Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dori Latman

Fritos and Champagne:

three-part exhibition of cooking, recipes, conversation and food

Dori Latman

: February 24-28, 2010
*Reception Friday, Feb. 26, 7:00-9pm

Dinner: April 5-10, 2010
*Reception Wednesday, April 7, 7:00-9pm

Dessert: May 17-23, 2010
*Reception Wednesday, May 19, 7:00-9pm

Beginning February 24th, in the Backroom Gallery, San Francisco artist Dori Latman explores the necessities and luxuries of food through drawing, writing and performance. Structured as a three course meal, Fritos and Champagne will take place as three related instances of eating activity – Appetizer, Dinner, and Dessert– with each course occurring in between the regular monthly gallery programming. The exhibition is part of Latman's larger body of work where she draws parallels between being in the kitchen and in the studio, between art and food.

For the first course, the Appetizer will show Mom's Cookbook Collection, where the artist has generated a gouache facsimile of each book cover numbering over 250 drawings. Also highlighted will be the context of the nearest bookshelves, the abundant cooking section at Adobe Books. Next, on April 7th, will be Dinner, a live cooking event and video installation, highlighting the subject of food at the intersection of art and life. Culminating on May 19th, the exhibition will present Dessert, emphasizing the conversations and social aspects of eating and cooking with a round table discussion. Invited guests will reflect on their experiences of art and food, particularly as both are processed and mediated experiences. As a result of the three course meal, participants and visitors will engage with food as an instance of real life, as a social commentary, personal expression and collective memory.

Dori Latman was born in New Jersey, 1979 and lives and works in San Francisco. In 2009, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Urban Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited at Queens Nails Projects, Root Division, Garage Biennale, Clara Street Projects, Temescal Contemporary, and Canessa Gallery. She received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, Massachusetts in 2001.

Curated by Devon Bella

Last chance to visit My Love is Another Kind

My Love is Another Kind, on exhibition at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery, is the debut solo exhibition of Gina M. Contreras. A recent graduate of San Francisco Art Institute, Contreras daydreams through screen prints and paintings. She is a witness to the small moments and idiosyncrasies of other people, specifically the elderly. The aged are an invisible other in American society to which Contreras creates loving narratives on the sweetness, loneliness and possibility in their lives while also drawing attention to the societal tendency to be dismissive and easily repulsed by our inevitable future existence.

My interest in the work of Gina Contreras comes from my own observations of my family. I have three living grandparents and I’ve watched them and listened to them and seen them have new experiences. The specialness in these moments captured lies in the depth and innocence that occurs simultaneously in experiences with my own grandparents. It is this same simultaneity linking depth and innocence that Gina Contreras is able to portray in her work. These are not simply old people, doing cliché, sad old people things, someone is taking time to notice them, and articulate on paper the small parts to their everyday and their very present need for love as well as desire for possibility.

The series If Only Things Were Like That is an installation of page selections from the hand screen-printed artist book of the same name. A new acquisition to the SFMoMA collection, If Only Things Were Like That, depicts an older couple listening to music, walking in the park, and embracing. What we learn from the book, that we don’t fully know from the installation is that this love depicted, is a dream of one of the women. As the book begins she is asleep, and as we turn the pages we see into her dreams of finding a partner to exist in her everyday with. On the last page, again the woman is sleeping and we realize the story was only her dream. The concurrent emotional range of sadness and hope that the viewer finds herself experiencing in the artist book is a great testament to the success of Contreras’ ability as a storyteller.

When asked what books Contreras turns to for her own inspiration (being that this exhibition is in a bookstore y’all) Gina casually states the alcoholic misogynist, Charles Bukowski, as a muse. Realize this, gentle reader, Bukowski dwells in the same issues as Contreras, love and loneliness, with a crudeness and awkward confessionary aspect that Gina’s images also mirror. Although a provocative favorite author, Bukowski speaks to a rawness and honesty in his observations and experiences that Contreras uses in theme, but covers in beauty. Contreras’ palette of beiges, rose colors, muted and mixed pastels create a feeling of home and nostalgia. Her use of floral patterns as a motif and as landscape considers the language flowers speak, in their history and representation. Flowers are fleeting and have a lifecycle, but are an eternal thematic design inspiration.

Just like love.

–Nicole Lattuca, Guest Curator