Emilio Villalba: Talk to Me

Emilio Villalba: Talk to Me                                                               Modern Eden Gallery                                                                             801 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133                                        October 14 through October 29                                                      Opening Reception: October 14, 2016 from 6:00PM-9:00PM

I bet you, you cannot look at the paintings from Emilio Villalba’s new exhibit Talk to Me without doing a double take. The prominent theme of the paintings are facial features which are offset and repeated sometimes on a head or as part of a face and other times against an bleak or black abstract backdrop, out of context. The unexpected offsetting and repetition force the viewer to get in close and really use the eyes and engage the mind to understand, I had to use one eye at a time even. Even after a careful up-close and thorough inspection of the work, stepping back again to take in the entire piece and it boggles the mind all over again.

The repetition of facial features also creates ideas of a disjointedness-two mouths, three eyes, and rubbed out features. There is a darkness, there is a mystery, there is pain, and there is a struggle for the true face to be revealed out of a stark landscape - the form of a face is only visible in relation to the light which illuminates it. Nothing appears complete, there is a veil which drapes itself over the subjects of the painting hiding them from view.

Very engaging, dark, and powerful work which forces the viewer to look hard and think. Furthermore, the painting technique and overall aesthetic of the exhibit is cohesive and compelling.

The Lonely Painter Facing Death

The Lonely Painter Facing Death

Chrystal Morey: Delicate Dependencies

Crystal Morey: Delicate Dependencies (more info)                                    Modern Eden Gallery (more info)                                                                801 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133                                               October 14 through October 29                                                                  Opening Reception: October 14, 2016 from 6:00PM-9:00PM

 In her exhibit at Modern Eden Gallery, Crystal Morey brings us a series of porcelain sculptures featuring hybrid human figures. About a half of the sculptures feature a female body with an animal head including a bear head, a crow head, and a ram head. The other half of the sculptures feature a woman with plants or trees as her hair and/or horns. The sculptures are realistically carved making the hybrid look reasonable as opposed to grotesque, in fact they are a delight to view. Even though the concept of the series deals with complex and important issues society faces, the figures individually open up the viewer’s imagination to the magical fairyland of myths and legends. Ms. Morey’s sculptures are clever, eye catching, and executed with tremendous skill.


Ms. Morey was raised in what she calls an “alternative environment” in Northern California, close to nature, which contributes to her inspiration to explore the idea that humans have become the driving force and influence behind natural evolution, as with the Peppered Moth during the Industrial Revolution and our countless hybridization and engineering of plants. Ms. Morey’s human-animal hybrids represent an ultimate evolutionary, engineering and genetics feat and she said her sculptures are meant to serve as a warning that if we continue relating to nature as we do, then there is a potential for destruction and downfall. Her metaphor of hybrid humans to direct attention to the ways in which we are affecting nature is brilliant; however, the sculptures themselves do not necessarily serve as a warning because they are simply too delightful!

By Krystal Morey

By Krystal Morey

Robin Kandel: The 45th Parallel

Robin Kandel: The 45th Parallel (more info)                                                                                            Andrea Schwartz Gallery (more info)                                                                                545 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107                                                                   October 13 – November 11, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm

         Her latest in a series of exhibitions with the Andrea Schwartz Gallery, artist Robin Kandel brings us The 45th Parallel. Ms. Kandel describes her exhibit, “This work is about a specific place and any place. It’s about midpoints, landmarks, road trips, road maps, and long stretches that take us somewhere and elsewhere.” The 45th Parallel series was inspired by Ms. Kandel’s experience globe making in Geography. The 45th Parallel is the lagitude line which goes around the equator, the midpoint of the earth.

          First and foremost, Ms. Kandel’s works are an exercise in craftsmanship and patience.  Many feature dense vertical and/or horizontal lines make using pencils and a ruler, some have color others are black and grey. The rhythm of lines is meant to create subtle movement for the viewer. Imagining the concentration required to achieve such a feat inspires awe. The most prominent painting, placed on the floating wall in front of the entrance, is titled Mr. Irving’s 7th Grade Geometry Class #2. It is a patchwork of green, white, brown and blue vertical and horizontal lines. Upon inspection it strikes the viewer that there are various fault lines, highlights, and fractures creating a plaid effect. The viewer wonders, is this by design or by accident? As we often reflect upon those moments in our lives where our patterns change and all we can do is wonder if it was preordained or whether we just fucked up or whether we are finally ready to change and grow.  

     When I first arrived at the exhibit very green about the whole concept, my first impression was this painting (Mr. Irving’s 7th Grade Geometry Class #2) looks like a quilt. At that point I couldn’t connect the concept I had read about in the marketing with what I saw before me. However almost two weeks later I have thought about that painting a lot. The quilt immediately made me think of my grandmother and the quilt she sewed for me when I was born, which sits in my hope chest presently, waiting for the future.

            The reception hosted at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery and was a class act with a three piece band, wine, and wonderfully curious attendees. 


Mr. Irving's 7th Grade Class by Robin Kandel

Mr. Irving's 7th Grade Class by Robin Kandel