HG Magazine: Issue no. 23
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Opening Saturday, December 5

Emil Lukas
All Connected, Like It or Not

Emil Lukas, lost photograph #83 circa 1915 #1983, 2020,
hand-ground Sumi on glass over paper and graphite in painted wood frame, 12 x 15 x 2 inches
Confounding and exquisitely strange, the objects that Emil Lukas develops out of his alchemical studio practice are meditations on the workings of the universe. Lukas interweaves the organic and mineral, micro and macro, ordinary and sublime, natural and technical, scientific and mystical in tinker-y processes that are ultimately transcendent.
Emil Lukas, fall way #1940, 2020 (detail), thread, wood, plaster, paint, nails, 44 1/2 x 44 1/2 x 5 inches
Lukas’s seventh solo exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery is comprised of two types of work from his many-pronged approach. Baffling sumi ink paintings on glass that refer both aesthetically and by way of their titles to historical photographs are paired with Lukas’s signature “thread paintings” in two formats: gigantic, horizontal rectangles and variously scaled tondos. It’s a paradoxical juxtaposition, considering the historic presumption of photography as documentation and the fact that Lukas’s “thread paintings” are so profoundly bewildering.
Emil Lukas, lost photograph #82 circa 1860 #1982, 2020,
hand-ground Sumi on glass over paper and graphite in painted wood frame, 12 x 15 x 2 inches
The series of work he calls “lost photographs” has, in fact, no technical relationship to photographic processes, instead evolving from his decades-long experimentations utilizing the movements of other living creatures to draw lines. In this newest iteration, layers of pigments are dragged across glass, which Lukas then mounts backward and frames in blocky, wooden constructions. Though completely abstract, they indeed evoke damaged gelatin silver prints — faded, stained and with peeling emulsion — conjuring places or times half-remembered.
In process
Lukas is perhaps best known for his “thread paintings,” which, true to his modus operandi, are not made with paint. Instead, he constructs shallow wooden trays, or parabolic bowls from plaster, across which he stretches tens of thousands of colored threads. The accumulation of delicate fiber lines creates complex color fields that shimmer and glow, changing radically with shifts in ambient light or the motion of the viewer.
Emil Lukas, radiant hum #2021, 2020, thread, wood, paint, nails, 80 x 98 inches
The heroically-scaled, rectangular works glimmer moodily, calling to mind twilit windows. The round pieces, luminous and spatially ambivalent, seem alternately to project and recede, suggesting floating spheres or depressions in the architecture. They also call to mind planets and moons, or ocular devices that allude to the lens of a telescope, microscope, or camera.
Emil Lukas: All Connected, Like It or Not installation view
So what do we make of Lukas’s not-photographs in the context of his non-paintings? From its invention, photography was presumed to reflect truth. Think “photographic evidence.” But in fact, almost from the beginning, tricksters (and artists) have used darkroom techniques to manipulate and distort fact. Lukas’s “lost photographs” put us in the mindset that we’re looking at a depiction of “reality.” But these pictures are not documentation and the memories they arouse in us are inventions. Similarly, his thread “paintings” are indeterminate, undermining our ability to trust our senses.
Emil Lukas: All Connected, Like It or Not installation view
Humans have a deep need to figure things out. Some of us look for answers in religion, others in science. Many of the people who are reading this look for meaning in art. But the task of the artist is not to spoon feed us truths… it’s to ask us questions. What does ‘truth’ even mean? How do we know what we think we know? It’s the responsibility of a mindful viewer to come up with the answers. The magic of this exhibition is that from the humblest of materials — wood, plaster, glass, sumi ink and colored thread — Lukas conjures the most puzzling of objects: enigmatic artworks that defy definition and are open to as many interpretations as there are individual perspectives.
Emil Lukas, lost photograph #69 circa 1925 #1969, 2020,
hand-ground Sumi on glass over paper and graphite in painted wood frame, 15 x 12 x 2 inches
Join Emil in the gallery on Saturday, December 5 to celebrate the opening of All Connected, Like It or Not. We will strictly limit the number of people in the gallery at a time. Masks and social distancing required. Please reserve your spot here.

Suzusan Pop Up Shop @ Hosfelt Gallery

An alumnus of the renowned Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Germany, Hiroyuki Murase is the founder and creative director of Suzusan
a luxury clothing and housewares brand that utilizes the traditional Japanese textile finishing technique of shibori in contemporary design.
The 400 year-old art form of shibori involves an intricate process of tying, sewing, folding and dyeing in which each piece is worked on by 4 to 5 specialized artisans to create textiles of extraordinary color, pattern and three-dimensional design. For five generations, Hiroyuki Murase's family have been part of the shibori production chain in the Japanese village of Arimatsu, where the craft was most highly refined.

In 2008, with the perspective of a European art school education, Murase was inspired to found the Suzusan label to re-imagine the expertise of the artisans in his hometown in the context of contemporary couture. While shibori was traditionally used on silk and cotton fabrics, Murase added cashmere and alpaca as well as innovative contemporary motifs as part of the label's signature. Because each object Suzusan crafts is handmade, each is unique. His women's and men's sweaters, shirts, scarves, shawls, and housewares are the epitome of luxury.

Just in time for the holidays, Hosfelt Gallery is pleased to host a Pop Up Shop of Suzusan's Fall/Winter 2020 Collection.

Private shopping — by appointment — from December 15th - 17th. Make an appointment here.

In the Studio: Emil Lukas


New to Inventory

Jay DeFeo's Antechamber, from the One O'clock Jump Series
Jay DeFeo, Antechamber (One O'clock Jump series), 1979, mixed media on paper, 40 x 30 inches;
ⓒ The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that Jay DeFeo’s artworks are abstract. They are not. Each was modeled on an object, either from her daily life (a shoe tree, her swim goggles, a Kleenex box) or inspired by the tools or by-products of art making (a draftsman’s compass, the tripod for a camera, her mangled eraser).

Over and over again, she’d draw, photograph and paint some unremarkable thing. She’d obliterate, scratch at, cut up and cannibalize her representations, with each iteration moving further from convention. It was a playful investigation of formal motifs, as well as revelry in the sensuality of paper and the myriad ways it can be marked, stained and textured. It was a process she used to transcend the quotidian in search of something visionary.

This particular work on paper is from a group she subtitled One O’clock Jump, after Count Basie’s quintessential, improvisational piece. The physical muse that inspired DeFeo’s series of variations on this theme – a clear plastic Scotch Tape dispenser – couldn’t have been more ordinary. But it led to a sublimely delicate body of work with individual titles like Veil and Blind Spot and Oracle, which, together with their lens-like imagery, allude to vision or the lack thereof. The title of this particular drawing – Antechamber – poetically speaks to the small room that leads into something much larger or more important – in this case, the portal through which one transcends the here and now.
Jay DeFeo, Antechamber (One O'clock Jump series), 1979 (detail), mixed media on paper, 40 x 30 inches;
ⓒ The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Art @ Home

Left: Adam Fuss; Right: Stefan Kürten
Left (Painting): Zeng Fanzhi; Middle (Basket): Honda Syroyu; Right (Work on Paper): Bruce Conner
Left (Top to Bottom): Jason Jagel, Chris Johanson, Ethan Russell; Middle: Thomas Campbell; Middle Right (Top to Bottom): Andrew Schoultz, Larry Sultan; Far Right (Top to Bottom): Tom Benton, Margaret Kilgallen
Bernard Lokai
Reed Danziger
Image courtesy of Kristen Peña (Design), Bradley Knipstein (Photo), & Yedda Morrison (Styling)

We Recommend

Tim Hawkinson, Egg-shell star burst, 2016, egg shells and cyanoacrylate, 9 x 9 x 9 inches
Artifex Press is offering free access to their Tim Hawkinson Catalogue Raisonné now through December 31, 2020. Click here to register and view the publication.

"Tim Hawkinson's Egg-shell star burst is a deeply faceted globe, formed by gluing together eggshell domes, concave-side out, that instantly and urgently conveys the fragility of the world in a way words could not."
— Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle

In the Shop

Crystal Liu, give us our dream: part one, 'white flowers four', 2009, digital c-print, 29 x 29 inches, $4,800
In this body of work, Crystal Liu photographed cut flowers that she had frozen in blocks of ice. What began as a desire to destroy something – she'd expected the blossoms to wither and turn black – became instead a way of arresting the passage of time. Though fractured and abstracted, these images are part of the tradition of still-life painting or photography. And that desire to capture a moment in time is an acknowledgement that life is fleeting.

To purchase, visit our Online Shop here.

Another Recommendation

François Ozon’s cinematic gem The Swimming Pool
(streaming now on Netflix)

Frumpy British mystery writer Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) — a dirge in beige and grays — has writer's block. She's caring for her elderly father. She’s in love with a man who’s not interested in her. She has a whiskey for breakfast. Her editor (Charles Dance) suggests she take a vacation: "Use my house in the south of France.” But once there she lives like she does in London — eating plain yogurt from the carton and drinking diet Pepsi. Only the weather is better. Then her solitude — and state of mind — are disturbed by the arrival of her editor's daughter, Julie (Ludivine Sagnier). The end of this film will leave you reeling and wanting to watch the whole thing again.

A tip: pay attention to color, set design and the masterful cinematographic framing.
Hosfelt Gallery is located at 260 Utah St, between 15th & 16th streets. Wheelchair accessible entrance at 255A Potrero Avenue. For more information call 415.495.5454 or visit hosfeltgallery.com.

Open by appointment Monday through Saturday
To schedule an appointment, call the gallery or sign up online:

Hours: M, Tu, W, F, Sa 10-5:30, Th 11-7

Copyright © 2020 Hosfelt Gallery, All rights reserved.
260 Utah St
San Francisco CA 94103