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During open studio events, I don’t get
out of my studio to see any other artists. That's one reason I love the doing
the artists salons. It’s hard to explain how exciting it can be to have artists
show you their work in a more intimate, less sales-oriented event. I am giving my impressions of the evening but have added the artists bios at the end. Visit the artists' websites for more info.
[Everyone is welcome to attend these
salons. It’s part social and part art viewing. We hope to have another in
January. Thanks to Paul Gibson and Richard Bollingbroke and the STAR board for
getting this started again. If you are interested in opening your studio
sometime, please let me know, as I am trying to keep them going!]
To start this salon, we went to the
sculpture studio of Mark Paron in building 125 down by the water. This is in
the area where the Navy used to make submarines and Building 125 was the
At first view, Paron’s studio is
like a cool design show room. Very nice old furniture, retro toys and
sculptures everywhere. There is a urinal stuck on the wall (a shipyard
Paron makes sculptures of fabrics
from leather to shiny mylar, PVC, velvet, nylon, window screens, and other material,
by wrinkling them and shaping them in his hands to see what they will do. One
was a six-foot tall mylar figure, others are more abstract. The finished
sculptures are begging to be touched. Paron showed us scraps of the materials
so that we could feel them. (Shown: photo of one of the leather crinkle sculptures.)
I was fascinated by a little star-like
sculpture over my head that included petals from plastic flowers and golf ball
-- and by others made with a gun used to shoot price tags onto clothing. Other
sculptures were mounted on wood or sewn into shape.
Another highlight was a series of
sculptures inspired by wigs (his mother wore wigs) in all sorts of materials --
wire, rope, metal, and one in rope (to die for).
Paron had a series of installation
views in homes and in his galleries, which help to show people how to live with
the sculptures. We were looked at some pieces recently returned from a show and
were able to see how he packs mobiles for transit so they don't get tangled or
Paron’s tip for working with
fishing wire: do it on a black background with a bright light on it.
Next we went to the studio of Erika Mériaux, also in
building 125. By this time there was a healthy number of people at the salon: some
shipyard artists and some guests.
Mériaux is a French oil painter using
subject matter from Greek mythology. As a lover of classical art history, I am
familiar with many of the characters that Mériaux works with – Narcissist,
Medusa, Apollo, Leda – but the stories behind them. Mériaux patiently told us
the meaning behind each painting. Despite the antique subject matter, the
paintings seem very modern. The colors are bright, there is a liberal use of
white paint, and there are passages where the paintings are flat. We talked about
our favorite artists of the past. I was reminded of Fra Angelico, da Vinci,
Fragonard, Vermeer, and Magritte, yet with a still more modern look. [Shown: Penelope]
Mériaux finds beautiful antique
frames that she refurbishes.
I was also in awe of the way Mériaux
has designed her studio.
Mériaux starts with a sketch and
projects it onto the canvas. At other times, she starts directly with the brush
on oil on canvas. Usually the figure is rendered first and then she invents a
background for it. We liked all of the pieces but a Penelope with waves around
her head was a big favorite.
I will be surprised if Mériaux isn’t
soon picked up by some gallery and won’t have to do a lot of sales and
marketing on her own. Perhaps she has already been – we didn’t talk much about CAREER
at any of the studios.
MacDonald shares a studio in 101 with
Marc Ellen Hamel. MacDonald lives near Mendocino. MacDonald showed two oil paintings
and many large watercolors on arches paper.
Her recent work features nature photos
recombined into new scenes. She likes to photograph the ground "because
it's all in focus" and then combine several photos into one composition.
Photos may include a nail, a cigarette butt, or a strange piece of trash as
well as leaves, pebbles and natural material. Sometimes the new compositions
look like landscapes. Or she may start from a real thing like some logs and
invent other parts of the composition. I was impressed at how she's able to
handle the chaos of nature. [Shown: watercolor, Amaranth]
MacDonald’s early work was fiber
art, sewing a quilt and then painting on fabric. We felt we could see some of
the influence of stitches in her new work.
MacDonald also showed older work such
as linocuts, drawings, and prints of her fiber work.
I fell absolutely in love with a glicée of an
older painting showing crazy things people have done to Sequoia trees. Ditto, a
linocut of a self-portrait.
We talked about Open Studio. MacDonald
said that two curators from the Oakland Museum came by and chose a linocut featuring
a whimsical map of California to sell at the Museum. Quite exciting! McDonald
and other artists mentioned a Joan Baez sighting at Open Studio.
Dominique gave us all some acrylic tips
(which I am not sure I followed correctly): keep some dishwashing liquid in
your acrylic jar. If you use matt varnish, make sure to have several layers of
Gel underneath to get the depth or it will kill your colors. Also to use GAC
100 medium instead of water glazes.
here are bios of the artists:
Mark Paron bio:
Though I have no formal training,
I have been doing artwork ever since I was a child Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In November of 1984, I moved to San Francisco and started showing my work. I
have exhibited my work, in many San Francisco premier galleries, stores, bars, schools,
City Hall and the De Young Museum. [Shown: Snow White]
In 1995, I was selected for
membership into the San Francisco Art Institute Artists' Committee. There I
worked on the Salon Series, Day Without Art, the annual exhibition
"Bio-Hazard," and helped select the 1997 Adeline Kent Award
Exhibition. My art has been seen in Art Week , New York 's Paper
Magazine, SF Focus, San
Francisco / New York , Fad, Outlook, The Bay Area Reporter, Odyssey magazine,
San Francisco Chronicle , and San
Francisco Frontiers. My art can
also be seen on the web at www.markparon.com and in the Virtual Collection at
www.artistswithaids.org . In addition, my work is
available at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artist Gallery, the Reaves Gallery,
San Francisco, CA, the Toomey Turell Gallery of San Francisco, CA and the
Robert Fontaine Gallery Mime FL.
is abstract and conceptual--inspired by micro biotic, organic, and synthetic
things we come in contact with each day. I work in a varied range of materials
including fabric, metal, plastics, leather, and found objects.
My sculpture is abstract and
conceptual--inspired by micro biotic, organic, and synthetic things we come in
contact with each day. I work in a varied range of materials including fabric,
metal, rubber, plastic, wood, paper, and more.
born in Paris (1967). I spent my childhood moving from place to place (because
my fathers job): South of France, North Africa, North of France, Kuwait, etc.
six months in a fine art school in North of France but I was not a serious
student (too young probably), but after the birth of my daughter, (I was 22) I
became mature enough to start painting. The initial purpose was to fill the
emptiness of the white walls of my small apartment (in Lille), and when a
friend told me that he wanted to buy one of my paintings (The Sleeping Beauty),
I considered that it might have been a good idea to be exhibited in a gallery.
Soon I was showing in a gallery in downtown Lille and participated in shows;
group and solo shows. In 2000, my family and I moved to the Bay area where I
started to participate in various shows. In 2006, I started to work on a tarot
series, but I felt the inspiration was insufficient. In 2008, I started my
series inspired by Greek Mythology, and I'm not tired of it yet. Greek
Mythology is so vast that I depict anything I want! If I want to talk about
war, violence, love, sex, jealousy, crime, craziness, family, travels, dreams,
etc. Anything I want can be found in Greek Myths.
Mythology is to me a new kind of artistic freedom! "
[Shown: Penelope and Pan]
Linda MacDonald, a native Californian,
has lived in the town of Willits in Mendocino County for the past thirty-five
years. She grew up in the Bay Area and attended San Francisco State University
earning her B.A. and M.F.A. degrees. A love of the country led her and her
artist husband north to remote areas of wilderness lands. [Shown: Madrone and alligator]
The continuing saga of life in this
rural, mountainous area has become the source of ideas for her artwork.
She uses an array of fantasy images based on real events and characters
to present her ideas. Sometimes humor is used to ease the encounter with
her charged imagery and create a friendly atmosphere between the viewer and the
MacDonald began as a painter, switched
to textiles and the quilt form in the 1980s, and as her work evolved and became
more imagery and narrative-based, she returned to canvas and paper.
She currently maintains a studio and
teaches in universities and art centers. She has shown her work in many
venues worldwide and has artwork in the collection of the White House, the city
of San Francisco, the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in NYC, the University of
Nebraska Quilt collection and in many private collections. She taught high school
for many years after receiving a credential from Dominican University. She lives with her husband, artist Robert
Comings and has two grown children, both artists.
Labels: artists, Erika Mériaux, fabric, greek mythology, hunters point naval shipyard, leather sculpture, Linda MacDonald, linocut, Mark Paron, mylar, nylon, oil, painting, pvc, salon, san francisco, sculpture, watercolor