May 22, 2017
Drawings from the early 1960's by Sonia Gechtoff on view at Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art
Ma7 22, 2017


Drawings from the early 1960's by Sonia Gechtoff on view at Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art
Ma7 22, 2017

Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art is presenting, “Drawings from the Early 1960’s”, an exhibition of select drawings from the vibrant Abstract Expressionist, Sonia Gechtoff. Born in 1926 in Philadelphia, Gechtoff arrived in San Francisco in 1951 and became immersed in a potent mix of artists, poets and jazz musicians feeding off each others’ energy. Here she shared her social and professional life with such famous Bay Area artists as Hassel Smith, Jay DeFeo, Philip Roeber, Madeleine Diamond, Julius Wasserstein, Ernest Briggs, Elmer Bischoff, Byron McClintock, Deborah Remington and her husband, James Kelly.

It was an exciting time to be an artist and an exhibition that included the work of Clyfford Still inspired her to try her hand at abstraction. She was enthralled by the expansiveness in his paintings and felt she could more fully develop her own concepts in that style. In her own words, “The whole idea of painting for it’s own sake and that the idea of searching for an image went out the window. It was like opening a huge door.” Also, the fact that female abstract expressionists in San Francisco did not face the same discrimination as their New York counterparts helped. There was a transparency present, and lack of inhibition which Gechtoff thrived in.

From that point on, Gechtoff began working on large-scale oil paintings containing expressive gestural brushwork that would become her signature voice. Using a palette knife loaded with several colors, she applied vast sweeps of paint across her canvases in luscious, energetic full-body movements. She then applied this to another medium and from 1955 through the mid 60’s, produced a series of pencil drawings.

Gechtoff, working extensively with pencil, was unusual as most San Francisco Abstract Expressionists preferred the bolder effects of ink. But she thrived in the challenge of translating that same power and intensity, to a softer, more restricted medium. Many of the works in this exhibition share a racing jolt of line, often ejected in great profusion. Sometimes the line is strident and aggressive, while on other occasions it becomes an agitated scrawl. And yet, Gechtoff’s touch could also be soft and delicate, presenting a multitude of quivering, undulating strokes that sometimes suggests blades of grass stirred by a gentle breeze.

Sonia Gechtoff’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, San Francisco MOMA, the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Menil Collection, Houston, Texas, among many others. She has been exhibiting since 1948 and her most recent museum show, “ Women of Abstract Expressionism”, was organized by the Denver Art Museum. After the DAM, the exhibition travelled to the Mint Museum, Charlotte, and the Palm Springs Art Museum February 18–May 29, 2017. In conjunction with this drawing exhibit, the Anita Shapolsky Gallery, located at 152 East 65th street, is exhibiting “A Non-Objective Couple”, which focuses on paintings by Gechtoff and her late husband James Kelly.

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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