Candida Hofer presents a series of recent photographs that takes viewers on an international tour of rooms, both public and private, in schools, palaces, operas, libraries. "Optimism (If You Want It)" is an exhibition of new sculptures by Ian McDonald. The title refers to the potential of objects to assume alternate levels of meaning when expanded, assembled, re-arranged.
The Rena Bransten Gallery (77 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94108) will present a
selection of recent photographs by German artist, Candida Höfer, and new sculpture
by California artist, Ian McDonald.
Candida Höfer's exhibition takes viewers on an international tour of rooms, both public and private, in schools, palaces, operas, libraries and villas - empty of humans but full of dazzling design and decorative detail. Even without people, the spaces have both a presence and energy - rooms await and anticipate - furniture stands-in for human expression and emotions. Two armchairs in a corner of Residenzschloss Weimar XIV appear exhausted from the visual din around them -- seeking refuge or respite from endless bombardment by patterned borders, trompe-l'oeil wall paintings, stone and tile inlay, or the intricate geometry of wood parquetry. At the other extreme are the cool islands of file cabinets in Graphische Sammlung Zuriche - spare sea foam green slabs line up diagonally along a seawall of shaded windows with casings of the same pastel green. Glowing light from over-head globes bathes the warm shoreline of herringbone flooring lapping at the feet of the cabinets. This soothing study room is like a sunny private beach awaiting bathers and footprints to vitalize it. Höfer documents rooms but her photographs also reveal deeper, more expansive details for the mind's eye.
Höfer's solo exhibitions in the past two years include Kunsthaus Hamburg in Germany, Le Louvre in France, Henie Onstad Art Center in Norway, Museum Pescheria in Italy, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Ireland, among many others.
Ian McDonald's exhibition, Optimism (If You Want It), refers to the potential of objects to assume alternate levels of meaning when expanded, assembled, re-arranged, reduced, or re-configured. In exploring his ideas, McDonald fabricates several different models. Some are multiples of ceramic forms in different sizes and shapes arranged on table tops, pedestals, or in vitrines. Straddling the line between surplus industrial inventory and display specimens, the vessel-like vented objects suggest possible functions - models for war-room military field maneuvers or disparate objects coalescing into single functional entities. Other sculpted forms resemble organic structures like geodes or rocks - raw materials for some future function - on display as "natural history". McDonald's title urges viewers to process physical data positively, letting facts add up to a process that works for the best - socially, historically, and aesthetically.
McDonald graduated from UC Santa Barbara with an MFA in 2000 and currently teaches at the San Francisco Art Institute. His work is included in the collections of The Museo Internazionale della Ceramiche in Faenza, Italy, the International Sculpture Center, Denmark, and JP Morgan Chase in New York, among others.
Image: Candida Hofer
Reception: Thursday, February 28, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Rena Bransten Gallery
77 Geary Street - San Francisco
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:30 to 5:30 and Saturdays 11 to 5