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Catharine Clark Gallery: Chester Arnold | Mad Abundance
Media Room: Kurt Stallaert | Man with Lamb
- 21 Feb 2015 to 4 Apr 2015

Current Exhibition

21 Feb 2015 to 4 Apr 2015

Catharine Clark Gallery
248 Utah Street
San Francisco, CA
CA 94103
North America
T: +1 415 399 1439
F: +1 415 543 1338

Chester Arnold, I Have Not Been As Others Were (2015)
Oil on panel
8 x 6 inches

Artists in this exhibition: Chester Arnold, Kurt Stallaert

Chester Arnold
Mad abundance

February 21, 2015 – April 4, 2015
Join us for an opening with the artist on Saturday, February 21 from 4:00-6:00 pm

“Will you not embrace the world
in its mad abundance,
teeming with the gifts of times’
expansions and contractions, and to possess
with senses bright and open,
all that swirls around us-”
-Chester Arnold from Possessions (2014)

San Francisco, CA: Catharine Clark Gallery presents Mad Abundance, a solo exhibition of work by Chester Arnold. A line of poetry titles this show—one of many composed by Arnold and inscribed on the backs of his paintings. It speaks to the passionate intensity, colorful history, and fecund forms and sources referenced in Arnold’s paintings of earth’s extremes. A recent trip by Arnold to the Tahoe Basin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains spurred this new conceptual direction, deftly portrayed by formal aesthetic choices in palette, color and light. Mining as a metaphorical and literal phenomenon is an obsessive subject for Arnold, appearing anew in works like The Bottom of the World (2014). Arnold grew up on fantastical stories of his ancestors in the gold trade: one uncle smuggled gold across the US-Mexico border landing himself in San Quentin; another left Arnold enough money from his mining adventures to finance a European tour for the young, struggling artist. But the abundance drawn out of the earth holds as much meaning for the artist as the cavity left behind. The mesmerizing form of the mine spiral, depicted in sub specie Aeternitatis (2014) is what anchors Arnold’s most recent work. Poetry written on the back of the canvas speaks of the spiral’s “churning depth/irresistible rhythm,” as a universal force. His words suggest segues to paintings such as Three Strikes (2014) with its extreme, abundant energy from above providing counterbalance and connection between earth and sky. Arnold cites Possessions (2014), a work inspired by the environs of the Tahoe Basin, and inscribed on the back with the poetry which titles the exhibit, as the first painting in this current direction. The romantic beauty of the natural world present in the pond, trees, sky and snake is subverted by Arnold’s preoccupation with the detritus of human accumulation littering the scene. Nature’s landscape however, in power and abundance, triumphs—a departure for Arnold. Rendered awestruck by the earthly phenomena he witnessed around the time of his exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art in 2010, Arnold’s new divergence, informed by greats like Carl Blechen and Johan Christian Dahl, seems an egress from the politics of landscape and a renewed attempt to bear witness to the might of heaven and earth.

Chester Arnold: American by birth, but raised in post-war Germany during the formative years of his childhood, Chester Arnold is interested in the capacity of painting to convey the complexities of the human psyche. His compositions often present skewed linear perspectives that place the viewer at a remove, above and/or beyond an unfolding narrative. Arnold’s work is currently part of a travelling museum exhibition, Environmental Impact, which opened at The Canton Museum in 2013, with continuous touring in 2015 across the United States. His recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Sonoma County Museum (2013) and American University Museum, Katzen Art Center (2012). The Nevada Museum of Art’s 2010 exhibit of Arnold’s work, On Earth as it is in Heaven, was accompanied by a monographic catalogue. Notable group exhibitions include a San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art highlight of Arnold and other 2005 Eureka Fellows; and most recently Sleight of Hand: Painting and Illusion, at the San Jose Museum of Art (2014). Arnold’s exhibition history includes Donald Kuspit’s selection of his work for New Old Masters at the National Museum in Gdańsk, Poland in 2006, and a major solo exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art which was also accompanied by a catalogue. Arnold’s work is further represented in the public collections of many institutions, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Nevada Museum of Art, the di Rosa Preserve: Art and Nature, the Tacoma Museum of Art, and the San Jose Museum of Art. He has been critically reviewed in Artforum, Works + Conversation, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives and works in Sonoma, California, and had his first exhibition at Catharine Clark Gallery in 2003.


Kurt Stallaert
Man with Lamb

February 21 – March 28, 2015
Join us for an opening with the artist on Saturday, February 21 from 4:00-6:00 pm

San Francisco, CA: Catharine Clark Gallery presents Man with Lamb, a media room exhibition by Kurt Stallaert. Stallaert, a Belgium born contemporary artist and art director, explores the boundaries between the real and surreal through photography and innovative video-based work. Man with Lamb is a ‘moving still’: Stallaert’s unique fusion medium, created by combining elements of both film and photography. With neither the narrative of a movie, nor the stillness of a photo, Stallaert’s work focuses viewers on the key message of his work—that of the picture.
Stallaert began his artistic exploration with high speed photography in 2012, spurred by his search for authenticity and strong imagery throughout his career in commercial photography. The resulting works, which Stallaert now calls moving stills, are imbued with the artist’s intense aesthetic, and his keen focus on and the metamorphosis of the human body. Using a technique originally developed for industrial and scientific purposes, a single image can be split a thousand times. Stallaert offers these captured moments as a visually hypnotic meditation. In Man with Lamb (2014) a man appears, perhaps an artist, in a vast, stained, badly lit and dusty room. The scene changes subtly but constantly, imparting the possibility of transformation inside a classically framed situation. Time and space decelerate. At first glance the images appear as framed photos or video stills. Only patience brings the discovery of movement in slow motion. Steam rises. Light shifts. Viewers are allowed a degree of discernment inaccessible to the human eye in any real life situation. Eventually a lamb appears, so imperceptibly as to seem impossible. The dramatic tension between beauty and suspense prompts the viewer to look—again and again. Questions arise: “Is something about to happen? Did it just happen?” The work balances ordinary with fantastic, creating a scene of modern mythology; a dreamy, imaginary universe that seems familiar, yet entirely non-existent. Stallaert inspires and seduces, using his singular sense of chiaroscuro to create contemplative elevations of the everday.

Kurt Stallaert: After completing his studies at the Antwerp School of Photography, Kurt Stallaert was recruited by several top advertising agencies in Belgium. Since then he has worked for international publicity agencies such as Duval-Guillaume and TBWA, and directed major advertising campaigns for Levis, Van Marcke, Humo, Telenet, Renault and many more. As a fashion and advertising photographer, Stallaert developed a personal style of impacting images that inspired many international brands he worked for: Nike, Sisley, Axe, Marie Jo and many more. Stallaert's imagery is inspired by average social and cultural matters, with a touch of humor and irony. His work is remarkable in its unique ability to elevate the everyday and commonplace through visually arresting treatments. In both his fashion and advertising photography, Stallaert creates elaborate settings in attempts to reflect his own artistic language and imaginary world. These sensibilities prompted his recent path towards artistic experimentation with moving images. Distinctive aesthetics, and an engagement with movement, time and change in his photographic images are all aspects which elevate Stallaert's body of work in the context of contemporary visual art to an unique experience. Stallaert’s previous artistic projects include Bodybuilders' World, a photographic series of muscled men, women and children. In 2010, works from Bodybuilders’ World were exhibited at the Museum Dr. Guislain in Ghent. Soon after his work was exhibited by Leonhard’s Gallery in Antwerp and Buda Art Center in Brussels. Kurt Stallaert was born in 1969 in Belgium, where he lives and works. He is represented by Pavleye Art and Culture Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic. This is the artist’s first exhibit with Catharine Clark Gallery.

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