Exhibits at the Club
Exhibits of artworks at the Club's Farmer Gallery are available during most business hours and, unless otherwise noted, are free to view. Many exhibits also feature a special event featuring the artist.
The exhibits are curated by Robert Melton, co-chair of the Club's Arts Member Led Forum. The gallery is made possible by the the generous support of John R. and Tawnie Farmer.
Message from the Farmer Gallery Curator
Happy New Year to all our members and new members! I hope you all are safe and well during these uncertain times.
My name is Robert Melton. I am the curator for the Farmer Gallery at The Commonwealth Club. The challenges facing the arts/cultural sectors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard hitting and devastating. What’s a world without art?
In mid-March 2020, the Club was preparing to launch our first sculptural exhibition titled "Sculpture of the Pacific Rim," a collaboration with the Pacific Rim Sculptors. Then COVID-19 struck, followed by shelter-in-place, forcing us to delay the project until further notice. In light of the setback, I’m very excited and thrilled to share with you our virtual sculpture exhibition until we are able to present the physical exhibit.
Sculpture of the Pacific Rim is a regional exhibition showcasing sculptures from the Pacific West Coast. The works range from small to large and include figurative, bronze, mixed media, organic, wall hanging, and freestanding works. Thematically, the works touch upon a range of subject matters and ideas; some invite contemplation while others are playful and whimsical—all presenting a sort of narrative about the human experience and our quest for understanding and making sense of the world we live in. Very relevant during these times we are currently witnessing and experiencing.
I truly hope you will enjoy the works.
Farmer Gallery Curator
Photographer Debra Reabock says she loves “creating moments of inquisitive wonder with unique photographic perspectives.” You can see her stunning photos of nature and architecture when you visit our Farmer Gallery at 110 The Embarcadero in San Francisco. In an exhibit guest-curated by Robert Melton, Reabock will show off her works that “seek to reveal what is hidden from us during our initial observation” of things. You can meet her in person when she is a panelist on the program “Artistic Creativity and Consciousness,” January 6 in the Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium.
Reabock’s exhibit is free of charge and open Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from December 5, 2019, through March 13, 2020.
September 12 through December 1, 2019: "Burma: the Land Beyond," by Anand Khokha and Sara Levinson
Now on exhibit in the Farmer Gallery at 110 The Embarcadero is “Burma: The Land Beyond,” a series of stunning photographs from Myanmar (previously known as Burma) by photographers Anand Khokha and Sara Levinson. An opening reception with the photographers took place in early September. The free exhibit “Burma: The Land Beyond” is on display through December 1 during normal Club business hours.
Anand Khokha’s passion is to travel to remote areas of the developing world, photographing indigenous people in their own environments and contexts. He is fascinated by how people use and integrate color into their daily lives, clothing, rituals and religious ceremonies. His recent journeys have been to various parts of Southeast Asia and specifically to Myanmar (Burma), attracted to the unspoiled cultural diversity and the serenity of the Buddhist religion.
Sara Levinson’s interest in photography began some 45 years ago when she became the owner of her first camera. She immersed herself in the serious study of photography, eventually catching the travel photography bug about 15 years ago. Levinson went on to explore the remote corners of the world, especially Southeast Asia, which captured her heart and mind. She says that the cultures, people, land, history, colors, religious practices and celebrations “feed my spirit emotionally and visually.”
June 29 through September 9, 2019: "What Is Real," by Christopher Peterson
Now on exhibit in the Farmer Gallery at 110 The Embarcadero is a selection of paintings by Christopher Peterson. The “What Is Real” exhibition shows off his colorful works that evoke a sense of light and optimism. Peterson began his illustration career in New York City after completing his education at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. In his 35-year career in the Bay Area, he became president of the San Francisco Society of Illustrators and won numerous awards. He is well known for the posters he designed for the likes of Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt and other stars. Advertising clients have included Pepsi, Reebok, Buick, The New York Times, Time and Ogilvy & Mather. He says that the job of the artist in society is to reflect what he sees and put it in as much of a poetic form as possible. “I often see beauty in unusual things. Gas Stations, trash cans, cars, people,” says Peterson. “Whatever the light is shining on, that’s what I want to paint.” The free exhibit “What Is Real” is on display through September 9 during normal Club business hours.
April 3 through June 28, 2019: Sharon Beals, photographer
“It was only after making the first photograph of a nest, drawn to its palette and messy yet graceful and functional form, that I knew I had found my medium—or at least a way that I could be a medium for the birds.”
Photographer and author, Sharon Beals, was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1945. Having served an apprenticeship in photography, Sharon moved to San Francisco in 1979 to begin a career in professional photography. Since that time, she has expanded into the field of environmental protection, creating and documenting the intricacies of birds’ nests and their occupants, with the hope of protecting their continued survival.
“Nests are creations of spider’s web, caterpillar cocoon, plant down, mud, found modern objects, human and animal hair, mosses, lichen, feathers and down, sticks and twigs–all are woven with beak and claw into a bird's best effort to protect their next generation.
“It is my hope that capturing the detailed art form of the nests in these photographs will gain appreciation for their builders, and inspire their protection.”
January 15 through March 29, 2019: Ryan Farley
Ryan Farley holds an MFA in printmaking from the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Indiana University, Bloomington. He holds current memberships with the California Society of Printmakers, Mid-America Print Council, and Southern Graphics Council International. He has previously been an associate instructor of printmaking and has served as the research, teaching and printing assistant to the head of printmaking at Indiana University. His artworks exhibit nationally and internationally, with his most recent work having been accepted into the Premio Combat Prize 2018 finalist’s exhibition in Livorno, Italy.
"Guided by my experiences and a multifaceted study of human connection, I explore manifestations of interpersonal connectivity and enrich my understanding of their implications in the greater human experience. These immaterial subjects are fascinating to me and have a relationship to contextualizing my own social desires and shortcomings, and to learn about ways to encourage meaningful connection with and between others in a world that is increasingly feeling separate.
"The work included in the Afterthoughts suite is inspired by moments of locking eyes with others in passing and the afterthoughts that follow. When I encounter these moments, I briefly wonder about the other: What is their life like? Would we get along? Are they having the same interactional experience? Though it may come across as awkward, it’s an essential trait that has roots in many social species."
Contact: Ryan Farley's website
October 16, 2018 through January 15, 2019: Linda Hope
Linda Hope was born in France to American parents, and has been living and working in San Francisco since 1979. Linda is a visual artist who paints in her studio on Hunters Point Shipyard, which she has had since 1984. She works as an instructor of painting and drawing in the Continuing Education Department of City College of San Francisco at Ft. Mason, and is currently represented by Chandler Fine Art on Natoma Street in San Francisco. Linda’s work is included in both private and public collections, including AT&T, California Lawyers for the Arts, Embarcadero Center, Xerox Corporation, ABC/KGO Television and the United States Department of State in Washington D.C.
"The act of painting allows me to exist with perceptual awareness, but without the need for thought or language. It is the sense of being a consciousness separate from the self of personality, and in the moment, interacting with an object of interest or beauty that serves as the inspiration for me to paint. While my paintings contain specific imagery, I do not paint with any intent toward narrative. Lately I have been concerned with my gesture and movement as I apply the paint. I experience this as a transfer of energy, and the surfaces of the paintings stand as a record of my movement in time. I believe my paintings have a presence, not just a place. I believe that they are alive, having become embodiments of the transfer of creative energy through intention and touch. I hope viewers will recognize something familiar when looking at the paintings, even if it is an elusive familiarity. There is no need for anyone looking at my work to feel as if they must understand it. I would like people looking at my work to feel that it is OK to slow down, to stare, to watch, to sense and to feel."
July 2 through October 15, 2018: Joseph Tipay
Joseph Tipay grew up in Fresno, California and his early (and only childhood) art education consisted of watching his Nino (Godfather) paint Chicano murals, local signs and lowrider club vehicles. The streets became his classroom, and he learned more there than in the art-starved public schools he attended. Because of its ephemeral nature, new works of art were added to the galleries every day. These experiences led him to San Jose State University where he obtained a Bachelors Degree in Studio Art with an Emphasis in Education. It is there that he stumbled upon printmaking, which led him to to obtain an M.F.A. in Printmaking at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco.
Joseph works on large-scale woodcuts, which investigate the effects of parental incarceration, mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex. Like many other artists/activists, Joseph chose printmaking because of its ability to create multiples. Joseph’s work has been shown nationally, traveled extensively throughout California and has won several awards. He currently teaches at Madera Community College Center, and Merced College. He also teaches art with West Hills College Coalinga at Pleasant Valley State Prison.
“My work deals with the effects felt by those with a parent or parents in prison. I draw from personal experience and this has allowed me to connect to family members who have gone through similar struggles. Over time they have shared intimate details of the events that have shaped their lives. Along with this deep-rooted knowledge, I conduct informal interviews as well as research to create and support this social narrative. Some themes include communicating through prison walls, maintaining relationships, intergenerational incarceration, gun violence, gangs, and drug abuse. I also touch on breaking the cycle, unconditional love, humanity, the separation of family, and telling a side of the story that people are unaware of, or are insensitive to.
"Printmaking is a traditional medium adopted by both Mexican and Chicano artists/activists. It allows communication to a large audience through the production of multiples. I continue this tradition by making large-scale woodcuts that act as modern broadsides. With the woodcut technique I’m taking something hard and rigid, and transforming it into something beautiful. These are qualities that my subjects share as well. It is a tough subject brought into a different light. With that said, my goal is to unify the street world and the fine art world by putting some images up in the street so that it’s in context, while also making pieces for the gallery.”
May 1 through June 29, 2018: Linda Fong
Linda Fong relocated to the Bay Area from Honolulu in 2002. With a degree in design from Carnegie Mellon University, she worked for many years as a graphic designer and freelance illustrator in New York, Philadelphia and Hawaii. She is now working as an artist full time at her studio in the Hunters Point Shipyard in San Francisco. She has shown her work in numerous exhibitions, both in Hawaii and in the Bay Area, and each fall she participates in San Francisco Open Studios.
Ordinary objects and random observations capture my attention and trigger jumbled reveries about life and its confusing characteristics. In attempting to make sense of things—or not—I generate images using a mix of both narrative and abstract elements. My paintings are populated with imaginary forms obliquely connected to real life counterparts. Abstraction and improbable colors are combined with more traditional pictorial devices—perspective and layering, for instance. With these images as points of departure, I hope that viewers can experience personal connections and form individual interpretations.
February 7 through April 30, 2018: Photographer Michael Mudd
The Visual Poetry of Landscape
Landscape is visual poetry. Some artists portray it in a literal, objective way, capturing physical reality in striking detail. Others are more expressionist, reimagining what they see and reshaping it to convey subjective feelings. I follow the second path.
I like to think of my landscape images as a kind of photographic unconscious, a letting go in which the familiar is felt as dreamstate—sometimes pastoral and serene, sometimes filled with fiery light, and other times dark and brooding. For me, at least, these images become visual archetypes of mood and emotion.
The basic form of each image is captured by a practiced use of motion during a long exposure – in a sense, painting with the camera. The unique movement of each pass renders a singular visual moment. Unlike with static image making, the world can be interpreted in more animated and expressive ways.
I then digitally enhance color and light, and often blend the image with a mix of textures taken from a variety of sources. The choice of textures might create the feel of anything from an old tintype to worn leather to a fading fresco.
Each image is printed with archival pigment inks on archival paper.
January 8 through February 26, 2018: Carrie Ann Plank, Printmaker
Carrie Ann Plank is an artist working in the mediums of printmaking, painting and glass. Plank’s work is included in many private and public collections, including the Fine Art Archives of the Library of Congress, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the Guanlan Print Art Museum in China, and the Iraq National Library in Baghdad. Recent and upcoming noteworthy shows include solo shows at DZINE Gallery in San Francisco, The Academy of Art University, Bullseye Projects in Portland, Oregon, and Fourth Wall Gallery, Oakland, California. Recent residencies include Edition/Basel: Printed in Cuba at the Taller Experimental de Gráfica de La Habana in Havana, Cuba; the Íslensk Grafík in Reykjavik, Iceland; Edition/Basel: Printed in Basel at Druckwerk in Basel, Switzerland; Mullowney Printing in San Francisco, California; Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle, Maine; and Bullseye Glass in Emeryville, California. Additionally, Plank is the director of the printmaking MFA and BFA Programs at the Academy of Art University. She is active in the local arts community as a participant, juror and volunteer, and is a board member of the California Society of Printmakers. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from East Carolina University and her Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking from the Pennsylvania State University.
September 12 through December 15, 2017: Tom Killion
Tom Killion’s Japanese-style woodcut prints of the California landscape reflect the artist’s appreciation of Japanese technique and aesthetics, as well as his love of California’s coast and mountain landscapes. This show includes some of Killion’s finest wood- and lino-cut prints drawn from his personal collection, as well as more recent images from editions that are still in print and available. Scenes of the northern and central coast, Mt. Tamalpais and the High Sierra are particularly highlighted.