Art in the Big City
We have friends. Our friends have friends, and that’s how a social circle grows.
Last week, while I was flailing miserably in Seattle, Gail and our friend, artist Harry Siter went to see a friend of his, Doug Schneider. Doug is an artist, too, and was frantically putting the final touches on the work that would comprise his opening of a solo show at the Caldwell Snyder Gallery in San Francisco.
Doug paints in oils, and he was working so close to the deadline that many of the paintings were still wet, and the air was redolent with paint thinner.
If you’re wondering what all this means, here’s what the artist has to say about his work:
My work is based on self exploration and historical archaeology. Autobiographical references are blended with contemporary and historical photographs to arrive at a recognizable universality. I use non-sequential relationships, separating cause from effect in order to deal with clusters of thoughts and ideas, rather than presenting linear narratives.
Delicately drawn figures of animals and objects are layered over expressive, sometimes violent brushstrokes. Elements of duality are found throughout the paintings. I play with seeming opposites, some of which are readily apparent, some obscure. For example, the opposite of abstract expressionism might be a delicate line drawing to offset the original bravado of the brushstroke. I’m constantly Looking for imagery or styles of painting that seem to oppose the last image or style. The use of push-pull dynamics and the occasional use of illusionistic perspective against raw expressionistic brushwork gives the impression of being able to look deep into the canvas only to be thrust back to the surface.
The work deals with the role of the artist as well as with the subject matter itself. Painting is a medium of subjective representation. Different idioms carry different powers according to their placement in art historically.
(Okay, this is the start of his statement. The rest of it is here)
This is serious art. You won’t find this kind of work at a street fair or charity gala. Doug studied at California College of Art, has taught life drawing, makes a career out of taking the cobwebby corners of his mind and putting them on canvas. The price tag for this is sort of mid-range, as art goes. It isn’t the $100 work offered on the walls of your local coffee shop, it isn’t the multi-million dollar treasure you’d find in New York or Art Basel Miami. These paintings are in the $10–20,000 range, which is pretty tall cotton but not the exclusive nosebleed territory of Arab sheiks and internet zillionaires.
Caldwell Snyder is a very professional operation on Sutter Street, not quite next door to Wilkes Bashford. We got an email first thing this morning thanking us for coming, and including a photo of the piece Gail liked the most, not that we’re really in the market for expensive oils this century.
After the show we went across the street to E and O Trading Company for a raucous meal with Harry and Michael and three other artist friends. The food isn’t all the great, the service was pretty slow but that might be because they were completely jammed on a Friday night, but we had a good time and what else really matters?