Latest Entries »

On August 30th, Bridge Art Space hosted the opening reception for “Sensuous Dreams of the Lotus Woman” by artist Debbie Moore.

In celebration of Debbie’s woman-focused artwork, curator Charles Kruger invited writer Cassandra Dallett to put together a reading by several distinguished East Bay women who write.

Artist Debbie Moore, her sangha friend Meghan and musician Jamsa musically blessed the space before the poets performed:

Cassandra Dallett occupies Oakland, California. She writes poetry and memoir of a counter culture childhood in Vermont and her ongoing adolescence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cassandra has published in Slip Stream, Enizagam, The Criminal Class Review and  sPARKLE + bLINK among many others. Manic D Press has recently announced that they will be publishing Cassandra’s first book length poetry collection.

Mk Chavez is the author of  Virgin Eyes (Zeitgeist Press), Visitation, Next Exit #9 (with John Sweet) and Pinnacle (Kendra Steiner Editions). Her poetry and fiction has been published in print and online. Find some of her work at 580 Split, Opium, Instant City, The Rusty Truck, and Zygote in My Coffee. She has been the editor of Mill’s College Award winning journal The Walrus (2010), Cherry Bleeds Literary Journal and the Milvia Street Journal. She is co-founder and co-curator of the Berkeley based monthly reading series Lyrics & Dirges with Sharon Coleman and Thomas Moniz.

Poet Sharon Coleman is an accomplished translator of French and Yiddish poetry, a contributing editor to Poetry Flash, and a much beloved creative writing teacher at Berkeley City College. At BCC, she is the faculty advisor for the award winning student-run literary journal, Milvia Street Magazine.

For many years, Julia Vinograd has been a Berkeley street poet, known to the community as “The Bubble Lady” for her tradition of blowing cascades of soap bubbles while hawking her poetic wares.. Her outsider demeanor (she is never seen without a button pinned to her clothes that reads “proud to be weird”) belies her significant poetic accomplishments. Educated at UC Berkeley and with an Masters of Fine Arts from the prestigious writing program at the University of Iowa, Julia has published an astounding fifty seven books of poetry and three poetry CD collections. The City of Berkeley has given her a Poetry Lifetime Achievement Award, and she has won a Pushcart Prize.

Sonya Renee Taylor is a National and International poetry slam champion who has shared her work and on stages across the US, New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands in prisons, treatment facilities, homeless shelters, universities, festivals and elementary schools.  Her poetry appears in numerous journals and anthologies including Spoken Word Revolution:Redux, Off Our Backs, Beltway Quarterly, and On the Issues Magazine.  Her first collection of poetry, A Little Truth on Your Shirt, was released by GirlChild Press in 2010. Sonya’s work has been translated into Dutch, Swedish and German. As a performer, Ms. Renee appeared on HBO, Oxygen Network, BET, CNN, and MTV.

Here is a selection of  photographs (credit Ted Harris) of Deborah’s paintings from “Sensuous Dreams of the Lotus Women”. The show of paintings will remain available for viewing at Bridge Art Center through the end of October. (Click on pictures for a larger view.)

IMG_2511

IMG_2502IMG_2499

IMG_2495

IMG_2494

03

meg blu

(Opening Reception: August 30th, 6-10 p.m., at Bridge Art Space, 23 Maine Avenue, Richmond, California.)

Debbie Moore Self Portrait

Debbie Moore Self Portrait

Berkeley visual and performance artist Debbie Moore is a proud child of the 60s. In 1969, she dropped out of Princeton University (where she was one of the first women to be admitted) to join the counter culture and has never looked back. Moving to rural Massachusetts, she joined a commune of three hundred kindred souls called “The Brotherhood of the Spirit” where, she says, she found “the roots of the life I now live.”

Portrait of Meg

Portrait of Meg

That life, over 40 years later, continues to celebrate the visionary insights of 1969: Debbie’s art, performance and life are a continuing living history of a time that changed America, and the world.

Flower Collage

Flower Collage

While most of her fellows who thoroughly embraced the counter culture of the late 60s and early 70s have more or less moved on to some sort of accommodation with the mainstream, Debbie has remained proudly committed to the spirituality of the counter culture, celebrating it in a collection of extraordinary paintings completed over decades of dedicated work.

Deb and Nina Embrace

Paradise  With Three Muses

With her husband of 21 years, musician (and former research scientist) Marty Kent, she co-founded and co-directs the nude interactive street theatre troupe, X-Plicit Players, whose website states that they perform “in the psychedelic tradition”.  She has also been a designer of original clothing and a performer of one woman shows all over the United States.

Although initially a self-taught artist, she also found time to obtain a studio art degree from the prestigious California College of Arts and Crafts.

The result is a body of work both naive and sophisticated. Her studies of the women in her life, over many years, range from frankly erotic sexual works to almost abstract expressionistic pieces that blur the line between portraiture and landscape painting. Her range of techniques is astonishing, from collage to realistic figure drawings to expressionistic riots of pigment. In all her work, she demonstrates a sophisticated mastery of line, color and composition and an awareness of the larger art world while never sacrificing the childlike, naive quality of her early efforts, inspired by her counter cultural life.

Describing her life in the East Bay, she writes, “I have walked nude through the streets of Berkeley each day, arm in arm with my friends, tenderizing life in the streets, for years.”

Tenderizing is a marvelous term to describe Debbie’s life and art work as she presents “Sensuous Dreams of the Lotus Women”.

Deb and Nina Curled

Deb and Nina Curled

Debbie Moore Today

Debbie Moore Today

To celebrate this remarkable show, Bridge Art Space is hosting an opening event on August 30th for which Debbie will perform original music and poetry, Oakland poet Cassandra Dallett will curate a short reading by women poets of the East Bay, and the extraordinary Joyce McBride (founder and director of “The Conspiracy of Venus”) will perform music.

As part of this exhibition, Debbie will also be presenting workshops (on a donation basis) exploring her personal yoga of touch, expanded intuition of sound and ecstatic exploration of mindscapes. The workshops will be in the gallery at Bridge Art Space at 11 a.m. on Sunday, September 8th and Sunday, September 22nd.

For you young’uns we’re talkin’ about real vinyl, records that spin!

This Sunday, Bridge Art Space and Bridge Storage  will be hosting the first annual Richmond Slag Fest, where you can buy, sell or trade long playing records.

It’s great chance to hang out with friends, make a find or make a buck, and check out Bridge if you haven’t so far.

While you visit, be sure to go into the gallery space for “Double Vision“, a painting and photograph show featuring the work of Debbie Vinograd and Bob Fischer.

recordevent2

On June 22, Bridge Art Space opened “Double Vision”, a show featuring paintings by Debbie Vinograd and photographs by Robert Fischer. “Double Vision” continues through the end of July, and can be viewed at the Gallery at Bridge Art Space (23 Maine Avenue, Richmond, CA 94804) seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Screen Shot 2013-06-30 at 1.04.42 PM

Photographer Bob Fischer at work. Photo credit: Charles Kruger + Bob Fischer.

Prior to taking up photography ten years ago, Mr. Fischer had a well-established career as a painter, with one of his works in the collection of  the Smithsonian. A prominent figure in the Chicago art scene for many years, he was described by People Magazine as “the windy city Warhol” because of his celebrity portraits and the collection of oddball performers and eccentrics he presented at his famous “Bizzarte” events. These events often attracted an audience of thousands and would feature such acts as the 200 pound blonde hula dancer and the tap dancing zebra ladies. Since taking up photography over the past decade, he has amassed an astonishing body of work. Arts journalist DeWitt Cheng has written that “Robert Fischer’s humanistic but unsentimental photographs force us to be both more truthful and more tolerant.” James Mann, former curator of the Las Vegas Museum of Art, calls Fischer’s work “a…frank, free, full, forthright presentation of human ripeness.” Mr. Fischer is the subject of two award winning documentary films, “Original Schtick” and “Schtick Happens”.

Debbie Vinograd is an academically trained oil painter whose still lifes, nudes, portraits and imaginary dream creatures reflect her extensive knowledge of art history and the influence of distinguished teachers. She has been showing in the Bay area since the 1970s at such venues as the John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, Autobody Fine Art in Alameda, and the Sun Gallery in Hayward. She says, “If looking at the world takes your breath way, you can only get it back by passing it on. Each time I raise a brush to canvas, I have to believe the world hasn’t been created yet. It’s up to me.

For the exhibit, “Double Vision”, Robert Fischer photographed live models. Debbie Vinograd painted portraits from the photographs. Juxtaposed, the two creations challenge our understanding of portraiture. The “double vision” at play here compels us to question the source of each image. Fischer interacts with the live model, but Vinograd does not. Is she making a painting of a person or a painting of a photograph?

Vinograds

Poet Julia Vinograd (left) and her sister, artist Debbie Vinograd.

That question might lead us to reflect on the complex history of paintings and photographs. For a century now, most audiences have been exposed to great paintings through photographic prints. Relatively few of us have actually seen Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, for example, or Picasso’s “Guernica”. A contemporary teenager studying in an art history class could easily choose Van Gogh as her favorite painter without ever actually seeing a Van Gogh painting.  Yet the same teenager would almost certainly be unable to name the photographer whose image she has actually examined.

Yet, here, in Double Vision, the traditional order has been reversed: the photographer has not reproduced the painting; the painter has reproduced the photograph.

So which is the “real” art? And how do we understand the success or failure of the work? Does the painting “succeed” to the extent that it shows us the photograph? Is the photograph merely a disposable tool of the painter, to be discarded once the painting is finished, or viewed merely as an interesting historical artifact as we examine the painting? Or is it the painting that might be understood as disposable, intended merely as a reproduction of the photograph? Why care about the reproduction when the original is at hand? And where is the model in all this discussion? Should we have called our show “Triple Vision”? Just how many visions of a “single” subject can there be?

Is one work of art more “real” than the other? If so, which and why? And, in this context, what is the “subject” of our show? Is it a show about a group of interesting people who modeled for Fischer, or is it a show about the relationship of photography and painting? Or is it just a (hopefully) clever way of displaying the work of two interesting artists?

Our intention has been to raise these questions in the viewer’s mind, although we offer no answers. Hopefully, those who see this show will come away having enjoyed the work of two outstanding visual artists, and been provoked to think about painting and photography in new and interesting ways. If we’ve done our job right, you’ll never look at the connection between  paintings and photographs in quite the same way, having been exposed to a Double Vision.

The exhibit also features additional photographic work by Mr. Fischer, featuring photographs for his current project, “Listen Very Closely” which focusses on portraits of Bay area writers. There are also some additional still lifes by Ms. Vinograd.

For the opening night event, the party included a literary reading featuring Debbie Vinograd’s sister, Julia Vinograd, often referred to as “the Poet Laureate of Berkeley”, and Charles Kruger, MK Chavez, Rusty Rebar, Jan Steckel, Richard LorangerCassandra Dallett, and Nic Burrose. There was terrific music, too, by Consolidated Electric.

The reading was captured on video; you can see each reader below:

Julia Vinograd

Charles Kruger

MK Chavez

Rusty Rebar + Richard Morrison on sitar

Jan Steckel

Richard Loranger

Cassandra Dallett

Nic Burrose

Point Molate

At the turn of the 20th century, Pt. Molate was  a bustling enclave of incongruous enterprises.  Home to one of the last remaining whaling stations in the country and Winehaven – once  the largest winery in the U.S. – she was converted to a Navy fueling depot for the  Pacific Fleet in World War II. Today she sits abandoned, awaiting her future.  And through the crinolined parapets of the Winehaven castle, those spirit keepers amongst us capture the majestic views from her shoreline, the extraordinary land forms, the
memories of what was, and the hauntingimages of time’s inexorable advance.

Join us for a fascinating glimpse into one of the hidden treasures of the Bay Area – Pt. Molate, depicted in photography, painting, and
scultpure.

Opening night was a great party with a lot of guests and an amazing musical performance by “The Kingdom of Not”. This video is the next best thing to being there:

The art will be on display (with many affordable pieces) through the end of June. You can learn more about the two artists here and here.

On May 11, Bridge Art Space will host a reception for Powell St. John, featuring music by Mr. St. John and his friends. It will be a memorable evening of acoustic joy, along with some exceptionally pleasing art.

Powell St. John was formed as a musician in the Austin folk scene of the late 1960s, when he played in a band with Janis Joplin (who later had a megahit with one of his songs, “Baby Bye Bye”). Powell has been inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame, and is a recording artist for Tompkins Square Records.

Powell is also an exceptional visual artist, and Bridge Art Space is proud to be presenting a show of his works on paper in our Store Front Gallery, with works for purchase on display from May 11 through the month of June.

Here are some  images of Powell’s work to whet your appetite:

Superscript Reclining Nude

We’re also happy to share video of Powell’s recent performance of his original songs at Stranded Records in Oakland on March 1 2012. Enjoy!

The show will also feature additional work by famed exotic erotic comic artist (a Bridge Art Space resident artist), Vincent Stephens, also known as Ramstar.

Paintings from the Mexican Drug War

“If we share a brotherhood of man, then we also share an insanity of man,”
Author Stephen King

The 2012 US Presidential debates covered International politics but never once mentioned the Mexican drug war. All the while large parts of Mexico are under siege by drug cartels warring over trade routes and fighting the Mexican government. With exception of those US citizens close to the border – the majority of the US is left ignorant and blind of the turmoil south of the border.

Molly Molloy, a researcher at New Mexico State University who maintains the Mexican news and discussion site Frontera List, has kept a detailed record of the bloodshed and estimates that the total homicides from December 2006 through June 2012 to stand at 99,667. Many more people are unaccounted for and listed as missing…never to be heard from again. This is more than the total number of US servicemen killed in all the wars from Vietnam to the present. In addition this number is nearing the total number of servicemen killed in World War 1.

Today drug cartels commit atrocities of epic proportions. Acting freely and with impunity, uniformed and masked men, indistinguishable from Mexican soldiers and police, block roads and set-up check points.  Torture, beheadings, dismemberment, and kidnappings are a daily occurrence.
I long to paint pretty flowers but my heart can’t allow this when the soil in which these flowers grow is drenched in blood.
The paintings here displayed are the first pieces of my series Paintings from the Mexican Drug War, which is an examination of the Mexican Drug War and its effects on Mexican Culture and the repercussions on the populace in Mexico and the US border areas. Using depictions of the horrors and icons characteristic of  the drug war, I seek to confront the viewer with the bitter, shocking realities and pain of Mexico’s current landscape in hopes of stimulating a dialogue.
Gary-Paul Barbosa Prince

JC Garrett will be showing his work at Bridge Art Space along with Gary-Paul Barbosa Prince (reception on March 22). He has provided us with the following artist’s statement. Make of it what you will.

11900457web“Well, Art is Art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now tell me what you know.” Groucho Marx 

I have been asked to provide a few words about myself, my art, or perhaps even about art in general. As you are probably standing in an art gallery while reading this, the question of  whether it constitutes art or whether I am an artist is effectively rendered meaningless by this context. The question remains: Is what you see good or bad art? Am I a bad artist. Of course, I would not venture to say myself. That is, not on your behalf. You may have noticed, somewhere in the room, a numbered list or even small stickers indicating prices or assigned values. These help make clear that the objects displayed here are in fact items for sale in addition to any aesthetic, personal, social, cultural, or other value presented. Perhaps their purpose is just to entertain or to decorate home or workplace. As a consumer, or as I prefer, Enthusiast, you get to exercise your opinion merely through the act of acquiring these things. A purchase by you of one of my efforts is in a form, voting for me as an artist. Electing me, you might say. Notice the hooks and wires for easy  installation. The convenience of size, choice of colors, overall affordability. In a measure, you employ this choice, your choice as a way of expressing your own needs and desires. Of defining self.

But I digress. For I have failed to tell you much about myself or the art. Needless to say, I am an adult, born in 1955, working and residing locally (Northern California) since 1978, and professionally trained and accredited in the visual arts. The works you see are generated (drawn) on a computer and printed in limited editions of five using acid free art papers and pigmented inks employing a laser printer.

* * *

The human epidemic has finally assumed fatally global proportions. It appears that it is now too late to reverse our begotten course. Signs of the illness can now be found in the outer reaches of the atmosphere and in the deepest seas, where they continue to reek havoc and destruction on all living things. As if implanted deeply into our DNA, the civilization of the homo sapiens has truly come full circle. The end of our earthly habitation is historically within sight and there is no  heaven or hell to save us. Perhaps we should use these final days to celebrate our impending demise and the return of a nature free of inquiry. Hoopla!

* * *

Art or pornography or both. The current investigation indulges the prurient in the service  of an aesthetic.  The product of a sick & amoral mind? Perhaps. Desperate times have me re-visiting the sexual politic of previous upheavals (think Germany, Austria, following the Great War, or post ww2 Japan). My soap box, now corrupt, waddles in a form of (anti) therapy. A generalized anger & despair, directed at no one but myself, but images, none the less, crafted for your entertainment. Think what you will. These belong to us not me.

Bridge Art Center is busting with pride to be presenting new work on the Mexican Drug War by Oakland artists Gary-Paul Barbosa Prince and J C Garrett. Mr. Prince was a recent participant in Art Basel, one of the world’s premiere contemporary art shows, attracting collectors from around the world. A graduate of San Francisco’s Art Institute, Prince has shown widely, including over 25 professional gallery shows in the San Francisco Bay Area alone. J C Garrett’s off the wall, highly original pulp inspired comix and graphic art defy description. He states, “I will draw anything, anytime, anywhere, for anyone.” Garrett specializes in digital drawing which he describes as “. . . all the fun of making art without the oily aftertaste”.

Really, folks, this is going to be a great show!

bridgeART