The Alchemy of Place

April 03, 2022 - June 03, 2022


~Opening Reception: Sunday, April 3 from  3:00 – 5:00 pm~
in Gallery Commonweal, no RSVPs necessary

The Alchemy of Place, in which ten artists present a range of work concerned with a sensuous and poetic apprehension of place. Taking as its subject the particulars of Commonweal’s ecosystem—its site on a wild stretch of rugged coast, its weather, its flora, its infrastructure—the work of each artist, much of it created for this show, will embody qualities intrinsic to this community and its setting.

The landscape surrounding Commonweal radiates an overpowering presence. Its impossible beauty is a challenge both to grasp and to distill. These ten artists approach a sense of this place humbly, obliquely, and with specificity of detail.

Pegan Brooke’s large paintings capture a sense of atmospheric shifts of coastal weather and light on water with shimmering pixilated brush marks.

Mari Andrews and Ilene Sunshine both work in differing strategies with natural materials gathered from the grounds surrounding Commonweal—twigs, seedpods, leaves, stones—to make formal objects and linear shapes in physical space that combine drawing and sculpture.

Robin Dintiman creates haunting images rendered in ink on silk, inspired by the expressive shapes of trees indigenous to the forests and cliffs near Bolinas.

The paintings of Naomie Kremer and Mel Prest deploy abstract vocabularies to suggest unseen generative forces pulsing through the visible natural world.

The radically small quiet watercolor landscapes by Mark Garrett reflect an appropriate humility before the magnitude of Commonweal’s natural surroundings.

Mirta Guzman’s oil paintings radiate a vibrant buoyancy and color-forward flavor of Hispanic culture, a vital part of the Bolinas community.

The visceral intensity of Jacqueline Barnett’s landscape-informed abstract paintings mirrors the impact of the awe-inspiring Pacific coastline.

Zachary Royer Sholz has created a poetic intervention into the vacant roofless “rooms” of abandoned sheds outdoors and adjacent to the gallery building, repurposing those former storage spaces into a locus of contemplation. In addition, he presents sculptural objects inside the gallery made from debris found in and around the outdoor sheds.

The Alchemy of Place brings to mind the parable of the blind men and the elephant, where differing visions of an elephant emerge from unique perspectives. In this layered exhibition, each artist addresses some salient piece of a greater whole. The diversity of art forms will manifest the multitude of ways of perceiving and visually expressing a shared subject, while simultaneously engaging in a visual conversation with each other, and activating the capacious space within the Commonweal gallery. The exhibition will illuminate the power of art to transform the mute facts of physical materiality into visual objects that go beyond language to approach the intangible essence of place.

—Joan Grubin, Curator

Please note: COVID-19 vaccinations and masks are required inside and outside of Commonweal. Visitors are welcome to see the exhibit during business hours; appointments are required (with the exception of the designated artist receptions).
Please call 415/868-0970 to make an appointment.