HG Magazine: Issue no. 24
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Opening in the Gallery January 23

ASSEMBLED: Bruce Conner / Jean Conner / Anonymous / Anonymouse / Emily Feather / Signed In Blood

Jean Conner, FEATHERS, 1980, paper collage, 11 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches
Hosfelt Gallery is thrilled to present its first exhibition in collaboration with the Conner Family Trust — a show which mines 60 years of work by Bruce Conner and Jean Conner (as well as by Anonymous, Anonymouse, Emily Feather and Signed in Blood), across the genres of drawing, collage, assemblage and painting — highlighting shared themes and recurring motifs. 150 works, some from the private collection of Jean Conner and many never exhibited before, illustrate the artists’ intertwined interests in mysticism, religion, social and cultural norms, the natural world and the human body.
Bruce Conner, LEAF TREE UNIQUE INKBLOT PHOTOCOPY, 1998, photocopy, 9 5/8 x 7 1/2 inches
Jean Conner, BRUCE, 1974, photograph and paper collage, 10 x 10 inches
Bruce Conner (1993 - 2008) and Jean Sandstedt (b.1933) met on a blind, double date in 1954 at the University of Nebraska, where they both studied art. They married on September 1, 1957 and left that night for San Francisco, where they quickly fell in with the Beat-era community of artists and poets. The Conners, like other Bay Area artists, refused to conform to the expectations defined by the art establishment of New York, instead embracing the lack of commercial viability of their artworks and their outsider status in ways that led to highly experimental and original art forms.
Bruce Conner, MOM'S COLLAGE, 1961, mixed media assemblage, 24 x 11 x 6 inches
Then, in the autumn of 1961, spurred by Bruce’s fear of the possibility of nuclear war with the Soviet Union and the intention to live cheaply, the Conners moved to the Juárez neighborhood of Mexico City. The year they lived there proved highly inspirational. Forays to historic churches and pyramids; Dia de los Muertos, and the funeral rites of strangers; a hunt for psilocybin mushrooms; the birth of their son; and day-to-day living in a foreign city and culture led them to independently create related bodies of work that would presage concepts, motifs and techniques they’d explore for the rest of their lives.
Jean Conner, UNTITLED, 1962, graphite on paper, 12 x 8 7/8 inches
Jean Conner, UNTITLED (FLAMES), c. 1963, ink on paper, 8 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches
Bruce Conner, UNTITLED MAY 15, 2008, 2008, engraving collage, 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
This exhibition – by tracing those seminal, symbolic vocabularies and technical strategies – surveys the practices of two remarkable late 20th and early 21st Century voices.

Art and the Environment

Throughout their lives, both Jean and Bruce Conner turned to motifs from the natural world. Below is a selection of works by the Conners and by other gallery artists exploring their relationship to and concerns about the environment.

Symmetrical images are in nature: reflections of water surfaces, symmetry of patterns, symmetry of natural objects, crystals, snowflakes — the symmetry of animal and human. You can assume there was a commonality of experience when you see symmetrical art forms from the past and other cultures. Sometimes symmetry becomes a form of mystical importance in religions or a sign of power in a society. This mystery of symmetry appears to be a universal one. — Bruce Conner
Anonymouse, INKBLOT DRAWING OCTOBER 24, 2000, 2000, ink on paper, 22 7/8 x 29 inches
Isabella Kirkland, Nudibranchia, 2015 (detail), oil and alkyd on polyester over wood panel, 48 x 60 inches
Accurate depiction of plants and animals has been part of the biological sciences since the invention of the printing press. Scientific illustration has functioned as a tool of speciation: often highlighting traits or markers that signify a particular species. I choose to apply a similar accuracy to a different service: building an analog visual record of what we are going to lose during this Anthropocene Era.

I have painted these organisms as accurately as possible, researching each extensively in natural history collections and herbaria. I paint in the time-tested method of oils so that, assuming the paintings survive the ravages of time, these works will stand mute witness to some of the life forms lost in the coming centuries.

— Isabella Kirkland

Isabella Kirkland will have a solo exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery in May 2021.
Patricia Piccinini, Shadowbat, 2019, silicone, fiberglass, hair, 18 7/8 x 22 7/8 x 19 3/4 inches
The world is an extraordinarily complex system, and the changes we make can often have unintended consequences. This is the terrible dilemma we face in all our attempts to fix the world. In some of my work, I imagine creatures that have been engineered to deal with a threat faced by it due to climate change. They have been forcibly evolved to adapt to the changing circumstances of the Anthropocene.

In my sculpture "Shadowbat" I approach the problem by imagining a genetically engineered skin umbrella to shade the creature. The unwieldy ridiculousness of this solution is a gesture towards the lengths we may have to go to in order to deal with a problem as deep as climate change.

— Patricia Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini will have a solo exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery Fall of 2021.
Bruce Conner, HOLY MUSHROOM MAY 21, 1962, 1962 (detail), ink on paper, 25 5/8 x 19 7/8
Jean Conner, UNTITLED, 1962, ink on paper, 12 x 8 7/8 inches
Jean Conner, EUCALYPTUS GROVE, 1960, paper collage, 12 x 9 inches
Jutta Haeckel, Undercurrent, 2020, acrylic on jute, 90 1/2 x 74 3/4 inches
While Jutta Haeckel weaves references to technology and art history into her paintings, landscape is at their root. She incorporates depictions of such things as satellite views or photos of bacterial colonies. They may be read as geologic (alluvial, erosive, glacial, tectonic), or as organic (tree growth rings, a zebra’s hide, the whorl of a thumbprint), or as mineral efflorescence on an old concrete wall. They are inherently ambivalent not only in their imagery, but in their relationship to both the macro and micro, or the manmade and the natural.
Bruce Conner, UNTITLED, 1968, ink on paper; image 14 3/8 x 10 1/8 inches; sheet 14 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches
Russell Crotty, Around the Vast Blue, 2013, ink, acrylic and gouache on paper on fiberglass sphere, 60 inches in diameter
To create this work, Russell Crotty sat in a boat in the center of Lake Tahoe, sketching preparatory drawings of the 365-degree view around him. He then spent thousands of hours covering the five-foot diameter, paper-covered sphere with ink drawing and hand-written text quoting Mark Twain’s description of the lake in his 1872 adventure book Roughing it. The concept of discovery is poetically brought full-circle by Crotty — a dedicated amateur astronomer —by the fact that in 1965, during NASA’s Gemini VII flight, the astronauts aboard took turns reading Roughing it aloud to each other during their journey.

There is a profound, devotional quality to this work — both in its reverence toward the landscape, with its ancient geological formations, and in the dedicated, meditative process required to create such an object. Serene and awe-inspiring — like the landscape it’s based upon — Crotty’s work asks us to contemplate something bigger than ourselves.
Bruce Conner, UNTITLED, 1972, ink on paper, 1 7/8 inches diameter

Gallery Climate Coalition

We are proud to join the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) and to participate in its mission to help the art world collectively reduce carbon emissions by 50% over the next ten years (in line with the Paris Agreement), as well as promoting near zero-waste practices.

The GCC's recently-launched website—built and sponsored by Artlogic, our long-time partner in database management—features an industry-first carbon calculator tailored to the commercial art sector.

We applaud the GCC’s active efforts to candidly address the carbon footprint of the art world and its endless global cycles of art fairs and biennials, and we encourage all of our gallery colleagues to join their initiative.

Click here to learn more about the GCC and become a member.

Closing Soon in the Gallery

Emil Lukas: All Connected, Like It or Not installation view
Emil Lukas
All Connected, Like It or Not

In the gallery through January 16

The magic of Emil Lukas' 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.

Watch Emil Lukas at work in his studio in this short video produced for an online event hosted by Hosfelt Gallery for SFMOMA’s Modern Art Council.
Emil Lukas: In Studio
Emil Lukas, lost photograph #72 9.2020 #1972, 2020,
hand-ground Sumi on glass over paper and graphite in painted wood frame, 15 x 12 x 2 inches

In the Shop

Isabella Kirkland, Nudibranchia, Egg Cases, 2014, oil and alkyd on wood panel, 7 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches
This small painting of Nudibranchia egg cases, painted in the manner of a Dutch still life, perfectly exemplifies Isabella Kirkland's methodologies and conceptual concerns.

Available in our Online Shop here.

We Recommend

Jean Conner, OCTOPUS, 1982, paper collage, 10 1/2 x 10 3/8 inches
My Octopus Teacher

Movies that explore the behavior and habitats of the creatures with whom we share the planet often tell us as much about ourselves as the subjects under observation. When South African filmmaker Craig Foster struggled to find purpose, he retreated to the southern coast of the continent where he grew up and began free diving in the kelp forest. The practice became an obsession and a project which resulted in a gorgeously filmed tale of self discovery.
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