Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco is pleased to present Director’s Pick, a group exhibition that showcases recent work by gallery artists and introduces two artists to the gallery—Melanie Pullen and Lavender Wolf. The exhibition opens January 8 and continues through January 31, 2015. The gallery will be open for First Thursday on January 8, 5:30-7:30pm. Director’s Pick will feature work by Nicolas Africano, Lynn Aldrich, Ben Aronson, Lalla Essaydi, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Rin Johnson, Annie Kevans, Gordon Parks, Vanessa Prager, Scott Prior, Skip Steinworth, and Nancy Switzer.
Photographer Melanie Pullen has been exhibited internationally, and is known in San Francisco for her exhibitions at the former Steven Wirtz Gallery. She has been included in various museum exhibitions and has been broadly published. Pullen is best known for large-scale photographs from her series High Fashion Crime Scenes. Consisting of hundreds of images, the series reconstructs crime scenes culled from NYPD and LAPD crime scene files, in which the “victims” are outfitted in haute couture. To create these images Pullen employed 80 crewmembers and models per picture, each image taking up to a month to produce, and the series using over $13 million worth of clothing and accessories. As her scenes resemble movie sets, it’s no surprise that Pullen was directly inspired by cinema and photojournalism. Pullen states, “It was a strange phenomenon that I’ve explored. I don’t like violence; I have never been a dark person. I’m just very curious about the response people have to violent images.” Pullen is fascinated by how people react more strongly to the same scene when it involves a beautiful, well-dressed woman in glamorous designer clothes. Pullen was born in New York City in 1975. She is self-taught and was raised in a family of photojournalists, publishers and artists. Currently she lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Recipient of the 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship Award in Creative Arts, sculptor Lynn Aldrich emulates nature and evokes grandeur and the sublime. Aldrich creates sculptures from materials she scavanges from various stores ranging from hardware to auto supply to dollar stores. Losing My Lagoon is the latest in a series of works made to resemble coral reefs and is made by assembling a variety of cleaning tools. The sculpture intends to celebrate bio-diversity and the spirituality of the landscape. Silent Storm (Cloudburst), a sculpture made of the clear vinyl water hoses, suggests water and its movement. The realism of the twisting hoses gives way to thoughts of a gathering storm portending chaotic forces and destruction while also carrying the promise of rain’s blessing.
Aldrich has shown extensively both nationally and internationally. In 2013, Aldrich had a 20-year survey exhibition, Lynn Aldrich: Un/Common Objects, at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Her work is in the public collections of: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Calder Foundation, New York; New York Public Library, among others.
Director’s Pick also features new works by long-time gallery artists. Nicolas Africano’s new sculpture Girl with Long Sleeves is cast in amber glass, and has an air of classicism in her stance, posture, dress and mien, as is typical in his contemporary sculptures, some of which can be seen at the de Young Museum. The figure is in a state quiet contemplation, reflecting the artist’s desire to explore what cannot be told. Ben Aronson’s new painting Spring Morning, Fifth Avenue exemplifies the artist’s remarkable ability to capture light and atmosphere. The scene is uniquely New York City, depicting the springtime cherry blossoms on the side of Trump Tower, notable 5th Avenue stores such as Tiffany & Co., and Central Park. The painting even reminds some of Manhattanhenge, a unique event which occurs twice a year when the setting sun appears directly between the buildings of Manhattan streets.
Lavender Wolf is a young Berlin-based artist who is new to the gallery. Working with collage to create simple yet detailed works from colorful cut paper, Wolf comes out of the tradition of Henri Matisse’s famous paper collages. He uses bold colors and clean lines to create engaging and otherworldly images that excite the imagination. Wolf was born in Los Angeles in 1979, and studied photography and fine art at Art Center College of Design. His work has been featured in Juxtapoz Magazine, ACCLAIM Magazine, Fecal Face Blog, and in solo and group exhibitions in Berlin and Los Angeles.