It’s no surprise then, that his move to San Francisco should profoundly influence his artistic vision. Combining artistic experience with a fresh viewpoint, Nash explores the structural aspects of architecture that pass beneath the notice of most city dwellers. His exhibition “Neglected Spaces” examines these unseen elements, the angles, corners, and surfaces that make up the urban environment.

“My paintings are an exploration of the subtle narrative between the planes and edges,” explains Nash . “Each plane is like an entity that interacts with other planes, creating an unspoken dialog as it encounters and interrupts other surfaces.”  Nash explores the unspoken dialog between intersecting surfaces, as well as the textures and edges that define them. Applying paint with various knives and grout applicators, he builds up texture rich layers that reflect the vibrant energy that inspires these works.

Nathan Nash received his BFA in Painting from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Alaska and California. He moved to San Francisco in 2009 to pursue his graduate degree, and completed his MFA in Painting at Academy of Art University in 2013. He has since moved back to Alaska, where he continues to work as an artist.

 

Cannery Suite 110

Jason Halley, Morbid Landscapes

Return Engagement

“Some people probably wish never to see the things I’ve seen,” states photographer Jason Halley. “But I believe my experiences have made me who I am today.”

Jason Halley, Morbid Landscapes

Working as a Staff Photographer for his hometown newspaper, Jason Halley repeatedly found himself face to face with death in his own community. Documenting the locations where human lives had come to violent or unjust ends forced Halley to confront not only their physical aftermath but also the social aftershocks. As he witnessed his community disconnect and withdraw in fear, he felt compelled to examine the subject most people choose to ignore. His current exhibit, “Morbid Landscapes” is the result of these experiences.

Highlighting the pathos of figures reduced to stain on the landscape, Halley preserves memory and moment, giving voice to the impact and repercussions felt by those left behind. “I didn’t want this idea of murder being allowed to flourish in the shadows,” he explains.  Working alone and playing the part of the victim in his reconstructed crime scenes, Halley explores his own relationship to the issue that has taken on such significance in his life. The large format view camera captures high resolution images that preserve every detail at presentation size, and fully envelop the viewer in the scene.

Jason Halley first discovered photography in a high school elective class. What began as a hobby has grown into a successful career as a studio photographer and photojournalist. Halley received his BA in Communication Design from CSU Chico, and completed his MFA in Photography at Academy of Art University in 2013. “Morbid Landscapes” was his master’s thesis project.

Jason Halley, Morbid Landscapes

Cannery Suite 112

Duanyang Li, Time-Fade-Decay

Artist’s Reception: April 3rd, 5:30 – 7:30

Duanyang Li, Time-Fade-Decay

Present becomes past, past becomes memory, memories fade and change over time.  Duanyang Li’s debut solo exhibition “Time – Fade – Decay” is an exploration of the process of change, depicting the ephemeral nature of the present moment. Each of Li’s abstract environments records an evolving conversation with the canvas as the transition of time is realized through morphing abstract layers.

“My landscapes express memories and times of change, with each layer representing a fading memory and reflecting the process of Time – Fade – Decay,” explains Li. Old themes give way to new as each successive layer of paint moves the focus ever forward in time . Foundations of past layers remain intact and viable though they are permanently altered by those that follow. The result is a harmonious whole, a summation of these sequential changes into a geographical landscape waiting to be explored.

Duanyang Li found early inspiration in the Chinese brush painting “Eight Shrimps” by Baishi Qi, and as a child wondered about the possibility of an artistic life. With a view toward entering the family business, Li completed his BA in Interior Architecture at Hubei Institute of Fine Art University. But after a year as an architect, he began to remember the love of painting that drew him to art in the first place. Duanyang Li moved to San Francisco and entered Academy of Art University, where he received his MFA in Painting in 2013.

 

625 Sutter

Cathleen Clarke, If You Ever Make it Home

Artist’s Reception: April 3rd, 5:30 – 7:30

Cathleen Clarke, If You Ever Make it Home

Using old family photos and found images as models, Cathleen Clarke’s latest solo exhibition “If You Ever Make it Home” examines age-old ambiguities about our relationship with the past. Inspired by memories of her midwestern childhood, Clarke’s visions of figures standing in barren fields wrapped winter coats confront the viewer with the fragility of life and the beauty of solitude.

Posing for a snapshot is not the same as posing for a painting, and Clarke exploits the difference to profound effect. Informally captured moments are deconstructed through the painting process as Clarke reconsiders the subjects in relation to their common environment. Expressions suggest an acute awareness of situation and surroundings, and reveal thoughtful emotion that is not always readily apparent at first look.

Born in Chicago, Cathleen Clarke eventually made her way to a small town in northern Illinois. Inspired by the peaceful solitude of country life, she began to paint in oils but eventually felt the need to leave small town life behind. Clarke settled in San Francisco and is currently working toward her BFA in Painting and Drawing at Academy of Art University.