b. sakata garo

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August 5, 1999
Art Pick of the Week

Changing of the guard
Group show at b. sakata garo

By Kimi Julian, Sacramento News & Review

b. sakata garo presents it first-ever large group exhibition this month, with a sampling of Northern California's popular avant garde artists, along with emerging new talent. Curated by sculptor Melinda Johnson, the show also represents a fairly comprehensive survey of Sacramento Valley art.
   Figurative artist Stephanie Skalisky's diptych painting, "Wedding Portraits," refines some of the cartoonist qualities associated with past works. Pseudo-scientific illustration rules: Two profiled heads, painted on separate sealed cabinet doors, symboically reveal the anatomical interior male and female brains, as though mechanically seeing what's on the inside could offer a review of what we really are.
   Craig Schindler's "It's Five to Midnight Mr. Valentino" is a well-rendered oil painting exemplifying some of a trompe l'oeil's classic illusions with fool-the-eype techniques. An incubus' image is alluded to--an eager green monster capable of sucking souls out through the mouth while one is sleeping.
   Maria Alquilar's figurative/narrative, "The Initiation," a complex personal symbolic painting, is embellished with 3-D frame ornamentation. A V-shape predominates the composition as a woman reverently performs a coming-of-age ritual. Ancient cultural symbols give details too mixed to fully interpret.
   The acrylic painting "He and She," Steve Vanoni's mock cult tribute, investiages re-occurring design and decoration, with jsut enough variation to stand outside these classifications. Obscure male and female figures kowtow. Repetition breaks into four horizontal rows, documenting familiar obligatory customs associated with worship and courtship rituals.
   Michael Steven's sculpture made from old wooden barrels, "Aunt Bee," humorously represents what goes on in the mind: Idyllic reminiscences of pastoral scenes, in the guise of pastoral scenes, in the guise of pastoral landscapes adhered to its sides, that only exist in the imaginations of from vistas viewed from afar.
   A strong work is Rebecca Gozion's spare, slightly disturbing wll installation, "Tent and the Cupboard." Stark evaluated realizations about life's quiet anxieties are sensed; similar indirect sensual impressions were evoked in Colombian sculptor Dors Salcedo's recent San Francisco Modern Museum of Art exhibition, Unland. However, in Gozion's work, such feelings are more direct and a brooding, melancholy feeling pervades.
   Sandy Parris; "Word I" and Chooi Goh's "Olargues" display strong painterly impressions. Parris' mixed-media compilation of small works is framed together as one piece. Conceptual language substitutes whole ideas by the sole use of visual imagery. Goh, with her trademark lush waves of oil paint, continues investigating the river where life cycles repeat endlessly.

See it:

The group exhibition at b. sakata garo runs through Aug. 11. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Call 447-GARO.

   And no surprise: David E. Stone's neon piece, "History of Hyperbole," perhaps ironically paraphrases and mimics the show with the words "blah, blah, blah." But without the disparity of its title and message, could the same impression be sensed? Yet Arthur Gonzales' ceramic sculpture, "The Din of the Quilt," clearly animates with rich complex implications. The visual mix of childhood toys, harlequin imagery and an owl with a raven on its shoulder is alive with life's mirth and seriousness.