If life gives you self-help manuals, make a quilt. Well played, artist Lisa Kokin, who found a bunch of said manuals at a recycling center and gave their spines new life as the finely stitched 2010 work “Fret.” My detail photo above also offers a taste of her flair for color.
"Sometimes the spines remain partially or wholly intact, but sometimes I sacrifice the titles to make cheery shapes like flowers and leaves, which I hope will create eternal happiness for the viewer in five days or less," writes the East Bay artist, whose portfolio of work includes button works and sculptures.
Kokin also creates altered books and book collages, which makes her a fine fit for the Palo Alto Art Center’s current show, “Bibliophilia,” where “Fret” is now on display. I had written a preview story about the exhibit focusing mainly on the book works by Emily Payne, and yesterday I got to see the full show, which contains art by 15 people overall.
Another highlight was the section of oil paintings by Scot Velardo. Old and discarded books are the canvases for him to paint scenes of street life in San Francisco, New York, Milan.
Seen here: a book called “The Wonderful World of Music” revamped into a slice of life on Harrison Street in San Francisco. Beautiful how the texture of the book title blends with the new painting, and how the conductor’s arms open to the new sky.
Quick. Who do you see in the top image?
I focused on the glasses lens and saw Lennon right away, but peer in and McCartney’s there too. Mountain View artist Jay Hill likes to shake things up, and not just with his cans of spray paint. He calls his works “Dangerous Paintings,” shooting them with blasts of color.
This week, Hill’s work makes a welcome return to Palo Alto (I wrote about his show at Gallery House last year). He’s teaming up with another of my favorites, sculptor Ryan Carrington, who teaches at San Jose State. Their exhibit, “Gravity Ltd.,” is at New Coast Studios, which just announced it would stop hosting exhibits and focus on providing services to artists. Fortunately, another show made it in, and the New Coast folks say that other artists will also be able to self-curate exhibits in the future.
Hill always had art aspirations but started painting seriously only in the last couple of years. His garage studio is a vivid place, with slabs of wood and face masks and cans of paint. Paintings are filled with stylized letters and faces that are hard to look away from. As a longtime Pink Floyd fan, I especially enjoyed his tribute to Syd Barrett.
Carrington and I also had a great chat last year when he was showing work at CSMA. Construction materials such as work gloves, sledgehammers and electrical wire make powerful statements throughout his art; Carrington has a background in construction and likes to tip his artist’s hat to the working man.
"Gravity Ltd." has an opening reception tomorrow, June 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at New Coast at 935 Industrial Ave., and then is up until June 22, Tuesday through Saturday. Check it out.
Pictured: Top: “Beatle Reduction #1, Come Together,” a 2013 digital morph-mashup of Lennon and McCartney, by Jay Hill. Above: “Heavy Routine,” by Ryan Carrington.
She lived in a fishing village; she created illustrations of amphipods for the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Canada; she’s rather fond of birds. That’s South Bay artist Floy Zittin, one of my favorite local painters. Now she’s put out her second book with poet Patricia Machmiller and calligrapher Martha Dahlen.
A new exhibit at Viewpoints Gallery in Los Altos shows paintings, calligraphy and haiku from the book, “Wild Heart of One Bird Singing.” Zittin’s birds are always meticulously crafted, which is not surprising for an artist who has a master’s degree in marine biology and a long background as a scientific illustrator.
The show is up through March 29, with a March 16 workshop planned on ways to meld together painting and poetry. Contact the gallery for details.