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January 19, 2015
Art Picks

Airplane Show

By Dave Roth, Square Cylinder

"Tom Marioni, heavy paper, 2015
Probing the physical, moral and metaphoric dimensions of flight, the Airplane Show features a group of mostly Northern California artists whose roots trace to the 1960s and 1970s. A mix of Conceptualism and Funk, it delivers an abundance of that all-too-rare commodity: serious fun. Five excellent examples greet you at the gallery’s front door. John Buck’s Eye in the Sky, a kinetic wood sculpture, simulates drone warfare by allowing viewers to pull a string that releases a make-believe bomb. Tom Marioni, Untitled, heavy paper William Wiley’s untitled collage from 1960– an array of verbal and visual puns set against an altered image of a plane crash — speaks to the unforeseen consequences of technological progress. Gyöngy Laky, evoking flight’s more ethereal aspects, inserts a “flock” of pins into a wall to spell out the word “air.” Tom Marioni, with what is the exhibit’s most economical gesture, hangs a stack of paper from the ceiling, allowing it to assume the shape of a large wing. Richard Feese, an under-recognized Sacramento sculptor of extraordinary skill and imagination, fashions a fabulous bird out of aluminum, rubber and tin. Funk is also on display in Matt Bult’s Tail Dragger, a twisted mass of rusty box springs that calls to mind Jean Tinguely. Phil Linhares, the Oakland Museum’s former chief curator, uses cardboard, wood, cork and found objects to craft a rough looking scale-model of a 1928 aircraft. Painted Tony May and Chris Daubert, Heir Planes metallic silver, it hangs menacingly from the rafters, looking, like a marriage of a seaplane and a crop duster. The show’s knockout piece, Heir Planes, comes from Tony May and Chris Daubert, conceptualists and master woodworkers whose history stretches to the 1970s when Daubert was a student of May’s at San Jose State. Their collaboration consists of an enclosure framed on two ends by stationary doors, resembling a see-through sukkah booth. From its “rafters” hang 29 vintage wood planing tools, all inherited or purchased second-hand; hence the title. Suspended in formation at different elevations, they evoke a squadron of ascending aircraft, a breathtaking transformation that encapsulates what these two artists do best, which is to create multivalent works that mix sensory confusion with feats of craft and engineering. The exhibit also includes works by: Mike and Issac Henderson, Gale Wagner, Tom and Wheeler Bills, Peter Stegall, Irving Marcus, Gustavo Ramos Rivera, Jack Ogden, Mel Prest, Jerry Barrish, Frank LaPena, Garry Bennett, Tamara Berdichevsky, Ambrose Pillphister, Barry Sakata and Robin McDonnell

Airplane Show

WHEN: Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, through January 28

WHERE: b. sakata garo, 923 20th St.


INFORMATION: (916) 447-4276. www.bsakatagaro.com

January 22, 2015
Art Pick of the Week

By Victoria Dalkey, Sacramento Bee Correspondent

"Heir Planes," by Tony May and Chris Daubert
“The Airplane Show” at b. sakata garo is a sterling example of that old standby – the theme show. Its heyday was in the 1960s and ’70s at the Artist’s Contemporary Gallery. Old-timers will remember with pleasure lively shows such as “The Ladder Show” and “The Crow Show,” which featured imaginative works by many of Sacramento’s top artists. “The Airplane Show” rivals them for ingenuity and quality.

From Matt Bult’s surreal flying machine made of bed springs to Peter Stegall’s meticulously crafted “Cactus Air,” a biplane made of cardboard, wood and paint, the show is a winner. The exhibition opens with a work that seems to materialize out of thin air. Gyongy Laky spells the word “air” out with silver pins that form a nearly invisible message that is both elegant and ethereal.

Nearby, at the center of the show, is John Buck’s “Eye in the Sky,” a whimsical, beautifully crafted flying machine that lifts its wings and spins its propeller with the turn of a crank. Reminiscent of works by H.C. Westermann, one of the most influential yet underrated artists of the 20th century, Buck’s work is a fine piece of madly crafted absurdity.

There are two juicy two-dimensional works in the show – Irving Marcus’ large painting of a plane in a red sky flying over a cityscape and Jack Ogden’s antic collage “Kitty Hawk #02 – but most of the works in the show are sculptures.

They range from Tom Marioni’s minimalist conceptual piece, an undulating construction of two sheets of heavy paper hung from the ceiling, to Bob Sacramento’s (a.k.a. Barry and Barbara Sakata) “Crash,” a charming paper plane that has “crashed” into an existing column in the gallery.

Works range in scale from Frank LaPena’s small balsa wood plane to Chris Daubert and Tony May’s large and complex “Heir Planes.” Made of wood and wood planes Daubert has inherited, hence the punning title, it’s a gorgeous display of highly polished tools hung in an aerodynamic pattern from a doorlike frame. It contrasts nicely with LaPena’s simply carved plane in a bird shape that is like a spiritual American Indian fetish.

Both are strong and evocative works as is Gale Wagner’s “Whitecloud,” an assemblage made of an elaborately crafted airplane poised on top of a broom handle. The oddly beautiful piece bears a message – “employ the handicapped” – on the broom,

Also moving is Isaac and Mike Henderson’s childlike paper planes, expressively painted and hanging from the ceiling. More elaborate is Richard Feese’s menacing “B-2 Stealth Stingray,” a metallic, birdlike plane made of recycled scraps.