Works Gallery
Artist Information

Libby Black

Little Girl Blue

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 3rd, 2018, 6:00pm – 9:00pm Exhibition Dates: March 3rd – March 31st, 2018

Janis Joplin in her rendition of the popular show tune “Little Girl Blue” famously altered the lyrics doing away with the ending of the song in which a distraught girl can only be consoled by a man, insinuating an ambiguity in which the singer is in the position of both distraught woman and consoler, or a queering reinterpretation altogether. Removed from its musical context, the title assumes an even stranger resonance amidst the revolutionary fervor that’s fueled everything from the Women’s Marches to the #Metoo movement–seemingly belittling the struggles for equality by generations of women with a patronizing pat on the head. Little Girl Blue as an exhibition however, sees Black responding to this revolutionary moment and rapidly shifting cultural landscape through a mixture of intimate paintings, installation and the artist’s iconic painted paper sculptures of everyday objects–interrogating everything from domesticity, gender roles and lesbian culture, to addiction, activism and our material desires.

In the center of the gallery, a delicate music stand carries two pages of sheet music featuring the show’s namesake composition, facing a wall dotted with various hanging baseball caps. By approaching the music stand and reading the sheet music, the viewer engages as an unknowing performer for this odd assembly–slipping into the forlorn mood from which Joplin sang only to be questionably received by an audience of vacant ballcaps. A closer inspection reveals that all these objects from the stand to the sheet music to the hats are comprised of the same materials: paper, acrylic paint and graphite–a potent realization that thereby renders seemingly inane objects with heightened symbolic resonance. By remaking quotidian objects through fine art materials, a transformation in value and conceptual weight occurs to the effect that we’re now considering the socio-political and art-historical ramifications of a stars and stripes baseball cap covered in “Times Up” and various other timely protest pins.

The artist’s sculptures are paired in tandem with a series of intimate and masterful gouache paintings depicting subjects including everything from the artist’s family at last year’s Women’s March in New York to a classical marble bust adorned with a fine silk scarf. This play in subjects from the urgently political to the pop cultural and high fashion worlds, reflects not only our own multifaceted and often conflicting interests, but also the strangeness of existence as a desire-laden consumer amidst our increasingly impending political crises.

Libby Black’s museum exhibitions include New Image Sculpture, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX; Workout Room, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, and New Art for a New Century: Contemporary Acquisitions 2000-2010, Orange County Museum of Art, CA. Artists of Invention: A Century of CCA at the Oakland Museum of California; Bay Area Now 4, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; The 2004 California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art; The Superfly Effect, Jersey City Museum, NJ; Art on Paper 2008, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; and Smoke and Mirrors: Deception in Contemporary Art, Visual Arts Gallery, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Libby Black is represented by Gallery 16 in San Francisco.

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Shapeshifters

Morgan Blair, Caroline Larsen, Tessa Perutz, Alex Ebstein
Curated by Green Point Terminal Gallery

Green Point Terminal is a gallery space run by New York-based artist Brian Willmont, nestled on the third floor of a weathered industrial complex situated at the northern tip of Brooklyn. Slightly removed from the more polished Chelsea and Lower East Side gallery scenes, for years Green Point Terminal has served as a vital space for showing a younger generation of emerging artists. Transposing the vision for Willmont’s gallery from the industrial northern reaches of Brooklyn to the similarly industrial southern sprawl of San Francisco, Guerrero Gallery is proud to present a satellite project with the Brooklyn gallery, featuring New York-based artists: Morgan Blair, Caroline Larsen, Tessa Perutz and Alex Ebstein.

The artists represented in Shapeshifters collectively repurpose formalist abstract language, interjecting personal narrative and emotion with a potent dose of humor and “bad taste”. Morgan Blair’s highly tactile paintings utilize a variety of techniques from airbrush to the application of sand–creating elegant and dizzyingly complex images that are reminiscent of early graphics softwares and feature titles that sound like one reading a string of email titles from their SPAM inbox. Caroline Larsen creates paintings that are literally weighed down by the artist’s cake-like application of strings of oil paint, creating sumptuous surfaces that contrast in interesting ways the naturalistic subject matter depicted. Tessa Perutz’s smoothed out landscapes, often originate as drawings made along the artist’s travels–translated back into paintings, they glow with lingering memories and a sentimental mood.  Alex Ebstein creates modernist abstractions which from afar seem reminiscent of Matisse’s late works, yet up close reveal that they’re comprised almost entirely of carefully cut and composed sections of rubbery yoga mats–immediately creating a hilariously strange dialogue between the echoes of art history and contemporary fitness fetish.
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Brian Willmont

Technical Ecstasy

In a recent visit to New York-based artist Brian Willmont’s studio, he noted that recent paintings adorned with smoke, flames, butterflies and various other subjects and feats of absolute airbrush wizardry seemed more geared towards the visual proclivities of a Hot-Topic consumer than your average art-goer. With this gleeful revelation in mind, Willmont’s latest body of work plumbs the depths of supposed “poor taste” in an earnest search for meaning, pleasure and authenticity amidst the disconnection of our increasingly virtual contemporary times.

Willmont’s works are painted almost exclusively by airbrush–that odd tool that connects both analog and virtual spaces, existing simultaneously as one of the more recent inventions of physically applying pigment to a surface as well as a primary tool used within the culturally-ubiquitous virtual confines of Photoshop. Thus, Willmont’s paintings though painted completely by hand feel as if they’re toeing the lines of our increasingly narrowing digital-analog divide. Within the works, there’s an odd mixing of disparate sensibilities, from hot rod custom paint jobs to Lisa Frank folder illustrations–both in their own ways harkening back to a precipitous place that speaks to the early 90’s adoption of the World Wide Web, and this brief moment of insulated innocence from which we would soon be wrenched.