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AUGUST EXHIBITIONS 8/1 – 8/30

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Cannery Suite 104

Michelle Edmunds – Roadside Masala

Artist Reception August 6th, 5:30-7:30pm

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If food can be considered a gateway to understanding a culture, then street food is the gateway that opens into the most vital heart of that culture, its common people. In her photo series Roadside Masala, Michelle Edmunds takes a photojournalistic approach to exploring these open air markets, where “organic” is just a simple fact, rather than a rallying cry or marketing strategy. As colors, methods, and ingredients are revealed, we catch glimpses of the economic undertones, ponder the faces of the people, and imagine the sounds, smells, and flavors, filling in the blanks from our own culinary memories and experiences.

“The journey of discovery that I took would ultimately lead me back home again, as many quests do,” says Edmunds. “And here in San Francisco, the images become a reflection of the India I had discovered, but with a shiny new twist.” We have grown accustomed to a culture of high-tech gourmet food trucks that tweet their pop-up locations to loyal lunchtime followers, yet the difference between them and the humble pushcart or market stall is one of degree, not essence. In San Francisco, as in India, street food provides a multi-sensory window into the common denominator of humanity: everybody eats.

Her love of photography dates back to her teens, and the gift of an Argus camera from her father. Her first subject was family dinners, and the dynamics of the give and take that went along with sharing a meal. Edmunds took darkroom classes in high school and went on to study Journalism at University of Colorado, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in 1984. Determined to keep pace with digital development in the field, she enrolled in the Master’s Program at Academy of Art University and completed her MFA in Photography in 2013. Today she lives and works in the Bay Area as a professional photographer, with a special emphasis on food and restaurant culture.


Cannery Suite 108

Fangkai Zhang – The Meditation of Landscape

Artist Reception August 6th, 5:30-7:30pm

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Forsaking modern city life in favor of distant, uncrowded horizons, Fangkai Zhang’s The Meditation of Landscape champions the serene over the frenetic, the horizontal over the vertical, the subtle over the audacious. Inspired by the discovery of a landscape far different from any he had known before, Zhang employs soothing colors and soft lighting to minimize the manmade, while providing thinking-space to ponder the natural. “Moving to California from China, I was immediately impressed by the vastness of the landscape in comparison to my country,” says Zhang. “This experience pushed me to explore and speak out the feelings arising in such a wondrous and vast space.”

In a time when digital photography is the default choice for most, Zhang embraces the deliberate slowness inherent in the large format film process. In shooting with a traditional 4×5 camera, each exposure must be carefully planned as the camera is set up, lighting considered, aperture and exposure calculated. The methodical process parallels a meditative practice, and compels the photographer to slow down and evaluate the environmental factors, at the same time inviting him to savor the experience of being part of that environment. Zhang seeks to portray an inner calm, free of pain, lies, or sorrows, that can only truly be found through photography.

Growing up in the crowded and bustling city of Tsingtao, China, Fangkai Zhang often felt nervous and uncomfortable, as his naturally introversive personality was constantly taxed and overwhelmed. As a child he sought refuge in art, studying traditional Chinese painting and later Graphic design at Soochow University, where he received his BA in 2010. Exposure to photography, in particular the work of Fan Ho, prompted Zhang to pursue his MFA in Photography at Academy of Art University, where he graduated in May 2015. The Meditation of Landscape represents the culmination of his thesis work.


Cannery Suite 110

Ramesh Chindam – Untold Expressions

Artist Reception August 6th, 5:30-7:30pm

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Ramesh Chindam’s Untold Expressions examines contemporary Indian themes and imagery, as seen through the lens of his own tragic memories. Taking an introspective approach, he allows powerful emotions to drive and vitalize the painting process, mining them for their pure energy without letting them dominate the final product. “When the viewer examines the quality of paint, they can feel what I felt,” explains Chindam. “But as you back away and take in the image as a whole, there is a sense of tranquility of life.”

Chindam approaches each subject individually, without trying to conform to a specific style. Some pieces favor portrait over figure, some favor abstract over reality, some using color lyrically while others more objectively. Emotional impact becomes the unifying factor, and it comes through loud and clear in the way contrasts are taken to their extremes. Intense sunlight, deep shadow, blazing reds, all assert their pictorial power of expression. “I have learned that even emotions which might be considered negative have reason and purpose, and that no human reaction is unnatural,” says Chindam. “That uncontrollable expression of existence is the essence of its beauty.”

Ramesh Chindam began painting at a young age. His father was a textile designer and weaver with a deep appreciation for the pictorial foundations of his craft, and encouraged his son’s artistic development, allowing him to focus on creative pursuits throughout his early education. Chindam attended the most prestigious art school in India, and received his BFA in Figurative Painting at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in 2004. He completed his MFA in Fine Art / Figurative Painting at Academy of Art University in 2010. His work has received numerous awards, been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions in the United States and India, and acquired for private and civic collections. Chindam currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Cannery Suite 112

Lauren Spigno – Secret Garden

Artist Reception August 6th, 5:30-7:30pm

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Combining the essence of a romanticized past with a modern voyeuristic view, Lauren Spigno’s Secret Garden seeks out a balance between surrealism and truth. “Through the organic juxtaposition of nature and the human figure, I strive to reclaim the beauty and freedom of the female form from the existing standards of modern society,” says Spigno. “My images are an expression of myself, and my yearning for a sense of belonging.”

Working in black and white, Spigno give narrative and implication the edge over objective reality. Divorced from any specific point in time, the photos break free from reality without sacrificing their photographic heritage. Spigno champions the connection to the past while liberating themes of beauty from the confines of a present day context.

Lauren Spigno completed her AA in Photography in 2013, and her BFA in Fine Art Photography in 2015 at Academy of Art University. She lives and works in the Central Valley of Califiornia. Her work has been featured in county publications and this year’s annual Photo LA. Secret Garden is her debut solo exhibition.


625 Sutter Gallery

The Photo Intensive – XIII Tales Marin Headlands

Artist Reception August 3rd, 5:30-7:30pm

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Every summer, Connie Begg’s graduate photography class The Photo Intensive shoots on location in the Marin Headlands. Students work to seek out interesting views, unique perspectives, and innovative approaches to photographing within a predetermined area. The class is comprehensive, covering all aspects of the photographic process, and finishes with a group exhibition at the 625 Sutter Gallery.

Note: Opening Reception is on Monday, August 3rd 5:30-7:30pm, rather than our normal First Thursday.


435 Jefferson Gallery

Academy Showcase

Artist Reception August 6th, 5:30-7:30pm

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Featuring recent works by student and alumni artists Ah-young Jeon and Ariella Greenfield. Located at the Cannery, you’ll find the new gallery out along Jefferson Street, where a whole new audience can discover our awesome artists!


Atelier Gallery

Alumni Spotlight

Continuing Exhibition: 7/2 – 8/30

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Based in painful memories of parental doubt and ridicule, Han Jiang transforms childhood drama into dynamic motivation and a source of inspiration for his painting series Dark Illusion. Themes of a fragile refuge sought in books and movies, of dolls and Chinese fairytales, are played out in luminous plastic-toy colors; fragile, frightened dolls submerged like drowned Ophelias, become surrogate vessels of emotional expression.

Translating mental imagery into paint, Shawn Vales abstract series Into Space begins with visualization through meditation. By allowing color and form to manifest entirely free of external stimulation, Vales taps inner energies in search of a balance not easily deduced, but simply felt. A series of juxtapositional dualities such as soft and hard edges, active and passive areas, thin and thick textures, parallel his inner negotiation between intuition and method.