Monday, November 18, 2013

Hunters Point Shipyard Artist Salon

November 15
Mark Paron
Erika Mériaux
Linda MacDonald
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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!]

Mark Paron
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 cafeteria.
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 original).
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 damaged.
Paron’s tip for working with fishing wire: do it on a black background with a bright light on it.

Erika Mériaux
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.

Linda MacDonald

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 and in the Virtual Collection at . 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.
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, 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.

Erika Mériaux bio:
I was 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.
I spent 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.
Greek Mythology is to me a new kind of artistic freedom! "
[Shown: Penelope and Pan]

Linda MacDonald bio:

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 artwork.
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.

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